This news item, which was mostly ignored by the Mainstream Media (MSM) in the United States, is rather disconcerting. First published in the German periodical Die Welt, we find that the Iranians are placing medium-range missles in Venezuela. The implications of this are incredible. We don't just have Russia and China to worry about anymore, any tin-horn dictator can obtain a few missiles and wreak havoc on this country. This article should concern every American. Our only question is this: why does our government not tell us about a situation that is every bit as serious as the Cuban Missile Crisis was?

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Global Security Newswire

Could the U.S. Face a Cruise Missile Threat from the Gulf of Mexico?

by Diane Barnes
March 21, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses inside a cruise missile-equipped Tu-160 strategic bomber in 2005. (Vladimir Rodionov/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States is puzzling over how to block cruise missiles that theoretically could be launched from the Gulf of Mexico, even after throwing some of its most advanced technologies at the problem.

Russia and Iran have been cited as possible threats that might, at some point, lurk in the waters just off U.S. shores.

A 2013 military exercise pitted systems such as Patriot interceptors, Aegis warships and combat aircraft against potential cruise-missile or short-range ballistic missiles fired from the Gulf. But the drill highlighted a particular vulnerability to cruise missiles lobbed from that region, U.S. Northern Command head Gen. Charles Jacoby indicated in congressional testimony last week.

He said the Pentagon has "some significant challenges" in countering these missiles, but is exploring "some opportunities to use existing systems more effectively to do that." Many detailed results of the Oct. 11 drill conducted near Key West, Fla., remain classified, Jacoby said.

"The cruise-missile threat portion of that we are working on very hard," the general added at the March 13 Senate Armed Service Committee hearing, in response to a question from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The military leader -- whose command focuses on defense of the U.S. homeland -- referenced an initiative to quickly mobilize assets against such threats in a configuration called the Joint Deployable Integrated Air and Missile Defense system.

The effort is housed within the Pentagon's Joint Test and Evaluation program, which aims to address "operational deficiencies" in military preparedness, according to information released by the Pentagon.

"The idea is to cobble together enough stuff [so] that maybe something will work. But none of these systems were designed for cruise-missile defense," Kingston Reif, an analyst with the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, said in an e-mail.

Cruise missiles can be particularly challenging to defend against, as they can be more difficult than aircraft to detect on radar and are sometimes tricky to shoot down, according to military experts.

A 2013 U.S. military intelligence report forecasted that cruise missiles would spread into more hands over the coming decade. The document also hints at the ability to evade defenses designed against ballistic missiles.

"Cruise missiles can fly at low altitudes to stay below enemy radar and, in some cases, hide behind terrain features. Newer missiles are incorporating stealth features to make them even less visible to radars and infrared detectors," says the 2013 assessment by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Cruz's office did not respond to requests to discuss his specific concerns about potential attack risks facing the United States from the Gulf of Mexico. His comments came, though, in the wake of some other public discussion of possible threats of