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Lee Jin-man / AP

The U.S. said Tuesday it successfully shot down a test intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which is similar to ones North Korea is developing, using the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), per Reuters. The test was launched north of Hawaii and hit the test missile over the Pacific Ocean.

What it means: Since THAAD is deployed to South Korea and Guam to protect against the short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles, this "should be reassuring to US military forces in Korea who would be defended by THAAD, but also to the 10 million or so South Koreans who THAAD could also defend," Senior International Defense Researcher at the RAND Corporation Bruce Bennett told Axios. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said this test "bolsters the country's defensive capability" against North Korean threats.

Two big caveats:

  1. Bennett warned current THAAD deployment of only two launchers "would not be sufficient to protect all areas of southern Korea," likely leaving some cities without missile defense.
  2. This test is not expected to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Editor of The Nonproliferation Review Joshua Pollack confirmed to Axios.

Go deeper

9 mins ago - Health

Meta removes over 600 accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China

Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Meta announced Wednesday it has removed over 600 Facebook and Instagram accounts linked to a Chinese influence operation that claimed the U.S. was pressuring the World Health Organization (WHO) to blame COVID on China.

Why it matters: Though Meta said the network was unsuccessful, it marks yet another COVID disinformation campaign instigated by China in an effort to discredit the U.S.

Stacey Abrams launches second campaign for Georgia governor

Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and former 2018 candidate for Georgia governor, is running for the position again in 2022. Abrams would be the first Black female governor in the country.

Why it matters: Abrams caught national attention in 2018 by narrowly losing an election to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in a state held firmly by the GOP for nearly two decades.

First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The first known U.S. case of the Omicron variant was detected in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case was detected in a traveler returning from South Africa who was fully vaccinated and has mild symptoms, according to the CDC.