A congressman from Hawaii is getting worried by the fact that North Korea has recently tested its fourth nuclear device and launched a satellite.

At a House Armed Services’ Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C., Rep. Mark Takai had questions for military leaders when it comes to protecting Hawaii from potential attack.

According to Takai’s office, the Hawaii Democrat sought assurances that there exists no gap in missile defense that could harm the islands.

“No sir, I do not think there is a gap to that particular threat,” said Admiral Bill Gortney, USN Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command. We’re prepared to engage and protect Hawaii, Alaska, and all of the rest of the states with the existing system and I have high confidence in its success.”

Congressman Mark Takai editorial board1. 29 march 2016.
Congressman Mark Takai. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Takai asked whether funding for an Advanced Missile Defense Radar prototype being tested at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai should be sped up for later installation at the facility.

Vice Admiral J.D. Syring, USN Director, Missile Defense Agency, said that PACOM Commander Admiral Harry Harris “has been open” about the need for additional sensor capability in Hawaii and “we are obviously very well aware of that requirement and are looking at what the sensor options could be but right now, it’s a test site and it’s been a very effective test site.”

Syring added, “Think it’s fair to say that we in the Department will look at options to include sensoring to see if there is a way to answer the Combatant Commander’s requirement in this area.”

Takai concluded, “There is some indication of support and interest in operationalizing the facility on Kauai (and) to use the AEGIS Ashore platform as the way forward. I think we can’t wait until North Korea launches something that has precision that can detect and hit something similar to Hawaii. We’ve got to be a little bit more proactive.”

Takai’s funding amendment for the Hawaii radar will be considered by the House Armed Services Committee during the committee’s National Defense Authorization Act markup April 27.

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