The Clash of the Titans

April 16, 2010

Dear Members and Friends,

At the backdrop of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C., the United States House of Representatives held their first missile defense hearing for the year on the 2011 President’s Budget Request for Missile Defense focusing on the polices to authorize 1.4 percent of the total defense budget for missile defense. This hearing was centered on an emotional debate about credibility of the rational reasoning to cancel the European missile defense sites of the previous administration and replace them with the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA) in Europe consisting of four phases to be finished by 2011, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

 

The core essence of the debate were the missile defense capabilities and systems put forward by our tax dollars to protect our nation, allies, and our troops, which are policy-driven rather than architecture-driven to defeat the threat from Iran. The implications of the decision are clearly policy-driven and this administration, still after more than a year, does not know the clear capabilities of the system, the deployed operational configuration and the exact cost to U.S. taxpayers. With these unknowns this administration made a significant promise to Congress that 100 percent of Europe will be protected in 2018, and that the U.S. homeland will have additional protection in 2020 from missiles from Iran.  The clear defense of this position was presented in testimony by the eminent architect of the Phased Adaptive Approach, Dr. Bradley H. Roberts, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, whose intellectual prowess and emotional attachment to the PAA is unsurpassed and was demonstrated. The counter argument to Dr. Robert’s position, presented by Congressman Michael Turner (Ohio) equally matched the intellectual prowess and distilled the issue in simple terms of summing up the administration’s reasoning as “a false choice”. Also, he added that the nation should be doing both the Third Site and the PAA, instead of one or the other missile defense plan as the Third Site offered protection to the U.S. homeland and Europe earlier than the PAA with a known system, a known cost, and a known deployed configuration.

 

The protection of our nation, our allies and our troops is at stake. Emotional decisions must defer to rational reasoning; the threat is just too great not to.

 

As North Korea, Iran and Syria were not invited to the nuclear summit, the message is clear – that missile defense is going forward and it is a matter of how much, where and when.

The threat continues to proliferate and I leave you with President Obama’s remark to the summit to ponder:

“The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

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