Now that the President has abandoned the third missile defense site which was slated to be built in Poland, the question remains: what will be done with the money which was allocated in the FY 2009 defense budget for the system? Surely the funds should be used to boost the Ground-based interceptors which are already under-funded.
To be voted on as early as today, the bi-partisan Lieberman-Sessions amendment moves to allocate between $50 million and $151 million to be used for research, development and testing of the 2-stage ground based interceptor (GBI). This interceptor is needed to comply with the Administration’s intent to continue the development of the SM-3 Block IIA and IIB missile, which are the ones intended to replace the GBI in Europe. This amendment has come not a moment too soon.
The Iranians are making substantial progress in their own nuclear program. On May 20, Iran successfully test-fired the Sajjil 2 solid-fuel missile, which has a 1,200-1,500 mile range, putting Israel within Tehran’s reach. Israel’s Space Research Center also reports that Iran intends to accelerate its production of even longer-range ballistic missiles in the near future. And in April, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated that Iran could develop a missile capable of reaching the U.S. as early as 2015.
The Lieberman-Sessions Amendment shows that defending Americans isn’t a partisan issue- just an important one.
Even though it is obvious that the Administration is looking toward a nuclear free world, they have to admit that we aren’t there yet.