MEADS provides a cost-effective and efficient alternative to the Patriot missile defense system, which will inevitably require an upgrade in the near future. MEADS’s advantages over the aging Patriot system include a greater flexibility, a 360-degree fire control system, and surveillance radars. In addition to improving upon the Patriot system’s technology, MEADS protects the United States’ homeland, allies, and forward-deployed troops against a wide range of threats, including the next generation of tactical ballistic missiles.
As a lighter, more versatile system, MEADS can be transported with greater ease. In addition, MEADS possesses cutting-edge technology, which reduces operation and sustainment costs.
The article bases its argument on the grounds that MEADS “has been riddled with delays and cost overruns.” Over the course of the past few years, Congress and the Obama Administration have defunded this project.
As for the financial burdens, MEADS divides the costs between three countries: the U.S., Germany, and Italy. MEADS would encourage other NATO allies to build up their own missile shields or work in cooperation with the U.S. In fact, Poland is currently considering MEADS for its missile defense system. With rising tensions in Eastern Europe, NATO allies are looking for reassurance of American commitment. Continuation of this contract with Germany and Italy would enhance U.S. credibility.
MEADS is a timely, economical, and capable system. It would provide a better defense against combined ballistic and cruise missile attacks. In addition, as Lockheed Martin notes, “MEADS defends up to 8 times the coverage area of other systems but uses far fewer system assets. This allows for a substantial reduction in deployed personnel and equipment, and reduces demand for airlift.”
Given the benefits that MEADS offers as well as the billions of dollars already invested in development, permanent abandonment of MEADS would be strategically and fiscally irresponsible. Mounting threats from rogue states such as North Korea and Iran demand a strategic response.
The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to the continuation of MEADS development. Therefore, Congress and the Administration should reevaluate their defunding of the program.
Rebecca Robison is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.