The Defense Department sent Congress a report late last week on North Korea's military strength in 2015, though Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis instead talked mostly about recent developments this year at a press briefing on the 2015 reports.
The annual reports began in 2012, after a North Korean missile launch, to keep Congress abreast of North Korea's military activity.
Davis confirmed that the 2015 report does not include North Korea's underground nuclear bomb detonation this year on Jan. 6 or its missile launch Feb. 7.
Concerning the Feb. 7 launch, Davis said North Korea's use of “ballistic-missile technology, following so closely on the heels of its January nuclear test, is another destabilizing and provocative action and flagrant violation of multiple U.N. security council resolutions.”
Davis further indicated that North Korea's actions have created tension in the region and threatens some U.S. allies.
"North Korea has veiled (the Feb. 7 launch) as a peaceful space launch, but we all recognize that this very technology is used to construct the (intercontinental-ballistic missiles) they aspire to possess and (use) to hold our homeland at risk,” Davis said. “They continue to prioritize missile and nuclear weapons programs over the well-being of their own people, and we remain fully committed to our allies in the region and will take all necessary steps to defend ourselves and our allies and respond to North Korean provocations,” Davis said.
Davis also said there are similarities between North Korea's Feb. 7 launch and the one from December 2012, including that both used the same type of missile, and both were sent on a southern trajectory.
“A lot has been made of the satellite they have put into orbit and whether it’s in a stable orbit or tumbling," Davis said. "What matters is they have now done, on two different occasions, this demonstration of a three-stage rocket capability, which is capable of reaching space. That is the same technology that can be used to put a nuclear warhead on and to hold distant countries at risk.”