Fundamental Message Points of Missile Defense

October 20, 2004

Dear Members and Friends,

Missile defense, due to its history, complexity and the multitude of players involved, has been challenged when it comes to communicating this issue to the American public. There is no more important time than now to understand the fundamental messages of missile defense.


– The United States Homeland has no protection against a terrorist or rogue state ballistic missile attack.
– Following through and deploying an active missile defense system responds directly to the needs of the American public.
– Eight statewide polls (Arizona, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio)
– Last poll conducted in Ohio (October 4) was wholly consistent with seven earlier polls. The Ohio public supports missile defense (87%), wants it deployed now (83%) and believes it is money well spent (79%).

The polls also revealed that the American public recognizes the shortcomings of the initial system now being deployed but strongly believes that this beginning is better than no protection at all.

-The system now being deployed in Alaska, California and Colorado serves as both an initial defense capability and a test bed for refinement of the system.
– This duality is now a core feature of the emplaced system.
– The test bed feature provides a critical capability to improve the system over time.
– Each of the systems now in development takes advantage of the 20 plus years of rigorous R&D by leading U.S. scientists, technologists and engineers.
– Over time, concepts that were unworkable have been discarded; those with the most promise have been pursued, tested, and evaluated. The systems that remain are those that have proven to be the most effective.
– The programs under development are affordable. The funding not only provides for building a system to protect the US homeland but also provides for mobile systems that will used to protect deployed troops friends and allies against regional ballistic threats. The cost is less then 3% of the overall defense budget. That figure has been true for more than 20 years and current DoD planning calls for no more than 3% of its budget to be allocated to missile defense in the years to come.
– President Bush and Senator Kerry have both publicly acknowledged that the greatest threat to US national security in the years ahead is the potential consequences of nuclear proliferation. The US missile defense systems are focused specifically on this threat.
– Missile defense systems now under development and deployment can harm no one.
– There is considerable international interest and participation in missile defense. Fifteen nations are involved in the effort at the moment, ranging from discussions on participation to the purchase of systems.
– The nation’s missile defense programs are a national effort employing approximately 50,000 skilled men and women in over 30 states. Every dollar allocated to missile defense is spent within the United States. There is virtually no outsourcing.

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