Accessibility links

US Deploying Anti-Aircraft Missiles Around Nation's Capitol

The U.S. military is deploying live anti-aircraft missiles around Washington D.C. in a bid to bolster security for the September 11th anniversary ceremonies.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered missiles moved from storage to a variety of launchers previously scattered around the capital, as part of an air defense exercise.

A Pentagon statement said the decision to make the transition from an exercise to an actual armed operational deployment was not in response to any specific threat. But it called the move a prudent precaution intended to increase the air defense posture in the Washington area.

The Pentagon said it would not disclose the actual locations of its air defense assets for security reasons. But at least one military vehicle equipped with anti-aircraft missile launchers was seen by reporters on the perimeter of the Pentagon.

The decision follows an increase in the terrorist threat warning level in the United States and at U.S. facilities worldwide.

In addition to the new anti-aircraft missile deployments in the Washington area, fighter jets have resumed their 24-hour patrols over the capital as well as over New York City.