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Senate NDAA Moves Ahead; North Korea Launches, Again

Posted by Colin Clark on

North Korea missile test

WASHINGTON: It was fitting that North Korea launched another missile over northern Japan just hours after Sen. John McCain appears to have won a substantial victory with today’s cloture vote apparently clearing the way for passage of the Senate version of the defense policy bill.

Among the most interesting changes, one that was not unexpected, is that the bill now includes language barring creation of the House-proposed Space Corps, according to Mike Tierney of the consulting firm Jacques & Associates. Sens, Bill Nelson and Tom Cotton introduced the language. Nelson, of course, represents the state where the Kennedy Space Center is located and has very close ties with Air Force Space Command. If all goes well the bill may be passed before the end of next week. Prediction: the House will lose this battle on the Space Corps.

Here are the basics on the North Korean missile, according to Cmdr. Dave Benham, spokesman at Pacific Command. PACOM “detected and tracked what we assess was a single North Korean ballistic missile launch at 11:57 a.m. (Hawaii time) Sept. 14. Initial assessment indicates the launch of an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM). The launch occurred in the vicinity of Sunan, North Korea and flew east. The ballistic missile overflew the territory of northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean east of Japan.”

An interesting tidbit in the release. It says NORAD “determined this ballistic missile did not pose a threat to North America.” For its part, PACOM determined it did not pose a threat to Guam. That hints at the enormous complexity and command and control challenges of missile defense.

The release includes the seemingly now standard “ironclad” US commitment to South Korea and Japan.

The North Korean launch will doubtless spark greater focus on the National Defense Authorization Act, as well as on the appropriations bills. Will it help lead to the quashing of sequestration?

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