Contact: Josh Holly-202.226.3988
Washington D.C. – Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), senior Republican on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement regarding the recent missile defense conversation between President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin:
“At the recent G-8 meeting, Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, made a counterproposal to America’s plan for missile interceptor sites in Poland. The U.S. plan is intended to meet the threat of the emerging Iranian missile program. Mr. Putin’s initial response was to threaten Europe with Russia’s ‘retargeting’ of their nuclear tipped ICBM’s on European cities. He quickly pivoted to a counterproposal in the G-8 meeting.
“Mr. Putin’s counterproposal of employing sea-based missile defenses for the purpose of intercepting Iranian missiles is promising for several reasons, particularly if deployed in the Black Sea.
“First, the ‘missile attack corridor’ from Iran to targets in Europe and the United States lies directly over the Black Sea.
“Second, the Aegis missile interceptor program has enjoyed marked success, interdicting targets eight out of ten times. The sea borne portion of America’s missile defenses may well turn out to be the best performer. Our warships can effectively picket adversaries’ offensive systems, thus threatening to take down their missiles at an early stage. ‘Early take-down’ solves MIRV’ing and decoy challenges and can only have a demoralizing effect on the attacking nation. Any offensive missiles that make it through the early screen can then be handled by mid-course and terminal systems.
“The Navy’s Aegis ship-based defensive systems could be based in existing Black Sea ports, either in Ukraine, Russia or Turkey.
“The U.S. should accept the Russian-proposed use of the Azeri radar station and the deployment of sea-based missile defenses and accordingly request Black Sea port privileges for the Aegis ships. We should offer to partner with Russia to further enhance our collective defenses by encouraging them to work with us to replicate similar missile defense capabilities planned for Poland and the Czech Republic in Russian locations, to the extent that prudent technology security allows. All interceptor sites could be jointly operated by American and Russian crews to defend against incoming missiles. Such a move has the potential to spark a ‘defensive’ race among nations with missile technology. This result is much preferable to the inevitable policies of ‘Assured Destruction’ that attends nuclear weapons development.”
# # #