North Korea continues to test its missiles and threaten America with direct ICBM action, and this has shaken up the Pentagon up from its slumber. It has announced its plans to set up the stage to shoot down ICBMs, and the trials would be held shortly.

The broad outline is for US military personnel to launch a custom-made missile from the Marshall Islands and program an interceptor missile from a remote base to shoot it down.

The specially designed missile would simulate an ICBM and will fly faster than missiles that have so far been used in earlier intercept tests.

In order to avoid any misconception, Christopher Johnson, spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, has made it clear that the target is not to be taken as a mock-up of an actual North Korean ICBM.

Details of the tests

According to Fox News, the Missile Defense Agency has confirmed that this would be a first for the U.S. military when it tries to test a ground-based interceptor against a target that is of an intercontinental class like an ICBM. The main reason for the Pentagon to conduct such an exercise is the regular testing of missiles by North Korea and the gradual improvement in their functioning. If the trend continues, it could spell trouble for the United States.

Recently, North Korea has had a couple of successes.

One was a medium-range ballistic missile that flew more than 1,200 miles into space. It, then, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down very near to the Russian coast.

Ambitions of North Korea

Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, is determined to launch a nuclear-armed missile that can reach American territory.

He has yet to test an ICBM but, in the opinion of Pentagon officials, he has made considerable headway in that direction. Kim’s aim is to strengthen its nuclear program to counter U.S. aggression, and unless that is thwarted, Pyongyang could develop a nuclear device with intercontinental capabilities.

In such a scenario, the Pentagon is apparently worried and is scheduling the interceptor test at short notice.

Incidentally, the American interceptor dates back to 1999. It was developed in the reign of President Ronald Reagan when, in 1983, there was a need for a countermeasure against ballistic missile threats. It was the Cold War era, and at that time, the Soviet Union was the only major worry, unlike the present day when there are many more gunning for America.

The American interceptor has been tested several times but, its track record is a matter of worry. In a recent test in June 2014 there was a success, but it came after three straight failures. The situation today is different to the Cold War era and the time has come to have a relook at the American interceptor. With the ready availability of technological advances, America should design a new system to shoot down ICBMs.