Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee today commented on the decision to place fourteen new missile defense interceptors in Alaska. Four years ago, the Administration determined that the missile threat from countries like North Korea had changed and, parting with established policy, decided to eliminate missiles from the proposed inventory and 'mothball' the missile field built to house them. At the time, House Republicans disputed the change in the threat and pressed the Administration not to alter the missile defense strategy or close down vital infrastructure. In testimony before the House, General O'Reilly, then head of the Missile Defense Agency, testified that reactivating "mothballed" silos would cost the taxpayer $200 million.
Reacting to the White House decision, Chairman McKeon said:
"While I am pleased that the Administration is taking this step, given the growth of the ICBM threat, I am disappointed that this is an announcement that has to be made at all. The original decision to divest ourselves of these interceptors was a classic case of looking at threats through politically tinted glasses. Now that the Administration has decided to see clearly, America can get back on the right course; but at a high and unnecessary cost. Hundreds of millions will need to be spent to bring our infrastructure back on line at a time when defense resources are already scarce and our ability to defend against ICBM attack has been needlessly delayed. And, yet again, we have changed paths on our allies, who have backed our policies at great political and military risk. As the administration continues to set their missile defense policy they should be mindful of the high cost of placing political expediency above national security."