Driven By the Threat

Dear Members and Friends,

This week, the highest ranking members of the United States military, the Secretary of Defense, Mr. Robert Gates, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, testified to Congress and presented the $655 billion budget request for this country’s defense and national security for the 2009 fiscal year. Of the $655 billion, which includes a $70 billion supplementary amount, 1.59% is allocated for missile defense, a non-offensive weapons system.

Both the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense testified on the need for missile defense. Admiral Mike Mullen put forward the justification of why our country needs increased spending for missile defense. Secretary Robert Gates emphasized the growing Iranian ballistic missile threat, and he expects ground will be broken and an agreement will be signed with Poland and the Czech Republic to host a third U.S. missile defense site this year.

At the beginning of the week, the Department of Defense and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) released a detailed budget for the missile defense program. Citing the MDA 2009 budget estimates overview, Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, Director of MDA, in his written statement preceding the MDA budget funding request amounts stated, “some 30 nations have now deployed a ballistic missile capability, compared to only eight in 1972, and foreign ballistic missiles were launched more than 100 times around the world in 2007… Currently, North Korea has hundreds of deployable short and medium range ballistic missiles and is developing a new intermediate range ballistic missile and a new short range solid propellant ballistic missile, which it test launched in June 2007. Iran has the largest force of ballistic missiles in the Middle East (several hundred short- and medium-range ballistic missiles), and its highly publicized missile exercise training has enabled Iranian ballistic missile forces to hone wartime skills and new tactics.”

Today, major news released around the world reported that Iran has begun to deploy newer more advanced centrifuges to produce nuclear fuel in order to move forward towards the production of nuclear weapons. This past Monday, Iran announced that it fired a rocket into space. Taken together, these two events leave a real and credible threat to the national security interests of the United States, its allies and moreover our world.

The Missile Defense budget for 2009, which includes the MDA budget of $9.4 billion as well as an additional $1.1 billion from the Department of Defense, amounting to $10.5* billion, (Budget Link) consists basically of two areas of investment over five regional areas of integrated, developing and deployed missile defense.

The Two Areas:
1. Fielding and sustaining defense missile systems at an estimated $4.1 billion, or 39.1% of the total missile defense budget.
2. Testing and developing missile defense systems at an estimated $6.4 billion, or 60.9% of the total missile defense budget.

The Five Regions:
1. U.S. Defense against North Korea Long Range missile defense at $58.5 million at 0.56%.
2. Regional and Theater Defense for US Forces at $6.4 billion at 12.3%.
3. U.S. Defense against Iran long range at $1.7 billion at 16.3%.
4. Europe Defense at $719.8 million at 6.92%.
5. Expand defense to be able to protect two regions at once from both Iran and North Korea at $835.6 million at 8.03%.

We at MDAA believe that this funding request for missile defense is fair, balanced, affordable and necessary for our public safety and the protection of our troops and allies.

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