WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today discussed U.S. response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific with Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Harry Harris at the SASC hearing entitled United States Pacific Command and United States Forces Korea.
“What’s happened in the last few days has served as a wakeup call for the American people…people now realize that [North Korea] is an imminent threat,” Inhofe said, “You said just now…it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.”
Last year, Adm. Harris commented that “[The U.S.] had the forces to fight tonight,” in response to a potential threat from North Korea. Today, when asked by Inhofe if this was still the case, Harris said that he still believed this to be the case but he outlined areas of concern:
“What I’m concerned about are those follow-on forces—the forces themselves and also how those follow-on forces would get to the region in terms of airlift and sealift. I’m also worried about things like small diameter bombs and other kinds of ammunitions: anti-air warfare weapons for our fighter aircraft, adequate numbers of aim-9 D and aim 120 missiles. I worry about the shortage of anti-ship missiles and whether it’s long-range missiles, more Tomahawk or any long-range service missile.”
“We are going to be depending on you to advise us not in generalities [but] priorities under the needs you have,” Inhofe replied.