Next month the Navy will establish a new command with missile defense in mind.
Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, announced the coming formation of the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command during a speech before a business group Wednesday night in Northern Virginia.
“We’ll formally stand it up in April, but it will be the place where the Navy comes to bring together the thinking, the ideas, the concept, the intellectual effort for our air and ballistic missile initiatives, efforts and programs so that we can stay in the forefront of this important mission area,” Roughead told the group.
He said it will be based in Dahlgren, Va. — where the Navy has an existing facility — though further details about the new command were not readily available Wednesday night.
Tensions over ballistic missile launches have risen in recent weeks because of news that North Korea was preparing a test launch. The saber-rattling was taken seriously enough to prompt a comment from Adm. Timothy Keating, head of U.S. Pacific Command, who was quoted saying, “If a missile leaves the launch pad, we’ll be prepared to respond upon direction of the president.”
The Navy has had several successful ship-launched intercepts of test ballistic missiles. As of November, Navy shot 19 interceptor missiles at speeding targets and was successful in 16 attempts.