Kim Jong-un announced earlier this year he is close to testing a intercontinental ballistic missile
Ariel Cohen, director of the Centre for Energy, Natural Resources, and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, has now warned the US department of defence needs to upgrade Hawaii’s missile defence system as the islands are a close target for Kim Jong-un.
Ms Cohen said: ”Senior national security leaders have stated that the US needs to work off the assumption that North Korea will have ICBM [intercontinental ballsitic missile] capabilities soon, and in this business ‘soon' could mean five to 10 years, or earlier.
"This question is, do we need to wait until North Korea successfully launches a test ICBM to know that they have that capacity? The answer is no…the [Aegis Ashore] is a proven system. Why would we protect our European allies before we protect the homeland?"
Kim Jong-un has previously said the US has provoked him
Aegis, developed by Lockheed Martin Corp to be used on US Navy destroyers, is considered one of the most advanced missile defence systems in the world but the facility in Hawaii is still in its “experimental” stage.
Ms Cohen has urged the Pentagon to upgrade the Aegis site from an experimental facility to a combat-ready platform.
According to Ms Cohen, deploying Aegis-land systems and equipping the US Navy destroyers with the same technology in Hawaii America would be able to establish a permanent missile defence frontline capable of protecting the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast from a North Korean missile launch.
The Aegis Ashore missile defence system in Romania, similar to the one in Hawaii
Do we need to wait until North Korea successfully launches a test ICBM to know that they have that capacity
Ariel Cohen, from the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security
The upgrade would cost an estimated $41 million, but she described this as "inexpensive" compared to other Pentagon expenditures.
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The proposal to improve Hawaii's missile defence capabilities has reportedly received strong support from military officials.
Four ballsitic missiles launched on Monday by North Korea, initally sparked fears by US joint chiefs that at least one of the rockets could have been a ICBM.
An undated photo of four missiles being launched from North Korea Latest images released as North Korea prepares for war Tue, March 7, 2017
A look at North Korea's firepower as it pursues its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in defiance of the United States and its allies.
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People watch news footage of a missile launch on a giant television screen outside the main railway station in Pyongyang on March 7, 2017
But they later concluded none of the projectiles tested had the range capable of reaching the American West Coast.
Last week, US president Donald Trump ordered an internal White House review of North Korea and how to thwart Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions.
And earlier this year, Kim Jong-un announced in his New Years Day speech he was was close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US.
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