Today, Congressman Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces was joined by several Members of the Subcommittee in writing to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to voice their concern regarding lack of a missile defense hedge for the U.S. homeland. The letter stems from recent intelligence which shows foreign developments in long-range ballistic missile development, specifically those which could be capable of attacking the U.S.
“We…believe it is now critically important that the Administration immediately reprioritize the defense of the homeland. And we believe your predecessor, Secretary Gates, was of the same view when he announced prior to his departure from office that, ‘with the continued development of long-range missiles and potentially a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and their continued development of nuclear weapons, North Korea is in the process of becoming a direct threat to the United States,’” wrote the majority Members of the Subcommittee.
The Members have been further informed that the Administration may be preparing to walk away from its commitment to develop the SM-3 IIB missile. This may be accomplished by downgrading it to a mere technology risk reduction program. “It would be a double blow to the defense of the homeland if the Administration now walks away from the IIB missile without restoring programs for missile defense of the United States,” they added.The majority Members of the Subcommittee further warned that, “Such decisions, which will further compromise the national missile defense of the United States, may be a result of the Administration’s decision to build a missile defense system in Europe, with little application for the defense of the United States, as a contribution to NATO…”