Reliable Security Information

Wanted: Missile Defense Program to Meet Threats the U.S. Faces

Several weeks ago, North Korea launched a missile that, if successful, would have been capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S. In spite of such dangers and despite promises to maintain a vigorous missile defense program, when one looks at budget proposals and actual outlays, underfunding missile defense has become a clear and unmistakable pattern. In a new paper from the Heritage Foundation, author Baker Spring lays bare the concerning policy of underfunding missile defense programs and describes what should be done to bolster our much needed missile defenses.

Spring points out that the FY 2013 budget request by the President is inadequate at only $9.7 billion. Notably, this amount is below even prior Obama budget requests. It is not difficult to reverse this trend; Spring recommends increasing funding by only $1.3 billion to maintain vital U.S. missile defenses and keep us ahead of our adversaries.

The paper also reveals critical imbalances in our missile defense posture. The administration has pursued regional missile defense programs without putting enough focus homeland missile defense. Additionally, mobile missile defenses including space-based programs, sea-based platforms such as the SM-3, and the airborne laser program are underfunded and could be improved with the addition of $1.3 billion.

With rouge nations such as North Korea and Iran continuing to advance their weapons programs and other adversaries such as China and Russia possessing large missile and nuclear forces, we can afford $11 billion for missile defense.

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