In a written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Lori Robinson, who heads the US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) said, "Amidst an unprecedented pace of North Korean strategic weapons testing, our ability to provide actionable warning continues to diminish … North Korea’s closed society and robust denial and deception capabilities challenge our ability to observe missile and nuclear test preparations, a concern that would be exacerbated in crisis or in wartime and complicate our ability to defend the United States."
Robinson also commands the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)
Though Robinson said she is "extremely confident" that the US' current anti-missile defense could intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Pyongyang, she noted that the North switching from liquid-fuel rockets to solid fuel is a cause for concern, as these require less launch preparation time.
The general remarked that if USNORTHCOM received an extra $1 billion, it would be spent on "putting the right radars in the right place. That’s where I would go first," according to Defense Tech, explaining that the command is "on track to deploy the Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). This critical midcourse sensor will improve persistent coverage of the United States and improve our target tracking and discrimination capability against potential countermeasures."
Under Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been developing a missile with a nuclear warhead attached capable of striking the US mainland, announcing in early February that they had successfully tested a solid fuel-powered ballistic missile.
Kim’s threats against the US increased amid Washington’s annual joint military drills with South Korea, an act that the North sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion aimed at removing North Korean leadership.
The DPRK threatened to reduce the US "to ashes" if they conduct a preemptive strike, along with "merciless" strikes if their sovereignty is violated.
As the Trump administration threatens military action, with a US Navy Strike group headed for the Korean peninsula, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a Pyongyang foreign ministry official saying, "We never beg for peace but we will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms and keep to the road chosen by ourselves."
Threats from Pyongyang were a central point of discussion between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump during a recent meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, dubbed the "Southern White House."
The US has accused Beijing of not doing its part in curbing North Korean provocation, though China has disagreed, pointing out that it has followed economic sanctions ordered by the United Nations, cutting off all coal imports from the isolated nation.