Faced with the possible threat by North Korea of a nuclear warhead reaching the United States, senior Pentagon officials told the House Armed Services Committee March 20 they are moving forward with a billion-dollar missile defense system. “We have achieved a number of successes in the missile defense test program, which have added momentum to the development effort and bolstered our confidence that we will be able to meet the challenges that lie ahead,” Edward E. “Pete” Aldridge Jr., undersecretary of defense acquisition, technology and logistics, told the committee.
Pentagon officials showed pictures today from the 1991 Gulf War of an Iraqi tank completely destroyed by a 105 mm round made of depleted uranium. The round had pierced the tank’s thick armor, leaving only a burned out shell. Even more impressive, they told of how a DU round had penetrated directly through a sand dune to demolish a tank hiding behind it. “That’s how much of an edge it gives us, and we don’t want to give that up,” Col. James Naughton of the Army Materiel Command said today at a Pentagon briefing to explain the uses and health effects of DU on the battlefield.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon Town Hall meeting that his department is still “not yet arranged to deal successfully” with the new threat of terrorists with weapons of mass destruction, and that a reorganization he began before September 11, 2001 must continue.