The United States is to deploy radars in Hawaii by 2023 that could enhance efforts to deter North Korea missiles, a Japanese newspaper reported Feb. 15, 2018.
The Sankei Shimbun reported Homeland Defense Radar-Hawaii, or HDR-H, will be deployed in five years' time in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
The report comes after the U.S. Missile Defense Agency described in its documents the need for the radar, which will raise the "discrimination capability in the Pacific architecture" and increase "the ability of [ground-based interceptors] GBIs to enhance the defense of Hawaii."
Head of the U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry B. Harris, said the radar would greatly improve the ability to detect and identify missiles that reach the Pacific Ocean, according to the Sankei.
Harris added the radar deployment would significantly increase the targeting ability of ground-based interceptor missiles currently located on the U.S. West Coast, and that Hawaii faces the most direct threat from potential North Korea missiles.
The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors are launched during a successful intercept test. (DoD photo courtesy of Missile Defense Agency)
The top military commander, who is expected to soon serve as the Trump administration's U.S. ambassador to Australia, also said the U.S. missile defense system THAAD, deployed in South Korea, and Aegis Ashore missiles in the region, may not be enough to defend the U.S. homeland.
Harris said he thinks North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ulterior motives that are dangerous.
"I do think that he is after reunification [of the Korean peninsula] under a single communist system," he said, adding, "The Republic of Korea and Japan have been living under the shadow of [North Korea's] threats for years, and now the shadow looms over the American homeland."