Our Missile-Defense Policy Should be ‘America First’

May 17, 2017

National Review:

The U.S. provides anti-missile shields to Europe. Let’s redirect some of those resources to protect the homeland.

Ideal year-round temperatures, lush tropical foliage, and scenic beaches belie the strategic significance of Hawaii’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, which cuts across 2,385 acres of coastline in Kauai County.

The U.S. Naval base is said to be the “only range in the world where submarines, surface ships, aircraft and space vehicles can operate and be tracked simultaneously.” Whale watchers and other tourists who set sail in nearby waterways are largely unaware of the advanced military testing that takes place at the facility.

But with the 50th state now within range of North Korea’s accelerating missile technology, the arguments in favor of activating rather than just testing defensive systems are gaining currency among elected officials and top military brass.

Just a few months ago, seismic sensors determined that the Communist regime’s latest round of underground nuclear tests produced an explosion equivalent to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un appears poised to set off another nuclear-weapons test, which would be the sixth such test since 2006. Moreover, it’s become evident that the North Korean dictator continues to sharpen and hone missile technology that could be used to deliver nuclear warheads to intended targets.

Despite the widely publicized “failed launch” of a ballistic missile that exploded over land in North Korea in April, Hawaii is in within range of Jong-un’s ever-expanding arsenal. So are South Korea, Japan, Guam, Okinawa, and parts of Alaska. What the media dismissed as a failure, savvy U.S. defense planners correctly view as an audacious step in the direction of missile technology that will ultimately threaten U.S. lives and assets. Since he first came to power in December 2011, Jong-un has tested more missiles than were tested in the 30 preceding years. On Sunday, he launched North Korea’s most advanced weapon yet in the form of a mid- to long-range missile that improved on the performance of previous tests.

“They can certainly hit the Aleutian Islands,” warns Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a nonprofit group based in Alexandria, Va. “We don’t know if they can put nuclear warheads on their missiles, and we would think that they would want more reliability on these missiles before they would put nukes on them. The North Koreans also have to test the reentry on the warheads. But they can reach Alaska.”

Even so, Ellison said, the ground-based anti-missile interceptors deployed at Fort Greely in Alaska and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California “have been tested and proven,” to the point where they provide a sufficient defense against an attack from rogue states against the American mainland, “at least for the time being.”

Read the full article.

International Cooperation