US Tests Israel's Iron Dome Defense Missiles in Guam

Pacific military base prepares for possible Chinese cruise missile attack

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts rockets fired by Hamas in May 2021 / Getty Images
November 9, 2021

U.S. military officials in Guam are testing Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system in anticipation of a cruise missile attack from China.

The missile defense system, which the United States purchased in 2019, is part of the Pentagon's push to counter China in the Pacific, according to the Wall Street Journal. In June, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered military forces to speed up efforts to deter Beijing in the region. The U.S. Army completed its first test of the system in New Mexico in August, destroying eight cruise missile targets.

The dome system is designed to destroy short-range targets within a 40-mile radius. The United States is considering additional missile defense plans for Chinese missiles launched from space.

"If we can’t defend Guam—the air base and the other things there—it's really hard to project power into the Pacific," said Tom Karako, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Guam, a U.S. territory, has the closest American military base to China and is home to nearly 200,000 U.S. service members and civilians.

The Jewish state has used the Iron Dome to defend itself against rockets fired by Palestinian terror groups. The defense system intercepted thousands of missiles fired during Israel's 11-day conflict in May with Hamas militants.