Seven Minutes

May 20, 2005

Dear Members and Friends,

It takes approximately seven minutes for a missile from North Korea to impact territory of the United States as General Cartwright testified. The first three to four minutes are used to determine a missile’s trajectory and where it’s going to hit, leaving the remaining three to five minutes to decide whether to launch one or more ground-based missile interceptors at the incoming missile. Short timelines, complicated decision processes, and the heavy burden of weapons release authority involving the president and military chain of command are realities; currently we do not have solutions for these potential realities. This situation is not comforting to any of us, especially those living in and representing Hawaii and Alaska.

Last week, General Cartwright (Commander of U.S. Strategic Forces and Missile Defense) testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. These three senators are the most influential legislators determining the appropriation of tax dollars to the defense of our armed services. Their attention focused on immediate and near term priority of appropriated tax dollars for missile defense protection. Moreover, two of these senators, Daniel Inouye and Ted Stevens represent states most vulnerable to a North Korean missile attack: Hawaii and Alaska.

We at MDAA greatly appreciate the vision and determination from Senator Daniel Inouye, the Democratic senator of Hawaii, and Senator Ted Stevens, the Republican senator of Alaska, for standing strong in their beliefs, demands and direction of missile defense, for not only their constituents but our entire country.

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