Current events always put policy issues in clear and distinct context, and the recent actions of North Korea and the political instability of the Iranian government make a more compelling argument than ever for strong missile defense programs.
But as North Korea continues to test nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could serve as serious threats to the U.S. and our allies, the Obama administration is standing by its recommendations to cut back on our missile defense programs.
The president’s budget recommends cuts of $1.2 billion from missile defense programs, including ending an expansion of the ground-based interceptors in Alaska and terminating the Multiple Kill Vehicles and Kinetic Energy Interceptor.
The recent military actions and tests by North Korea have clearly indicated they had no intention of ending their nuclear weapons program as they promised, and they continue to defy and violate previous international agreements.
To address growing threats like North Korea and the challenging current regime in Iran, the first bill I ever introduced as a member of Congress was the Realistic Tests for Realistic Threats National Security Act of 1999. This bill mandated realistic tests to match the capabilities of the missiles that threaten us, such as the long-range missiles in North Korea’s arsenal.
As a U.S. Senator, I introduced the Defense Against Regional Threats Act to provide for missile defense systems capable of defending our allies and forward-deployed troops against a ballistic missile attack from rogue states like North Korea. I also introduced legislation to increase testing and acquisition of near-term missile defense programs.
As the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces that has jurisdiction over missile defense and nuclear deterrence, I will continue working with other outspoken advocates for a strong missile defense system like Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Jon Kyl to push for measures to support our missile defense system and strengthen our national security.