Dear Members and Friends,
As the new year of 2012 begins and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta moves forward in downsizing the Department of Defense’s budget for 2013, Iran recently demonstrated its military capabilities, showing a direct threat to the U.S. 5th Fleet deployed in and out of Bahrain. In a 10-day Naval exercise concluded today and intended to demonstrate Iranian control over the strategic Strait of Hormuz, Iran successfully fired three missiles. On Sunday, Iran test-fired an anti-radar, mid-range surface-to-air Mehrab missile during Naval drills in its Southern waters. Yesterday Iran fired the shore-to-sea Qader missile, with a range of about 125 miles, and the surface-to-surface Nour missile, which has been upgraded from previous generations.
From the Iranian perspective, in protection of their nuclear quest, this demonstration is an attempt to deter a potential pre-emptive strike from Israel and reaction from the United States as well as to show Iranian resolve and strength to its neighbors and the West.
Maintaining ample and effective deployed U.S. and Allied ballistic missile defense and cruise missile defense capabilities in the Persian Gulf region and in the United States 5th Fleet is paramount to keeping peace and stability in this region. Missile defense systems in the Persian Gulf counter Iran’s military capability and its threats to the region while ensuring offensive capability to strike back.
Today, the United States has limited capability on its Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships deployed to the 5th Fleet; more inventory of anti cruise and anti ballistic missiles are needed, as well as upgrades to these Aegis BMD Ships. It is critical that the U.S. Navy is given all it requires to sustain stability in this highly volatile region to ensure freedom of international waters, the safety of all our troops stationed in the Persian Gulf, and to prevent escalation in regions like this and Korea into a major war.
It is important to note, as allies in the Middle East are sharing the missile defense financial burden, that last week the Department of Defense awarded the sale of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system with AN/TPY -2 Radars and 96 missiles to the United Arab Emirates.
Funding and support for missile defense by putting more capability into our war fighters’ and allies’ hands must continue and be increased in 2013, as the price for peace far outweighs the cost of war.