Barack ObamaMissile Defense

The Partisan Divide on Missile Defense – What is Obama Cutting?

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michael ramirez april 2 2009

Political Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

There is a good piece about the Obama Administration’s attempt to cut defense costs by reducing the Missile Defense Agency in Congressional Quarterly.

So, what is Obama cutting?

Obama’s budget plan would reduce the planned number of deployed ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska
and California from 44 to 30, keeping the remainder as backups ortesting devices.

Many GOP lawmakers are angered at the move.

“This is the one system that protects the homeland from ICBMs that’s completely on our land, our territory, that’s under our control without having to ask permission to place it in a foreign nation,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions , R-Ala.

The president’s budget also would kill two problem-plagued futuristic technology programs: the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI), which was meant to hit missiles in their earliest stage, and the Multiple Kill Vehicle program, which was conceived to hit multiple incoming warheads at once.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby , R-Ala., wrote to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on May 13 calling on them not to halt the KEI project just yet. “Stopping work on the program now is irresponsible,” he wrote.

The new MDA complex is in Huntsville, Ala., as is the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command. Boeing, a major MDA contractor, also is moving its missile defense headquarters to Huntsville.

The budget would cancel plans for a second prototype airplane for the Airborne Laser program, which envisions shooting down missiles with lasers from 747airplanes. House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Norm Dicks , D-Wash., is a staunch defender of the program. The planes would be built by Boeing Co. in his state.

No funding is suggested in the budget request to build two planned missile defense sites in Europe, following Obama’s promise not to move forward until more testing is completed and agreements with the host nations
Poland and the Czech Republic are signed.

Republicans say stalling work on the European sites risks damaging diplomatic outreach to the two countries.

“It leaves the Poles and Czechs and all of those who have been courageous in this effort fundamentally and objectively betrayed,” said Rep. Trent Franks , R-Ariz.

In the meantime, Iran and North Korea develop and test new missiles which can carry nuclear warheads.

And, the Obama Administration proposes saving money in its budget by cutting vital missile defense programs, including the deployment of missiles to protect the United States from an actual attack – making America less safe.

The wrong move and it will be up to Congress to correct Obama’s misplaced priorities.

Previous:

Poll Watch: Strong Support for Missile Defense by Americans Across the Political Spectrum

Obama Dodges And Plays Word Games With America’s National Missile Defense

Folly of the Day: Obama Cuts Missile Defense

The Missile Defense Archive


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