Not everybody asserts as confidently as the Pentagon that the US military can defend the United States from the growing threat posed by North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile capability.
Pyongyang's first test on Tuesday of an ICBM with a potential to strike the state of Alaska has raised the question: How capable is the US military of knocking down an incoming missile or barrage of missiles?
Briefing reporters on Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said: "We do have confidence in our ability to defend against the limited threat, the nascent threat that is there."
Davis cited a successful test in May in which a US-based missile interceptor knocked down a simulated incoming North Korean ICBM. But he acknowledged the test programme's track programme was not perfect.
"It's something we have mixed results on. But we also have an ability to shoot more than one interceptor," Davis said.
An internal memo seen by Reuters also showed that the Pentagon upgraded its assessment of US defences after the May test.
Despite hundreds of billions of dollars spent on a multi-layered missile defence system, the United States may not be able to seal itself off entirely from a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile attack.
Experts caution that US missile defences are now geared to shooting down one, or perhaps a small number of basic, incoming missiles. Were North Korea's technology and production to keep advancing, US defences could be overwhelmed unless they keep pace with the threat.
"Over the next four years, the United States has to increase its current capacity of our deployed systems, aggressively push for more and faster deployment," said Riki Ellison, founder of the Missile Defence Advocacy Alliance.
The test records of the US Missile Defence Agency (MDA), charged with the mission to develop, test and field a ballistic missile defence system, also show mixed results.
MDA systems have multiple layers and ranges and use sensors in space at sea and on land that altogether form a defence for different US regions and territories.
One component, the Ground-based Midcourse Defence system (GMD), demonstrated a success rate just above 55 per cent. A second component, the Aegis system deployed aboard US Navy ships and on land, had about an 83 per cent success rate, according to the agency.
A third, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, anti-missile system, has a 100 per cent success rate in 13 tests conducted since 2006, according to the MDA.