Speaking at the Pentagon on Thursday, President Donald Trump called on the US military to significantly expand its missile defence capabilities. The US' goal was "simple", Trump said, and included gaining the ability to "detect and destroy" any incoming missile, whether ballistic, cruise or hypersonic.
"We gathered together to outline the steps that we must take to upgrade and modernise America's missile defence…In a time of rapidly evolving threats, we must be certain that our defensive capabilities are unrivalled and unmatched anywhere in the world," Trump said.
Trump said the updated missile defence strategy was a direct response to "foreign adversaries, competitors and rogue regimes" and their attempts to build "bigger and stronger missile arsenals" capable of reaching targets in the US.
"I will accept nothing less for our nation than the most effective, cutting edge missile defence systems. We have the best anywhere in the world; it's not even close," Trump stressed.
Major Change to US Missile Defence Strategy
The president outlined six major changes in Washington's missile defence policy, including the deployment of 20 new ground-based interceptors in Alaska, as well as new radars and sensors "to immediately detect foreign missiles launched" against the US.
"We are committed to establishing a missile defence program that can shield every city in the United States, and we will never negotiate away our right to do this," Trump said.
The new strategy extends beyond ballistic missiles, Trump emphasised. "The US will now adjust its posture to also defend against any missile strikes, including cruise and hypersonic missiles. And we are by the way very advanced also on hypersonic technology and missiles."
Space a 'New Warfighting Domain'
Furthermore, Trump said that the US would "recognise that space is a new warfighting domain, with the Space Force leading the way. My upcoming budget will invest in a space-based missile defence layer. It's new technology. It's ultimately going to be a very, very big part of our defence and obviously of our offence," he said.
"We will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on Earth or in the skies above. This is the direction that I'm heading."
Trump also promised to "remove bureaucratic obstacles to dramatically speed up the acquisition and deployment of the new technology."
"Today marks the beginning of a new era in our missile defence program," Trump said. "For too long we have been held back by self-imposed limits, while foreign competitors grow and they advance more than we have over the years."
"Our strategy is grounded in one overriding objective: to detect and destroy every type of missile attack against any American target, whether before or after launch," the president said.