Protecting America From North Korean Missiles
(Shared from my editorial in American Thinker–RB)
On March 23, 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced his “Star Wars” initiative (the realname was the Strategic Defense Initiative). The goal was to defend the U.S. from a first-strike attack. Fast forward to 2017, and the U.S. still remains way behind in deploying technology to protect us from nuclear missile attacks.
North Korea has threatened to launch a nuclear weapon at the United States. Fox News reported on May 24, 2017 that “if left unchecked — it is ‘inevitable’ that North Korea will develop a nuclear device that has intercontinental capabilities.” Only a ground-based defense system can protect America from this type of attack on our homeland.
Last week, the Trump administration rolled out a budget that increases funding for defense programs to implement a national missile-defense strategy. Defense One reported on May 23, 2017, that “Donald Trump’s first defense-budget request contains large increases for weapons intended to shoot down North Korean missiles or even attack them on their launchers.” Congress will make the decisions on what recommendations they take or reject from the Trump administration’s budget, and it is important that they use the money effectively and efficiently to defend the continenetal United States.
Now is the perfect time for Congress to create a solid foreign policy strategy to protect America from missile attacks and right the wrongs of the Obama administration, which obstructed the development of new technology through slow-walking the process. As a result, bureaucrats in Obama’s Pentagon were slow and inefficient in getting ground-based defenses deployed. President Trump can fix the bureaucracy problem by allowing contractors to do their job without bureaucrats slowing up the process and creating an atmosphere that leads to technology never being effectively deployed.
In truth, there is only one defense technology made in America that can protect the United States from a North Korean nuclear missile or a missile from another rogue nation. According to a recent study produced by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), one superior technology is the GMD (Ground-based Midcourse Defense), produced by Boeing. There are other innovations that are more suited to be placed overseas to protect against attacks on foreign lands like the THAAD and AEGIS systems, but to protect the homeland, the ground-based systems are designed to protect American cities from attack in a safe manner. Some non-ground based systems grab headlines, but the GMD technology is the system that is designed protect the United States from attack in the most effective and efficient manner.
Ground-based technologies are superior because they can intercept ballistic warheads approaching the U.S. from any direction. Given the threat that Kim Jong Un has made public, it would make sense for Washington to focus on funding the ground-based program. The United States faces emerging threats from Iran if the nuclear deal is violated. Additionally, a non-state actor like ISIS could try to launch an attack from abroad at the United States. Don’t forget that China and Russia have the capacity to launch an attack via ballistic missiles as well.
To really protect America, our nation needs to invest in technologies that could save the lives of millions of Americans. Right now, we are largely defenseless if North Korea or another bad actor decides to launch an attack on us.
Think about this hypothetical: North Korea engages in a surprise launch of missiles and they get past some of the early defense systems that destroy missiles in their launchers or destroy them when they are in the process of accelerating into the atmosphere. One of the only Pentagon programs that could stop an intercontinental ballistic missile warhead once it is launched and flying is the GMD system. No other current missile program is as capable of that level of defense.
Another benefit of this GMD technology is that it is the only one of its type in the world that can strike enemy missiles in the outer atmosphere, preventing any health effects of a nuclear weapon from reaching the U.S. This is important because if you use a system that detonates a nuclear warhead in the atmosphere of the planet, the health and welfare of the same people you are trying to protect may be in danger.
The time is now to invest in ground-based missile defenses to defend our country from foreign aggressors who have publicly vowed to destroy us. Congress can use the Trump budget submission to help fix the problem while fixing the bureaucracy problem at the Pentagon.