Defying the Critics

April 9, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

On the heels of one of the most momentous few days for the global need of missile defense highlighted by President Barack Obama’s statement of support of missile defense in Prague, and U.S. and international diplomatic failures to prevent the launch by North Korea of a multi-stage missile that flew over Japan, Secretary Robert Gates released his preliminary statements on the budget for missile defense for the FY 2010 budget.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have made a strategic decision to support and field a missile defense capability. This Administration has acknowledged the threat of ballistic missiles from Iran and North Korea in the near-term, and have defied the critics of missile defense by deploying what we have now and the fundamental policy question of whether we should do missile defense or not do missile defense has been answered.

Moreover, missile defense looks to be an embedded core element of the defense of the United States, and will be part of the underlying fabric of American defense capabilities. This Administration has clearly ratified the idea that ballistic missiles are a real threat to the United States, its allies and the armed forces. The preliminary budget shows clear determination to field the near-term capabilities in face of the threat and keep and deploy what we have developed. Those near-term systems include Aegis, THAAD and the long range Ground-Base interceptors. It is a fundamental change from those that say they support missile defense but don’t want to deploy it until it is perfect. Secretary Gates added an additional $900 million in new money for some of the current deployed systems.

The programmatic decision making will be heavily debated, with the hold on 33 long-range interceptors in Alaska being the most contentious, as a $1.4 billion cut to MDA was announced and what programs will work in the future and the research and developments efforts needed for a robust, layered, missile defense system. One would hope, after the events that happened this week, that every possible part of missile defense be fully funded and restored but in an era of limited resources, outstanding national debt, and other important needs in other fields that will be a challenging task to accomplish. MDAA is up for the challenge and will be on the forefront.

What we have seen by the Obama Administration is a commitment to further the vision first put forward 26 years ago and carried forward by every President using the engineering and technical talent and expertise of the U.S. military and U.S. industry to develop and deploy a robust missile defense system to defend America and her allies.

We commend Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and President Barack Obama for making the strategic decision to embrace missile defense.

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