WASHINGTON, July 22 (Yonhap) -- The United States plans to spend about US$5.8 billion over the next five years on a missile defense program designed to intercept incoming warheads from countries like North Korea, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
In a report made public Tuesday, the budget office provided the historical and future budgets for the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program, a missile defense system aimed at fending off ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran.
The report was made at the request of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
According to the report, the five-year budget of $5.8 billion, including costs for research, development and evaluation, as well as operation and maintenance for the program, breaks down to $1.15 billion in 2015, $1.43 billion in 2016, $1.25 billion in 2017, $1.01 billion in 2018 and $958 million in 2019.
North Korea's missile program has been a key security concern for the U.S., along with Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Last year, the North demonstrated its intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities by succeeding in putting a satellite into orbit aboard a long-range rocket.
The North also carried out three nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
Experts say, however, that the communist nation is not believed to have mastered the technology to make nuclear warheads small enough to fit on a missile.
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