- Decrease the planned number of fielded interceptors;
- Terminate construction of a missile field in Alaska that is partially complete; and
- Curtail additional GMD development.
Although I am concerned with the top-line cut to missile defense, I am deeply concerned about the specific cuts to our national missile defense system.
Although I am concerned with the top-line cut to missile defense, I am deeply concerned about the specific cuts to our national missile defense system. These include the 35-percent cut to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system in Alaska and California, and the Administration’s decision to:
Secretary Gates made this program decision earlier in the year, but noted that he would be open to revisiting it if the threat changed. Ironically, the day before the budget was released, North Korea demonstrated a Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile, followed later in the month by a nuclear test that it threatened to conduct, and the launch of six ballistic missiles. The same month, Iran successfully tested a new 2,000 kilometer ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel and parts of Europe. We currently hear reports that North Korea is preparing to carry out another of its public threats, an ICBM launch.
I would echo what our intelligence agencies are confirming: that there is an increasing threat to the United States and her friends and allies that consists of long, medium, and short-range ballistic missiles. This range of threats demands a comprehensive missile defense system. Instead of a missile defense cut, we must invest in capabilities that protect the U.S. homeland, our forward-deployed troops, and allies.
The Mark supports the Administration’s increase in theater missile defenses, which I strongly support. These systems, Aegis and THAAD in particular, are important capabilities that provide protection of our forward-deployed troops and allies from shorter-range missiles.
Unfortunately, the Administration’s $1.2 billion dollar cut has forced a trade, or false choice, pitting national missile defense against theater missile defense. This false choice has produced unsubstantiated cuts to national missile defense when both are necessary and both could be adequately funded. It also sets up political debates on defenses that should not be political.