Could the U.S. Face a Cruise Missile Threat from the Gulf of Mexico?

Saturday, March 22, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Diane Barnes
NationalJournal.com
March 21, 2014

The United States is puzzling over how to block cruise missiles that theoretically could be launched from the Gulf of Mexico, even after throwing some of its most advanced technologies at the problem.

Russia and Iran have been cited as possible threats that might, at some point, lurk in the waters just off U.S. shores.

A 2013 military exercise pitted systems such as Patriot interceptors, Aegis warships and combat aircraft against potential cruise-missile or short-range ballistic missiles fired from the Gulf. But the drill highlighted a particular vulnerability to cruise missiles lobbed from that region, U.S. Northern Command head Gen. Charles Jacoby indicated in congressional testimony last week.

He said the Pentagon has “some significant challenges” in countering these missiles, but is exploring “some opportunities to use existing systems more effectively to do that.” Many detailed results of the Oct. 11 drill conducted near Key West, Fla., remain classified, Jacoby said.

“The cruise-missile threat portion of that we are working on very hard,” the general added at the March 13 Senate Armed Service Committee hearing, in response to a question from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

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