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Trump announces 20 new missile defense interceptors in Alaska to protect US

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention Monday, January 14, 2019, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)
January 17, 2019

Speaking at the 2019 Missile Defense Review announcement on Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would ask for “20 new ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely” in Alaska, in order to continue protecting and prioritizing the American people.

“We’re asking for 20 new ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely, and new radars and sensors to immediately detect missiles launched against the United States,” Trump said at the Pentagon.

A ground-based interceptor is part of the United States’ Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system; it’s the anti-ballistic missile component of the system.

After his administration’s review of the nation’s missile defense policy, Trump said the new strategy calls for six major changes, including the new missile systems in Alaska.

In addition, he said the new strategy will focus on “developing new technology, not just on investing more money into existing systems.”

“We must outpace our adversaries at every turn. The U.S. must always be several steps ahead of those who would do us harm,” Trump said.

An instance where Iran, for example, might fire an intercontinental ballistic missile at the U.S. is “not going to happen,” Trump said, pointing out that he ended the “horrible, weak” Iran nuclear deal that was penned under the Obama Administration.

“What we’ve done to Iran since I’ve become President is rather miraculous,” Trump said. “Iran is a much different country today than it was two years ago.”

The third change to the missile defense strategy calls for protecting America from “all types of missile attacks,” not just ballistic missile attacks, the President pointed out.

“We’ve in the past lacked a strategy that extended beyond ballistic missiles. Under our plan, that will change,” he said. “Now it will also defend against cruise and hypersonic missiles. We are very advanced also on hypersonic technology and missiles. We will always be at the forefront of everything.”

The fourth change to the policy is to “recognize that space is a new war-fighting domain, with the Space Force leading the way,” Trump said.

“We will terminate any missile launches from hostile powers or even powers that make a mistake. We will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on earth or in the skies above,” the President said. “We’re a good player, but we can be far worse than anybody if need be.”

The fifth and sixth changes to the policy are to “remove bureaucratic obstacles to speed up acquisition and deployment of new technology,” and “insist on fair burden sharing with our allies,” respectively, Trump said.

“Today we affirm that a strong America remains the best way to … protect our great people,” he added.