Prelude to Fireworks

July 2, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

As the North Koreans continue to launch ballistic missiles, firing four today with a high probability of more over the Fourth of July weekend, the United States Senate is assessing, behind closed doors, the Administration’s request to reduce missile defense funding for our nation.

This is being led by Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan). They are looking to bring forward bipartisan legislation to re-assess our nation’s long-range ground-based ballistic missile defenses (GMDs). More specifically, they are assessing the threat which these systems are intended to defend against, the military requirements, the current and planned capabilities, force structure and inventory levels, including an analysis of deploying 44 missiles and silos, their necessary infrastructure, debating the number and location of silos, and the number of GBIs necessary for operational assets, test assets and spare missiles.

This is a positive movement by the representatives of the American public who as Senators of our democratic nation are challenging the Administration and the Secretary of Defense’s plan to reduce missile defenses. This representation reflects the voice of the American public and is in line with close to the nine out of ten Americans who support missile defense as well as a CNN poll released today that three out of four Americans believe North Korea has the ability to strike the United States and that 52 percent consider North Korea to be a very serious threat compared to Iran at 43 percent.

In addition, and most importantly, the Administration working through the Secretary of Defense has made the decision to deploy the Sea-Based X-Band radar (SBX) and to place ground-based interceptors (GBI) in Alaska and California on alert. The fundamental and critical fact that the GBIs are the only proven US missile defense system deployed to intercept and destroy long range ballistic missiles that would strike the United States of America including Hawaii and Alaska cannot be denied, not deployed, not sustained and most of all not reduced by 32 percent. The threat has not dissipated nor has it reduced from North Korea and Iran, the threat has increased.

We owe great thanks to all of those who were responsible and had the courage to press forward both technically and politically on this issue to allow our nation, communities and families to feel secure and safe as we celebrate the 233rd birthday of this great country.

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

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