What About Tomorrow?

May 26, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb for the second time with complete disregard to international law, UN Security Council resolutions, and the diplomatic pressure from the United States of America, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan. This marks a repeated and consistent failure of United States diplomacy over three administrations to prevent North Korea from becoming a rogue nation with nuclear weapons. North Korea’s clear defiance of the international community against the United States sets a precedent and as such empowers countries such as Iran to move aggressively forward to attain nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s ballistic missile capability, of which two more missiles were fired yesterday by North Korea, is of very serious concern both in numbers and capability. The three-stage long-range ballistic missile test on April 5th of this year by North Korea demonstrated multi-staging and heavy payload capability over long distances. This test, which failed at the separation of the payload from the last stage, was technologically close to being able to deliver a payload to the middle of the United States. It is of note that, over fifty years ago, it took the USSR six months to put a nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile.

Of urgency, there has to be more legitimate and credible actions that the President of the United States must take as first priority to ensure the population of the United States is protected from a nuclear weapon from North Korea. Article Four of the Constitution requires it and the public demands it. Secondly, the President has to bring forward assurance that the United States can extend its military capabilities both offensively and defensively to deter North Korea from using its nuclear weapons against other countries in the region, specifically Japan and South Korea. Deterrence and dissuasion must go beyond mere diplomacy, UN Security Council resolutions, and sanctions. It must include missile defense at both the strategic and regional levels. For if not, the President is left with military action, that would result in loss of human life and expansive international nuclear proliferation that will create an unstable world.

It is with disheartenment and prematurity that the Secretary of Defense’s $1.2 billion cut to missile defense was justified in a hearing last week by the United States House of Representatives, Armed Service Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. The Department of Defense’s planned reduction of ground-based interceptors and silos by 32% of what was required 6 months ago specifically lessens the protection of the United States public and homeland from a North Korea ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon, making our nation and people less safe. The current proposal of having 30 silos with 30 missiles does not take into account a future Iranian long-range nuclear missile threat to the United States as it focuses on a future estimates of less than 10 North Korean long-range missiles. This logic leaves little error of both estimating future hidden North Korean launch complexes as well as missiles and the reliability of the missile defense system. The national missile defense system to defend our country from North Korea was put in place in 2004 with projected needed silos at 44 and an additional 10 silos in Europe for both the Iranian and North Korean threat. The long-range ballistic missile threat has not decreased since 2004 and certainly not over the past six months.

Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly the Director of the Missile Defense Agency was asked in testimony last Thursday by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), “Do you believe that the threat from long range missiles has increased or decreased in the last 6 months as it relates to the homeland here?”

Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly: “Sir, I believe it has increased significantly. And I base that assumption on the intelligence information – I’m a customer I don’t develop intelligence but I use it – the demonstration of the capability of the Iranian ability to put a sat in orbit, albeit small, shows that they are progressing in that technology. Additionally, the Iranians yesterday demonstrated a solid rocket motor test which is much more feasible to deploy and sustain in the field and that is disconcerting. Third, the North Koreans demonstrated even though their attempt to put a satellite in orbit failed, they had a first and second stage that performed fairly well, which again shows that they are improving in their capacity and we are very concerned about that.”

The cost savings of cutting $170 million to finish building silos for a defensive missile field in Fort Greely, Alaska as well as completing the already bought 44 ground-based interceptors to defend the United States that has had billions of dollars invested into it does not make logical sense. Close to 90 percent of the American public want missile defense with 60 percent wanting their homeland protected as the first priority.

The Department of Defense’s budget submission per testimony is premised on two grounds: 1) that missile defense funding should be more directed at 91% of short-range missiles and 7% of medium-range missiles rather than on the 2% of long-range missiles deployed in rouge nations around the world today and 2) that since the past six months a strategic change has taken place to require only 30 ground-based interceptors to be sufficient to defend the American Public and Homeland.

This upcoming Congressional debate on funding missile defenses needs to be both regional and strategic, not either or and not partial of one or the other. Consequences of these decisions could be far greater than imagined to our national security.

It’s just not worth the risk to cut missile defense.

North Korea detonated a nuclear bomb two days ago and they have ballistic missiles and technology.

What about tomorrow?

Resource Library


Curtis Stiles - Chief of Staff