Vandenberg has launched test missiles in the past to ideal the military's missile defense system.
Kim Jong-Un has sought to ramp up North Korea's nuclear programme under his rule, saying the regime needs atomic weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion. Though North Korea has conducted nine missiles tests in 2017, none have been ICBMs.
The ground-based interceptor being tested Tuesday is different than the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system located in South Korea, which would intercept the kill vehicle at a lower altitude in the missile's terminal stage. If the test proceeds as planned, the two will collide over the Pacific. Next, control centers in Alaska and Colorado would attempt to track the trajectory of the incoming missile.
During the U.S. -Soviet Cold War era, President Ronald Reagan vowed to develop a missile defense that became known as "Star Wars", because it involved a satellite-based system. An ICBM target has never been tested before. Tuesday's test used a warhead equipped with new thrusters created to adjust its flight path as it approaches the mock ICBM and other components meant to remedy obsolescence of some parts and reliability shortcomings.
The simulated missile flew faster that those used in previous ground-based interceptor tests.
"Initial indications are that the test met its primary objective, but program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test", the USA military statement read.
The Pentagon scored an important success Tuesday in a test of its oft-criticized missile defense program, destroying a mock warhead over the Pacific Ocean with an interceptor that is key to protecting USA territory from a North Korean attack.
North Korea intends to keep improving its missiles until it can launch a nuclear warhead capable of reaching USA soil.
The bill would also require the Pentagon to study whether to have up to 100 interceptors across the United States.
The launch was near Kalma in eastern Wonsan province, where North Korea previously attempted to test its mobile-launched Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. At almost the same time, another missile (the simulated ICBM) was lunched thousands of miles away from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
In its 2018 budget presented to Congress last week, the Pentagon proposed spending $7.9 billion on missile defense, including $1.5 billion for the ground-based mid-course defense program.
If North Korea's multiple missile launches are worrying anyone, it does not seem to be investors in Asian stocks, The Wall Street Journal reported. Earlier this month, the U.S. military announced that the THAAD missile defense system had become operational.
President Trump recently ordered the Pentagon to undertake a ballistic missile defense review.