At Risk

September 18, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made a historic announcement yesterday to rescind on previous agreements with the governments of the Czech Republic and Poland to host a missile defense system that would protect the United States and parts of Europe. This decision places the Eastern and Southeastern portions of the U.S. at risk from long-range ballistic missile threats by not protecting those regions as equally as the rest of the country is now currently protected with long-range missile defenses. No realistic solution or alternative was introduced by the President and the Secretary of Defense to replace the long-range protection to our country’s Eastern and Southeastern regions provided by those international agreements that are now voided.

The “new missile defense architecture” proposed by the President and the Secretary of Defense relies on the current and future development of sea- and land-based Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) coupled with the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Patriot point defense system to defend our forward based troops as well as friends and allies in Europe and throughout the world. We support the President’s “new missile defense architecture” for its mobility, adaptability, integration, volume, and cost sharing with our allies for protection of U.S. deployed forces and our allies from the growing present threat of short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

However, from a military perspective this “new missile defense architecture” cannot defend the U.S. Homeland from a long-range ballistic missiles; it also cannot defend the two primary missile defense and early warning radars in Fylingdales, England and Thule, Greenland from long-range ballistic missiles. Today, the only system that has proven results to intercept long-range ballistic missiles is the currently deployed Ground Based Interceptors (GBI).

The SM-3 is specifically designed, developed and tested to intercept short- to medium-range missiles not the much faster and higher altitude long-range ballistic missiles. These SM-3 missiles technically cannot intercept long-range missiles in a real world live engagement and there is no validation or proof of concept that indicates otherwise.

Secretary Gates has requested the Congress to deploy 30 GBIs in Alaska and California to provide the U.S. Homeland protection from North Korea and Iran. Because of the extreme distance from Alaska, where all but 3 of the GBIs are deployed, and the distances from California to the Eastern Seaboard and the Southeastern U.S., particularly Florida, “high confidence” and equal protection cannot be attained without the deployment of an additional missile defense site closer to Iran then the current two sites are. The United States has invested tens of billions of dollars over the last seven years to provide an operational long-range missile defense system that provides “high confidence” from current U.S. Combat Commanders as it allows multiple shots from missile defense sites located in Alaska and California to intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles. This deployed system is fully operational and has defended our homeland from North Korea earlier this year.

The White House has declared that they expect the new missile defense architecture to be fully operational in 2020. Can those who live in the Eastern and Southeastern parts of our country wait 11 years when they know that they have already paid for a currently deployed system that is fully protecting “with high confidence” all the other parts of our country?

We need a solution and a realistic proven alternative whether that be in Fort Drum, New York, Grand Forks, North Dakota, or someplace else that can provide long-range ballistic protection of the Eastern and Southeastern regions of our country so that our homeland is equally protected.

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