The media has has their sights on the threat in the Middle East, but according to a US Military Commander, the threat from Russia is where we need to be focused. On Thursday,Â Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Adm. William Gortney warned that Russia is working on its program to deploy “long-range conventionally armed cruise missiles,” that can be launched from its bomber aircraft, submarines and warships, and can reach the United States.
“Should these trends continue over time, NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian air, maritime and cruise missile threats,” he said.
Gortney’s remarks came in written testimony submitted to the committee.
“This past year has marked a notable increase in Russian military assertiveness,” on the world stage, he said. Russian heavy bomber aircraft flew more patrols outside Russian airspace “than in any year since the Cold War,” though he did not offer a specific number.
The warning comes as Russia defies international sanctions and warnings with its intervention in eastern Ukraine, and the Obama administration weighs the possibility of lethal aid for Ukrainian forces.
One of the security challenges for the U.S. is to determine whether the cruise missiles on its bomber aircraft, submarines and warships are indeed conventional or may be nuclear tipped. When carried aboard submarines, ships and in the internal bays of bombers it’s nearly impossible for U.S. intelligence to know with certainty. (Scroll Down For Video)