Guam – The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr., says a THAAD missile defense system maybe deployed to South Korea, and it maybe the system currently stationed on Guam.
Admiral Winnefeld told the American Forces Press Service [AFPS] Wednesday, that the U.S. has already conducted a site survey in South Korea in the event that they need to quickly deploy a THAAD system to the peninsula to counter threats from North Korea.
According to the AFPS posting, “the Admiral identified North Korea, followed by Iran, as the chief threats to the United States, given both countries’ nuclear and ballistic missile programs”.
The “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense” [THADD] system is capable of shooting down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles.
A THAAD battery was deployed to Guam last year in the wake of a series of threats from North Korea. The system remains in place at Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo. Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo has asked the Army to commit to keeping the THAAD battery here on Guam, permanently.
However, in a separate interview Tuesday of this week with the Washington Post, Admiral Winnefeld suggested that the THAAD battery currently on Guam maybe deployed to other locations in the region, if necessary.
“There [on Guam] it remains”, said Winnefeld, “readily deployable if necessary to somewhere else in the world if needed, but in the meantime defending U.S. soil from potential threats.”
Earlier this month a group of Guam Senators toured the THAAD battery location at Andersen.
In reaction, Congresswoman Bordallo issued the following statement:
“I continue to assert that the long term deployment of the THADD system on Guam is critical to national security in the region. I have raised the long term deployment of this defense system with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Martin Dempsey and am confident that the location and future deployment of this unit will be prioritized based on the evaluation of all security threats to our nation and our allies.”