She Listened

May 10, 2007

The House Armed Services Strategic Forces Chairman, Rep. Ellen Tauscher added two key amendments to the overall missile defense FY 2008 budget at the House Armed Services Committee that resulted in restoring of $150 million to boost phase missile defense, $48 million for future missile defense systems, including space sensors, $12 million more for sea-based sensors and language to allow $160 million for the proposed European third missile defense site to be resubmitted when agreements are reached with host nations.

This shift of priorities from last week’s initial Strategic Subcommittees markup shows a bipartisan movement accepted by a Democratic Majority to put forward systems to address future threats and to continue to invest into our countries most advanced boost phase missile defense system, the Airborne Laser. We congratulate and applaud the modifications led by Chairman Rep. Ellen Tauscher, as well as the efforts led by Rep. Larson (D) and Rep. Franks (R) to support those two key modifications. We believe that this overall mark is an important statement as it addresses investment in future systems that are needed along with the priority of near-term deployment of the current systems.

It is of note, that the $210 million for this amendment was redirected from other Missile Defense funds as the majority of it came from the “Special Programs” of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Though MDAA does not agree with taking funding from already existing programs and would much prefer to get those reprioritized funds added back on to the authorizing budget, we understand the new dynamics of a changed Congress. It is of merit to find that Chairman Tauscher and the Minority Leader Rep. Everett allowed MDA to submit where and what programs those reallocated funds would come from instead of making a political decision themselves.

Quite significant in this overall mark is the initial, official viewpoint from a Democratic Majority House of Representatives of the third site in Europe. Listed below are the four key statements that were made with this mark:

Signed agreements from the prospective countries to host the European missile defense third site must be in place before requesting the needed $160 million to develop the site
No authorizing language requiring the consensus of NATO approval for a third site
$160 million allocated to developing the 10 ground-based interceptors for the European third site, site design activity and radar modifications were fully funded and approved
Importance of an independent assessment of the Administration’s proposal for the European third site required by the mark
MDAA fully endorses each and every one of these four initial positions on the European third site held by the House Armed Services Committee. As protectors and stewards of our American Public and their tax dollars, this is a prudent approach that puts forward and accepts investment in the European third site, as well as requiring due diligence so that Europe, our Armed Forces stationed there, and our homeland will have protection against ballistic missile threats from Iran and the Middle East.

We thank you for your efforts last week to make your voices heard to those on the Strategic Forces Committee. MDAA also made its voice heard, as I had the privilege to advocate our position to the Honorable Chairman Ellen Tauscher in person soon after the initial mark was made last week.

She Listened

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