The leading Democrat directly responsible for overseeing missile defense matters in the House of Representatives is the Honorable Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. The Chairwomans statements to the Commander of the United States Strategic Command, General James E. Cartwright – who is responsible for the strategic forces of our nation as well as missile defense – clarified her position and where her leadership is taking our House of Representatives.
This hearing is an important opportunity for the subcommittee to consider the posture of our nations strategic force. However, today we face significant choices on the role and size of our strategic forces to meet the evolving threats from nation states and terrorist groups.
General, as you know, I believe that finding ways to prevent the spread and possible use of nuclear technology, material and weapons is at least as important as the future of the nuclear arsenal. And I know you recognize that these two issues are intimately connected.
One of my key priorities as Chairman is to ensure that our nations war fighters receive the capabilities they need to successfully conduct global missile defense operations.
We also have, besides the war fighter, we have our allies and, obviously, our homeland are the most important things for us to protect.
In testimony from questions of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee members, Representatives; Chair Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), John Spratt (D-SC), Terry Everett (R-AL) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), General James E. Cartwright – responded in the following manner:
The breadth and the scale of the activities that have emerged since 2001 are significant, and our ability to stay ahead of those threats into actually affect and deter has been challenged.?
The capabilities like missile defense, the capabilities like working in non-proliferation and counter-proliferation, focus on phases zero and one in the conflict, trying to prevent it. The better you are at that, the less you need in your stockpile of offensive capabilities.?
On the missile defense side, in referring to priorities for fulfilling operational need, we have advocated for continuing to complete defense of the United States, but really to start more focus on deployed forces, allies, and friends, building an integrated, cooperative defensive capability globally.
The good news is we have many allies who want to participate in this capability, who want to understand how to use it. The credibility against an emerging, proliferating threat of ballistic missiles, particularly short and medium ranges, their quick reaction times, are things that threaten nations. To give them the capability both to stand on their two feet and to integrate with us or anyone else to build layered and mutual defense is where we want to end up in this capability, and driving towards that is going to be essential.
We demonstrated that through an extended period of time around the Fourth of July when the North Koreans fired off several missiles. We stayed in an operational configuration for an extended period of time. The system worked well; we learned a lot.
From our perspective and our countrys, we take these remarks above in the setting they were said to represent that the Madam Chairwoman, the Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the General of our Strategic Command are heading in a similar direction towards making our country a safer place and the world a less threatening place.
In her closing question, Madam Chairwoman Tauscher asked General Cartwright:
And what are we doing to once again to make sure that people understand that this is a defensive weapon system?