The U.S. Air Force has reversed plans to cut the use of missile-warning radar after threats from North Korea, Reuters reported Tuesday. According to William Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command, the situation in North Korea has prompted officials not to implement planned budget cuts that would have forced a reduction in the use of radar. Reversing the radar cuts, which had been expected to save approximately $5 million, will leave the radar "at full power," Shelton said.
"The entire Department of Defense, us included, (is) paying very close attention to the provocations by the North Koreans. You can let your mind go from there, but we're paying attention."
The radar warning system is on the Aleutian Islands, approximately 1,200 miles from the coast of Alaska.
Earlier Tuesday, Adm. Samuel Locklear said that although the U.S. is capable of intercepting a missile from North Korea, it may choose not to if the trajectory shows it would not be a threat. An anonymous source told Reuters that the Obama administration's "working assumption is that there are two missiles that they may be prepared to launch." According to Locklear, neither Hawaii nor the U.S. mainland would be at risk.
The Air Force has already begun grounding combat aircraft due to sequestration. Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command at Langley-Eustis, said in a statement, "Units will stand down on a rotating basis so our limited resources can be focused on fulfilling critical missions."