President Donald Trump revealed a new plan to keep Americans safe from foreign threats in a speech at the Pentagon on Thursday. The president unveiled an overhaul of America’s defense strategy against potential threats including Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, and said he will build 20 new interceptors in Alaska to shield the country from missile attacks.
The president said that the U.S. must stay ahead of the competition in missile defense and that his Space Force would play a role in missile defense.
Trump to overhaul missile defense
Trump was joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Defense Chief Patrick Shanahan at the Pentagon where he described the details of the Missile Defense Review. Trump spoke for about 20 minutes about the ambitious plan to overhaul America’s missile defense systems.
“Our goal is simple, to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” Trump said.
Trump riffed on the ongoing government shutdown, pushed for a southern border wall and slammed the “radical” Democrats before delving into the details of a plan to “shield every city in the United States” from attack. He laid out six changes to missile defense policy, including the new interceptors in Alaska.
Trump said that the United States must develop new technology to stay ahead of the competition and deter threats from rogue regimes like Iran, noting that the regime’s failed missile test on Tuesday. “The world is changing, and we’re going to change must faster than the rest of the world,” Trump said. “The United States cannot simply build more of the same, or make incremental improvements.”
The first overhaul of missile defense in nearly 10 years will address new threats like hypersonic missiles and cruise missiles. The 20 new interceptors add to 44 existing interceptor missiles at bases in Alaska and California.
Trump said that America “will always be at the forefront of everything” and that space is a “new war-fighting domain, with the Space Force leading the way.”
He said that his upcoming budget will include “space-based missile defense layer” that will play a “very, very big” role in missile defense against hostile powers “or even powers that make a mistake.” “We will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on earth or in the skies above,” he said.
Russia, North Korea threats
Trump sent a message of peace through strength, warning that there are “some very bad players out there” and that the United States will be a “good player” in world affairs unless provoked into being “far worse than anybody if need be.” Trump echoed a theme from his signature America First message, promising that other countries would share a bigger burden of missile defense from now on. Trump joked that he’s not popular in Europe because of his demands that they pay more into NATO.
President Trump’s critics have accused him of being a puppet to Russia, but if so, he’s certainly doing a bad job of showing it. Some Democrats echoed Russia’s warning that the new plan would raise tensions between Washington and the Kremlin and potentially trigger a new arms race in space.
The ambitious plan comes as tensions linger over Russia’s alleged violations of a Reagan-era nuclear arms control treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF. Trump threatened to pull out of the treaty in October.
Watch Trump’s full speech below: