• COMMENTARY: Obama Administration Hurt Missile Defense – Now We Are Paying the Price

    The Obama Administration implemented a so called “Obama Doctrine” of foreign policy that negatively impacted the security of America in many respects.  One way was to implement some heavy-handed bureaucracy that made it hard to deploy the missile defense tools that are needed today to defend against threats like North Korea and Iran.  They also failed to stress the best technology to protect the homeland from attack.

    Congress and the Trump Administration have an opportunity to follow through on the promise of America first, but they will need to appropriate money for some existing technologies and remove the bureaucratic barriers to success.

    Congress needs to make sure to focus spending money on the technology that works.  Unfortunately, the Obama Administration did not invest wisely. Right now, Americans are worried about a rogue nation like North Korea launching a nuke at the United States and, as a result, there needs to be expedited investment in ground based missile technology to provide protection from this type of attack.

    President Ronald Reagan unveiled the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) as a promise to protect America from intercontinental missiles launched at the United States.  That promise of the 1980s has gone unfulfilled, because of a lack of will over the years and the consistent underfunding of technologies to protect the homeland while pouring money into nation-building exercise in the Middle-East and abroad.

    A report written by Thomas Karako and Ian Williams of the CSIS puts into perspective the state of the missile defense program looking toward 2020.

    They wrote the following:

    Missile defense has been described as an evolving effort, with no final architecture. Each of the past five administrations has characterized a national missile defense program in terms of ongoing, phased, or block development. Since the U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002, both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations have opposed any legally binding restrictions on the numbers, locations, and capabilities of such defenses. Today’s capabilities have now matured from a kind of infancy, to initial defensive capabilities, to a kind of adolescence—but have far to go before they might be described as mature or robust.

    Homeland missile defense today is provided by the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program. GMD and its associated systems span 15 time zones, including interceptors at two locations, seven types of sensors on land, sea, and space, and multiple distributed re control systems. At the end of 2016, some 36 Ground-based Interceptors (GBIs) were deployed to silos at military bases in Alaska and California, providing a limited defense against long-range missiles from North Korea and potentially Iran. An additional eight interceptors will be added by the end of 2017, for a total of 44.

    It is horrifying that our government is so incompetent that they can’t provide this necessary protection for the American homeland from the most devastating threat facing America — a nuclear threat.  The technology that works the best is the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD).  That is the only program capable of defending from the exact threat coming from North Korean strong man Kim Jong Un once a missile is on its way.

    There are other systems like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) that destroys missiles by colliding with the missiles.  This technology was panned by many in the past because of the difficulty in hitting a missile with a projectile the destroys the missile.  After some failed launches, the technology has proven to be a success and has been deployed to protect South Korea from North Korea.  And here is the problem – these are designed to help protect nations like South Korea from short range missiles.  This is important but it is not the most effective technology to protect the homeland of the United States from a North Korean missile launch.

    Another favored technology is the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system (AEGIS) that is designed to combat short and intermediate range missiles.  These technologies are not designed to protect the homeland from intercontinental missiles.  Both these technologies are important, yet it is more important to invest and deploy technologies to protect the homeland from a missile attack if it comes from North Korea or another nation.

    The GMD system can intercept ballistic warheads from multiple directions and, in that respect, makes that system the best defense to a rogue missile launch when the U.S. does not know which nation is planning a launch.  With the recent saber rattling coming from North Korean strong man Kim Jong Un, Congress should be preparing and passing a supplemental appropriations bill for defense that includes a large chunk of money for the GMD systems.  The Obama Administration did not recognize this threat and they underfunded these systems.  Without a fast change in policy, the Trump Administration is destined to fall into the same trap as President Obama with an underfunded missile defense program.  The results could be catastrophic and devastating for the future of mankind.

    Congress should stop worrying so much about the scandals engulfing the Trump Administration and the push to reform taxes, because those issues will be moot if the U.S. is attacked with no means to stop a missile or a number of missiles from hitting the homeland.  A common sense solution to this problem is for the Congress to look at the Trump budget and find cash to fully fund a GMD system that will implement an America First foreign policy.

    Cloakroom Confidential

    Cloakroom Confidential was a longtime Capitol Hill staffer and insider who has contacts in the House and Senate at the highest levels.

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