U.S. flexes missile might at Vandenberg Air Force Base

Dec 12, 2019

The United States military launched a ballistic missile Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc. It’s the second U.S. test of a missile type banned under a Soviet-era treaty President Trump withdrew from earlier this year.

The United States and the then-Soviet Union agreed to eliminate short and intermediate-range ground-launched missiles—carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads—in 1987. President Trump announced in February the U.S. was withdrawing from that treaty, saying Russia had not honored the agreement. This latest launch was the second ballistic missile test since this summer.

Lt. Colonel Robert Carver is with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

“The missile goes more than 500 kilometers—we wanted to test to see how it actually did what we wanted it to do,” Carver told KCBX News by phone Thursday.

Carver would not elaborate on the parameters of the test, but a representative for the Air Force said in a statement the test is part of the National Defense Strategy, which gives “very clear direction to restore our competitive edge in the reemergence of great power competition.”

The United States military also conducted an anti-ballistic missile test from Vandenberg in March. The Department of Defense heralded it as a success, striking a target sent into the atmosphere from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It was the first such test in two years.

Speaking with KCBX News in March, Mark Wright with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said, “[The anti-ballistic missile test] was representative of what we defend the United States with.”

Carver said Vandenberg Air Force Base plays an important role in national defense.

“Don’t be surprised if other major milestones happen here at Vandenberg...in the future,” Carver said.