Diary

Don’t Cancel Critical Upgrades to Our Nuclear Missile Defense

Public domain image via Department of Defense https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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General Douglas MacArthur got it right: “The history of the failure of war can almost be summed up in two words: too late. Too late in comprehending the deadly purposes of a potential enemy. Too late in realizing the mortal danger. Too late in preparedness. Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance. Too late in standing with one’s friends.”

When it comes to creating better defenses against America’s nuclear-armed enemies and rogue states, we failed for decades to properly heed MacArthur’s warning, and only now, under President Trump, are we playing catchup. At least until upgrades to our only defense from nuclear missiles got cancelled by the Pentagon.

That’s right, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program is America’s only defense against an intercontinental missile attack, and the Pentagon just cancelled the program that would have made it more effective for the 2020s with the “Redesigned Kill Vehicle” upgrade.

While that program has run into problems, the wise solution is not to scrap it and go back to the drawing board, which would add many years to the deployment of an improved missile defense system, but to solve the problems and deploy it.

Here’s why we can’t wait. North Korea and Iran are America’s greatest potential threats for an actual nuclear attack within this decade, and both countries have openly discussed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks on the U.S. In 2015, Dr. Peter Pry, the former chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commission, and one of America’s top experts on EMP threats, wrote in Arutz Sheva that the “Iranian military documents describe such a scenario — including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States.”

Iran routinely re-declares war on the United States and Israel, with official statements of “death to America” and “Israel” and other expressed threats. We would be wise to take their threats seriously.

On Sept. 3, 2017, the North Korean state news agency, KCNA, following a test of what may have been a small hydrogen bomb, threatened that “the H-bomb, the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens of kilotons to hundreds of kilotons, is a multifunctional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack according to strategic goals.”

North Korea has tested ICBMs capable of a nuclear or EMP attack on the United States. In fact, in both 2012 and 2016, they successfully launched their Unha-3 ICBM into orbit, and in their 2016 launch, which passed over Virginia about 250 miles west of Washington, DC just 73 minutes after launch.

There’s also evidence that Iran and North Korea run essentially a joint venture or close collaboration to develop and test both nuclear weapons and missiles. A uranium atomic test in North Korea might have used an Iranian design or hardware.

These threats cannot be wished away as the past several presidents have done. With each kick of the nuclear can to successive presidents, the rogue nations as well as China and Russia develop better weapons of mass destruction and become more unstable and dangerous.

Therefore, America must improve our missile defense as rapidly as possible.

Members of Congress are standing by the continued development of the RKV, including a statement by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), who said on August 22, 2019, “I am deeply concerned about the announcement to cancel the Redesigned Kill Vehicle program. Given the continued evolution of advanced adversaries’ missile capabilities and still uncertain and unpredictable nature of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, we cannot afford to wait possibly a decade for a new and still conceptual kill vehicle.”

Congressmen Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Mo Brooks (R-AL), and Mike Rogers (R-AL) also backed the upgrade in a joint press release on January 17, 2019 – “Missile defense is vital to securing our homeland, our forces abroad and our allies, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This Missile Defense Review lays out smart and strategic policies that will guide our missile defenses and posture to counter our adversaries through an increased focus on advanced technology.”

In 2017, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned, “it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That’s unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

America must continue modernizing our anti-ICBM defenses by restarting and perfecting the GMB program’s Redesigned Kill Vehicle, rather than risking the future effectiveness of our only ICBM defense system by starting again from scratch.

The Pentagon, Congress and the White House should all review the cancellation, and return it to development and production.

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Read More Red State Articles by Art Harman

Art Harman is the President of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration, a space advocacy organization supporting the return to the moon by 2024. He was the Legislative Director and foreign policy advisor for Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress, and is a veteran policy analyst and grass-roots political expert. His expertise includes foreign relations, border security/amnesty, national security, transportation, foreign broadcasting and NASA/space policy.

He has travelled the world and been behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet era, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, was arrested by the KGB, and stood in the footprints of those who sacrificed everything for freedom at Tiananmen Square.

Mr. Harman developed the strategy to kill the 2013 Senate “gang of eight” amnesty bill as violating the Constitution’s Origination Clause–and was dubbed “The Bill Killer” by Roll Call for his work. He provided policy advice to the Trump campaign, transition and the White House. He wrote what became the ‘bible’ for post-Brexit trade relations which was introduced in 2016 by Sen. Mike Lee as S. 3123, the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act, and he advised the Trump administration to return Americans to the Moon by 2024–now official policy. Harman is a frequent guest expert on radio shows on key policy issues, an award-winning filmmaker, and an award-winning fine-arts photographer.