Trump visits Pentagon as U.S. ramps up space-based missile defense strategy

/ CBS News

President Trump is visiting the Pentagon as the Trump administration rolls out its plan to ramp up missile defense capabilities in response to threats that may be posed by potential adversaries. The administration's strategy will possibly entail a new layer of spaced-based sensors to spot enemy missiles.

Space is "key" to missile defense, one senior administration official told reporters on a conference call ahead of Thursday's announcement. This announcement comes as Mr. Trump is working on plans for a "Space Force" as the sixth branch of the military.

The Trump administration recently completed its review of what it is describing as the United States' first "major" and "comprehensive" review of the United States' missile defense policies and capabilities since 2010. One senior administration official explained to reporters in a conference call Wednesday that a "significant change to the threat environment" has been seen in recent years.

"What the missile defense review responds to is an environment which our potential adversaries have been rapidly developing and fielding, a much more expanded range of new advance offensive missiles," the senior administration told reporters. "Some of these missiles are capable of threatening the United States, threatening our allies, our partners."

Trump administration plans space-based missile defense system

Senior administration officials shared little on exactly the threats the U.S. is concerned about, but one senior administration official said the United States' missile defense capabilities "are primarily postured to stay ahead of rogue states' threats."

Last year after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Mr. Trump declared North Korea to no longer be a threat. Senior administration officials, asked whether there is still a threat from North Korea, deflected.

"The review does look at the comprehensive environment that the U.S. faces, that our allies and partners face, and it does posture our forces to be prepared for the capabilities that currently are a threat and that we anticipate in the future," a senior administration official said.

— CBS News' Fin Gomez contributed to this report

First published on January 17, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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