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Public Statements

Op-Ed: The Need For Missile Defense

Op-Ed

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

It is an unfortunate reality: the world is a dangerous place. There are terrorist organizations and even entire countries which are enemies of freedom. It is our responsibility to provide an appropriate and timely defense against those who threaten our security, especially those who would use ballistic missile technology against America or our allies.

Unfortunately, it seems as if our country's policy is moving in the opposite direction.

President Obama's administration recently announced it is terminating the European missile defense system - 10 interceptors planned for deployment in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic.

Instead, the Administration is shifting emphasis to focus on regional defenses, arguing the real threat is short- and medium-ranged missiles.

This unilateral decision undermines our allies, especially in Europe, who have provided steadfast support to our country's efforts against terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

In advance of direct talks with Iran - which has publicly tested long-range missiles - many feel this is the wrong message to be sending.

The Iranian government's continued development of missile technology presents a very real, credible threat to America and our allies. Iran's expanding missile program and its past history must be taken seriously. Iranian behavior in the past year clearly demonstrates its intent and capability to develop long-range missiles.

Europe has no capacity to defend itself against long-range missile attacks, while America has limited defenses against long-range attacks.

The European deployment is the only system which can protect both the U.S. and Europe against the common threat of Iran once it is armed with nuclear weapons and the desire and capability to deliver them.

The ground-based midcourse defense interceptors in Poland and the radar site in the Czech Republic were, in fact, cost-effective and proven technologies offering protection from a long-range missile attack to both Europe and the U.S.

By taking one of our most important defenses off the table, the Administration has done little more than empower enemies at the expense of our allies.

In the last three years, our missile defense budget has been slashed by $1.2 billion, undermining our commitment to our allies and weakening our national security.

The threat to the U.S. from ballistic missiles is increasing, and Congress must take appropriate actions to safeguard our country.

Congress has an important role to play in the coming months. Republican leadership has called for comprehensive hearings on the decision to eliminate the U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and the so-called "downgrading" of the Iranian threat.

As we move forward, I will continue to push for funding missile defense capabilities which will protect both Europe and the United States.

I am a supporter of legislation directing the Secretary of Defense to deploy ground-based interceptors as part of a missile defense system for the United States. Additionally, this legislation would restore funding by authorizing $500 million for the Missile Defense Agency.

Our nation and our allies need missile defense as a way to prevent attacks. Countries such as North Korea and Iran are improving their ballistic missile technologies and could pose a threat to our country's national security, to say nothing of the stability of the Middle East or Asia.

In the end, these are defensive weapons we hope never to use. However, even as we strive for peace, America and our allies must be prepared against all potential threats.


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