Last night, President Barack Obama laid out his vision for the remaining two years of his term in the oval office. He called attention to the threats posed by North Korea, and highlighted the Administration’s diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program. While diplomatic efforts on nonproliferation are an important part of U.S. national security strategy, President Obama himself noted the real possibility that negotiations could fail.
“There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran.”
– President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015
Last week, the head of U.S. Strategic Command, ADM Cecil Haney, the man responsible for providing strategic deterrence against attacks from our adversaries, painted a starker image in a speech at the Atlantic Council:
“Iran has made no secret of their desire to acquire nuclear weapons, and preventing them from acquiring these capabilities is paramount to regional stability.”
– ADM Cecil Haney, January 15, 2015
ADM Haney also provided his assessment of the threat posed by North Korea:
“As you know, North Korea continues work to advance their nuclear ambitions. They’ve conducted multiple nuclear tests and have claimed to have possession of miniaturized warhead capability of delivery by ballistic missiles. At the same time they continue with the development of a road mobile ballistic missile, the KN-08, and a new missile submarine.”
– ADM Cecil Haney, January 15, 2015
Recently, top North Korea expert Dr. Seigfreid Hecker estimated that North Korea would likely possess enough fissile material to build 20 nuclear weapons by the time President Obama leaves office. Dr. Hecker is one of our nation’s foremost nuclear scientists and former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Decades of diplomacy failed to keep North Korea from achieving this level of capability. While we may retain optimism that a diplomatic solution with Iran can be found, we must prepare as a nation in the event that diplomacy fails, as it has with North Korea. This is why investments to continue developing both regional and homeland missile defenses must continue, to contend with both the threats posed by North Korea and Iran.
Missile defense offers our nation the ability to maintain regional stability and peace, even when other parts of our national security strategy, such as diplomacy, come up short. It is our national insurance policy. Having these proven systems modernized and in place provides avenues for cooperation with our international partners, and provides reassurance to our allies and insures our nation and its people against failure to stop Iran or North Korea.
In order for our BMD systems to fulfill this potential, we must be persistent in our investments to modernize and increase their reliability by researching new technologies. This would include the pursuit of a redesigned kill vehicle for our homeland missile defense system, a new Long Range Discrimination Radar to enhance our ability to track and discriminate incoming missile threats, and an eventual third Ground Based Interceptor site in the United States.
We at MDAA are grateful for our civilian and military leaders who understand the complexity of modern-day deterrence. These leaders recognize the critical role that ballistic missile defense plays in maintaining peace and the status quo, and are willing to make the adequate investments in our missile defense.
“That’s how America leads – not with bluster, but with steady resolve.”
-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015
The President needs to follow his words and show resolve not only in words but actions in the defense of the United States. One of his key actions to show resolve to the American public would be to terminate sequestration with the Republican Congress to enable our nation’s military to defend our people and nation to the best of their ability.
History judges by actions not words.
– Riki Ellison
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.