Dear Members and Friends,
“We must not allow regional actors, such as North Korea, to hold U.S. policy hostage by making our citizens vulnerable to a nuclear ICBM attack. I cannot overemphasize the importance of executing a robust testing program to validate current and future capabilities that comprise the GMD system.”
-General Charles Jacoby, Commander, U.S. Northern Command
March 6, 2012 testimony before the full House Armed Service Committee of the United States Congress on the FY13 Defense Budget Authorization Request for U.S. Northern Command
North Korea has openly announced today a long-range ballistic missile launch between April 12th and 16th to place a payload satellite in space. This defies the United States’ moratorium on long-range launches and makes a mockery of the February 29th, 2012 United States State Department agreement to provide 240,000 metric tons of food aid to North Korea in exchange for its suspension of uranium enrichment, allowance of U.N. weapons inspectors, and a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.
North Korea-unlike Iran-has nuclear weapons that have been developed, tested and allowed to exist. North Korea is working on both indigenous technologies and importing existing technologies from countries friendly to their cause of making their nuclear weapons fit on ballistic missile delivery systems, as well as improving their long-range ballistic missile capabilities in reliability, accuracy and range.
North Korea’s last long-range ballistic missile test occurred on April 5th, 2009, when a Taepodong-2 flew over Japan and failed. North Korea had previously flown a Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile on July 5th, 2006, which failed 40 seconds after launch. During both of these North Korean long-range ballistic missile tests, the Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) and the 7th fleet U.S. Navy sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships were all collectively used for tracking, discriminating and providing missile defense capability for the protection of the United States Homeland, particularly Hawaii, Alaska and U.S. territory of Guam. In addition and with cooperation on the April 5th, 2009 North Korean Taepodong-2 launch, Japan also put forward its sea-based Aegis BMD Kongo-class ships for the protection of Japan.
“North Korea’s continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons and advanced ballistic missile systems places a premium on USPACOM ballistic missile defenses and close cooperation with allies. Japan and the ROK are strong U.S. allies that host U.S. forces, benefit from U.S. extended deterrence, and stand with the U.S. in containing DPRK aggression in addition to meeting other regional and global security challenges.”
-Commander of the United States Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, in charge of the defense and protection of the Pacific region, the largest United States Combatant Command, in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee February 28, 2012.
North Korea has most certainly advanced its long-range ballistic missile capabilities since almost three years ago and will validate its progress with this upcoming launch. These technologies will be shared with Iran, who will be present and invited to the North Korean launch (as has been done in the past), as their cooperation and corroboration over the past years continues to help their mutual development in these technologies.
It is without question and absolutely imperative to our nation and our national security to have an efficient, effective, reliable and robust ballistic missile defense.
“The American People have a deservedly high expectation of success in our homeland defense efforts. Every nation should pursue the right to protect its population and critical infrastructure from the terror of ballistic missiles. Accordingly, no homeland task is more important than protecting the United States from a limited ICBM attack.”
-Commander of the U.S. Northern Command General Charles Jacoby, who is in charge of the defense of the United States Homeland, in Congressional testimony on March 6, 2012.
We as a nation and an American Public have to ensure our Administration’s funding and support for all these missile defense systems that will protect our homeland; their testing, their development and their deployment all have to be encouraged, fully embraced, supported, funded and implemented.
The facts are that this Administration’s budget request has cut missile defense capability to the homeland, has not had a successful GMD intercept since 2008 (prior to this Administration taking office), and has a reduced Ground Based Interceptor inventory for the current defense of the United States Homeland.