The captured image from the website of US Senate Armed Services Committee shows Deputy Secretary of Defense-designate Kathleen Hicks speaking at her Senate confirmation hearing in Washington on Tuesday. (US Senate Armed Services Committee )
The United States' missile defense system provides deterrence against "limited" nuclear attacks from countries such as North Korea, Deputy Defense Secretary nominee Kathleen Hicks said Tuesday.
Hicks said if confirmed, she would work to further improve the missile defense system.
"As currently constructed, the relationship between US missile defense and the US nuclear arsenal is complementary," she said in written response to her pre-confirmation-hearing questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"Both capabilities contribute to deterring attack against the United States, with US nuclear weapons presenting a credible threat of retaliation and US missile defense aimed at deterring a limited nuclear attack from North Korea or Iran," added Hicks.
Her remarks came in response to a questions based on assessment that the current missile defense system may not provide adequate defense against threats from Russia and China's "ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles."
Hicks said she would work to improve the national missile defense system.
"If confirmed, I would assess ongoing efforts to improve national missile defense, with a particular focus on improving discrimination capabilities and sensors for detection of both ballistic and hypersonic missiles," said she.
The deputy secretary nominee also said she would work with allies and partners in Asia to deal with a growing threat from China.
"The missile threat posed by China is increasing," she said. "If confirmed, I look forward to developing a deeper understanding of US force posture in the Indo-Pacific region and to working with allies and partners to enhance missile defense efforts in the region."
"Cooperation strengthens deterrence and provides assurance essential to US allies threatened by missile coercion and potential attacks," she added.
Hicks served as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration and worked at the Defense Department from 1993 to 2006 as a career civil servant.
If confirmed, she will be the first woman to serve as deputy secretary of defense. (Yonhap)