According to CNN the US is now considering shooting down ballistic missiles fired by N. Korea, even if they don’t pose a threat:
CNN – As tensions continue to ratchet up with North Korea, CNN has learned that the US is considering shooting down a North Korean ballistic missile even if it does not directly threaten the US or its allies.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said North Korea is “intentionally doing provocations that seem to press against the envelope for just how far can they push without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable.”
An official directly familiar with options planning within the Trump administration told CNN the question that now needs to be answered is whether North Korea’s missile program has progressed to the level of being such an inherent threat that the Pentagon would recommend targeting a missile even if its trajectory did not indicate it would hit the US or its allies. The official declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the issue.
While US officials have long said the military maintains a full range of options for dealing with North Korea, the notion of shooting down a missile has largely centered on conducting an operation if the missile were to directly threaten the US or its allies. There has been particular concern since Kim Jong Un recently threatened the US territory of Guam.
The idea of shooting down a missile even if it is not a direct threat is not new. But with two recently launched North Korean missiles flying over northern Japan, the potential for having to consider a shoot-down without a direct threat remains very real, according to one senior defense official.
I’m no military strategist but if it were me making the decision and N. Korea fired another missile that was going to fly over Japan, I’d take it out as quickly as I could. If we are going to really put pressure on N. Korea then I think we have to be more aggressive because they don’t seem to be getting the message.