The House will "double-down" on missile defense in the upcoming budget following a successful intercept of a dummy missile this week, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee said Wednesday.
Rep. Mac Thornberry said the test Tuesday by the Missile Defense Agency that resulted in a direct hit of the unarmed U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile is a warning to North Korea. He said the committee now plans to underscore it with new interceptor investments in the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
A bill recently introduced by Thornberry would put $1 billion into Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptors "or lower tier air and missile defense interceptors" for the Asia-Pacific region. It also includes $15 million for joint missile defense exercises with Japan to counter the North's burgeoning ballistic missile program.
"This test is a warning to the dictator in North Korea that he won't be allowed to threaten the US and its allies," Thornberry said in a statement. "In the NDAA this year, we will double-down on that message by making significant new investments to make good on the President's promise to develop and deploy a 'state of the art' missile defense system"
Thornberry led a congressional delegation this week to meet with officials in South Korea where the U.S. recently deployed a THAAD system following a spate of new ballistic missile tests by Kim Jong Un's regime.
The committee is expected to hold more hearings in the coming weeks and could complete its version of the NDAA this summer.