Deal or No Deal

December 23, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

As Iran continues to defy cooperation with the international community and progressively build its missile capabilities, a greater sense of urgency must be taken by our government and the Department of Defense to deny Iran’s current and future ability to threaten our nation, troops and our allies. Without an effective United States deployed and layered missile defensive capability in the Middle East, the reality of an armed conflict that could escalate into a tactical nuclear war is a serious possibility, which must be averted at all costs. The very fragile and sensitive relations of countries in the region including Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf States and Israel towards Iran are dependent on the United States extended military deterrent to thwart Iranian aggression and power. This deterrent is not viable with just offensive military force and projection, a balance and mixture of real missile defense capability changes the calculus exponentially of Iran and thus enhances dramatically our deterrent to Iran from projecting power and would in addition deescalate a nuclear arms race in the region when Iran becomes a new nuclear power.

Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates is “clearly concerned” over Iran’s test of a medium-range missile, his press secretary said last week “The secretary has seen the intelligence on that latest launch” and “he’s clearly concerned,” Geoff Morrell told reporters. “This is just the latest in a series of provocative actions by Iran, all seemingly oblivious to the scrutiny of the international community or perhaps more likely in spite of it”.

President Obama’s missile defense plan is primarily focused on a four phase timeline approach starting in 2013 and ending in 2020 to protect Europe and US deployed forces needs to adequately address the Middle East Region first as well as increase the urgency to ensure that timelines are met to protect Europe and a significant hedge to deploy missile defenses quicker if required. The Middle East region has not been directly addressed by the President’s Plan and would require at least 2 or more forward-based sensors, as well as a complete deployment of a fully layered missile defense of the current systems to be able to handle loft, minimum energy and depressed trajectories of incoming missiles towards the Middle East and Europe.

There are serious challenges both politically and technically that have to be overcome. The foremost being placement of forward based sensors whether air, land, space or air around the periphery of Iran and the full integration of their information into the overall missile defense system to enable both engage and intercept by using remote forward-based sensors. If the system cannot see, detect, track and confirm a missile intercept, it doesn’t matter how many defensive interceptors you have, they are simply ineffective without sensors. Without this integrated sensor capability, the system cannot provide adequate coverage nor can it handle volume of missiles of which the President’s plan is directed to do.

To date the country of Turkey which is the ideal location for forward based sensors, is rebuking any form of missile defense on their soil as reported last week by the local Milliyet, “Both Russia and Iran will perceive that [deployment] as a threat …”such technology will turn Turkey into a legitimate target for Iran’s medium and shorter range missiles.” Turkey opposes the location of US missile defense in its territory. A second resort, to place US Ships deployed in the Black Sea, is restricted by international treaty. Deployment of sensors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, or Balkan States such as Greece, Romania or Bulgaria will likely result in similar feelings as Turkey, and if deployed in the Balkans, would further reduce valuable time needed to track the missile effectively and reduces the missile coverage of Iran because of the further distance. If deployed only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or UAE, there would be inadequate coverage of Iranian threats to Europe, as well as possible sharing of the information. Additionally, a mutual agreement with Russia on the use of its sensors near Iran, seems nearly impossible to obtain and would not provide the full coverage necessary to protect all of Europe and the Middle East.

There needs to be a much greater sense of urgency within our government to adequately deploy these current and new systems as well as provide a test bed in Hawaii to prove out the system that looks to be the cornerstone of the President’s missile defense plan to protect Europe. The test bed in Hawaii is currently being held for four to six months or more as military requirements have not been set even though funds have been set aside for the test bed.

We like the Secretary of Defense are clearly concerned, and want urgency by our Congress and President to address the threat from Iran before it’s too late, as there is no deal to be sought with Iran.

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