Via cartoonist Mike Keefe, circa July 2006, following North Korea’s failed test of the Taepodong 2:
Two fair questions prompted by the cartoon: (1) How far has North Korea’s missile program advanced since 2006 and (2) how far has the US Ground Based Midcourse Defense System (GMD) advanced since 2006?
We know North Korea’s missile program hasn’t exactly distinguished itself.
According to Director of Operation Test and Evaluation Dr. Michael Gilmore’s 2011 report on missile defense, “To date, GMD has demonstrated a limited capability against a simple threat.” He also says: “Lack of sufficient data for comprehensive model and simulation verification, validation, and accreditation continues to preclude end-to-end GMD performance assessment.” You’ll notice this assessment hasn’t changed very much since the 2006 and 2007 reports.
For a take from both sides of the debate on these and other questions re: missile defense, see Douglas Guarino’s article today in Global Security Newswire, “North Korea’s Failed Rocket Launch Prompts Missile Defense Questions”. Also have a look at Edward-Isaac Dovere’s April 13 Politico piece: “Missile defense debate reignites”.