Aug 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. military conducts ballistic missile test delayed over China tensions

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon on July 20, 2022
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks at a news briefing at the Pentagon on July 20. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The U.S. said Tuesday that it completed the test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, which had been delayed due to escalating tensions with China and Russia.

Why it matters: The test demonstrates "the readiness of U.S. nuclear forces and provides confidence in the lethality and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear deterrent," the military said in a statement.

  • Similar tests have occurred more than 300 times and are not the result of current world events, the U.S. military said.
  • The ICBM reentry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The big picture: The U.S. had previously canceled ICBM tests over heightened tensions with China following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei this month.

  • The U.S. canceled an ICBM test in early March amid tensions with Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin delayed the test this month to avoid "any actions that could be misunderstood or misconstrued."

What they're saying: "This scheduled test launch is demonstrative of how our nation’s ICBM fleet illustrates our readiness and reliability of the weapon system," Col. Chris Cruise, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in a statement.

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