Overall, the 110th Congress, controlled by Democrats, provided more than $20 billion for missile defense programs.  The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 authorizes the full administration request of $9.3 billion for missile defense programs.

The Number of Interceptors in Alaska and California is Enough to Protect Us:

  • H.R. 2647 provides over $1 billion for research, development, testing, deployment and sustainment of long-range Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptors based in Alaska and California.
  • In the near term, North Korea could only launch, at most, one or two long-range ballistic missiles at the United States at any one time, and Iran has not yet tested a missile capable of reaching the United States.  These threats are unlikely to change dramatically in the next five years.
  • The 30 GMD interceptors deployed under the President’s plan are more than enough to counter this threat.
  • North Korea’s recent actions add to the urgency of ensuring the effectiveness of the GMD system, but they do not change the fundamental calculation of the number of interceptors that are needed to meet military requirements. 
  • There is no validated military requirement from our commanders to support the 44 interceptors proposed by the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress.
  • H.R. 2647 supports the administration’s plan for 30 operationally-effective GMD interceptors to counter emerging threats from rogue nations. 

Military Commanders Actually Vetted These Missile Defense Priorities:

  • The requirements for the missile defense recommendations made by Secretary Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs have been thoroughly vetted by our military commanders. 
  • General O’Reilly, the Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), testified before the Subcommittee that the budget request this year was the first since the establishment of MDA, in 2002, in which key DOD stakeholders such as the combatant commanders played the primary role in developing the requirements for the missile defense budget.
  • Looking back to 2002, General O’Reilly also testified that MDA’s projections of the threat from long-range ballistic missiles from rogue nations was off “by a factor of 10 to 20.” 
  • These projections were made without review by military commanders, and MDA’s initial decision to deploy 40 (and then later 44) GMD interceptors was never validated by DOD’s requirements process. 
  • Setting the goal of 30 thoroughly-tested, operational GMD interceptors is an appropriate approach to defend against these emerging threats.
  • H.R. 2647 also fully funds continued development of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor. This will provide the Aegis BMD system the capability to counter long-range ballistic missiles like the North Korean Taepo Dong II.

Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Must be Made Operationally Effective:

  • The 26 currently-deployed GMD interceptors provide a basic capability, but these systems continue to experience a number of technical challenges that impair operational effectiveness. 
  • Earlier this year, the Department of Defense was forced to remove several GMD interceptors from their silos for unscheduled maintenance because unanticipated problems were discovered. 
  • Given the real threats we face, our priority must be to ensure that the GMD system will work in an operationally effective manner. 
  • H.R. 2647 authorizes over $1 billion to test, sustain and improve the existing GMD system, including a provision that requires the Department to develop a long-term sustainment and modernization program. 
  • H.R. 2647 ensures that we have a missile defense system that actually works.

Combatant Commanders Need Increased Theater Missile Defense Capabilities:

  • The most significant ballistic missile threat to U.S. interests, deployed forces, and friends and allies comes from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
  • The U.S. Intelligence Community estimates that the total number of ballistic missiles other than those held by the United States, NATO nations, Russia, and China is over 5,900.  Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles represent 99% of that total.
  • Over the past several years, combatant commanders have called for increasing our theater missile defense capabilities to counter this threat. 
  • Theater missile defense was not a priority of the previous Administration.  Last year, Democrats refused to allow the Bush Administration delay the deployment of several THAAD fire units, a top priority of our commanders for theater missile defense.  Republicans were silent on this issue.
  • H.R. 2647 supports the President’s request to increase funding for the deployment of proven missile defense systems like Aegis BMD and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) by $900 million over the FY09 funded level. 
  • Further, under the President’s current plan, our theater missile defense capabilities will continue to grow beyond FY10. 
  • Over the next five years, Aegis Standard Missile-3 interceptor inventory will grow from 133 to 329 missiles, and THAAD interceptor inventory will grow from 96 interceptors to 287.

Decision to Cancel Troubled Missile Defense Programs is Well Grounded:

  • H.R. 2647 supports the President’s decision to cancel three troubled missile defense programs – the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, the Multiple Kill Vehicle, and the second Airborne Laser prototype aircraft. 
  • All three of these programs have faced serious technical, operational, and affordability challenges.  
  • As Secretary of Defense Gates stated in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on May 13, 2009:  “The security of the American people and the efficacy of missile defense are not enhanced by continuing to put money into programs that…in terms of their operational concept are fatally flawed, or research programs that are essentially sinkholes for taxpayer dollars.” 

European Missile Defense Must Respond to Real Threat:

  • The Administration is currently reviewing the decision to expand the GMD system to Europe.
  • The proposed GMD Site in Poland would provide no protection against Iran’s existing inventory of short-and medium-range ballistic missile that currently threaten our NATO allies in Southern Europe.
  • Any future missile defense system deployed in Europe must be part of a comprehensive approach that addresses the most likely threats on a prioritized basis.

The United States is Not Undercutting its NATO Allies:

  • NATO did not request that the United States deploy long-range missile defense interceptors in Europe.
  • This was a U.S. proposal pushed for and advocated by the Bush Administration.
  • While NATO has acknowledged the potential contribution of the proposed European Site, it is not a fully endorsed NATO program, and NATO has not pledged any financial support for the proposed deployment.
  • The previous administration initially tried to bypass NATO altogether and only sought its support after Congressional Democrats voiced concerns.
  • Congressional Democrats passed legislation last year requiring both the Czech Republic and Poland to ratify the agreement before systems could be deployed.
  • Given that the Czech government recently collapsed, it is unclear if the Czech Republic will ever ratify the agreement.
  • Poland has made clear that its prime objective is improving overall strategic cooperation with the United States, not missile defense. Missile defense is merely a means to reaching a desired end-state.