By: Tara Copp
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. ― U.S. Strategic Command is assuming that North Korea successfully tested a hydrogen bomb Sept. 3, moving the country closer to the ability to destroy an entire American city, Air Force Gen. John Hyten said Thursday.
The acknowledgment from STRATCOM came on news that North Korea had conducted yet another missile test Thursday, despite repeat warnings from President Donald Trump to desist and repeat outreach and attempts to pursue a solution through diplomatic means.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was at STRATCOM at the time of the latest North Korea launch, which U.S. Pacific Command assessed to be an intermediate range ballistic missile.
The missile “fired over Japan and put millions of Japanese in the duck and cover. It landed out in the Pacific,” Mattis said.
Mattis was meeting with troops and getting briefings on the command’s mission around the time of the launch. When the launch occurred, he and Hyten went about three stories underground to the Global Operations Center, a conference room of screens and terminals that communicate with all of the various elements of U.S. missile defense.
Hyten was speaking with reporters traveling with Mattis to STRATCOM Thursday afternoon when he was quickly pulled from the room, but officials at the time could not confirm the launch.
Hyten did however discuss the significance of North Korea’s hydrogen test.
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