On April 6, 2009, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin stressed the importance of a solid missile defense following North Korea’s launch of a test missile (Missile Defense, 2009, ¶1).
She expressed her concern that the communist state’s nuclear missiles could affect Alaska, which is strategically located (Missile Defense, 2009, ¶2).
“The [G]overnor is firmly against U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ proposed $1.4 billion reduction of the Missile Defense Agency. Greely’s isolated location in Alaska as well as its strategic location in the Pacific allows for maximum security and development of the country’s only ground-based missile defense complex” (Missile Defense, 2009, ¶3).
She continued, “Our early opposition to reduced funding for the Missile Defense Agency is proving to be well-founded during this turbulent time,” Governor Palin said. “I continue to support the development and implementation of a defensive missile shield based in Alaska. We are strategically placed to defend the critical assets of the United States and our allies in the Pacific Theater” (Missile Defense, 2009, ¶4).
One of the capital projects Governor Palin requested stimulus money for is the Kodiak Launch Complex, “a commercial rocket launch facility for sub-orbital and orbital space launch vehicles owned and operated by the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, a public corporation of the State of Alaska” (Missile Defense, 2009, ¶5).
It does not take more than a cursory glance at a globe or even a well-done Mercator projection to grasp Alaska’s strategic location. It borders Russia and Canada and is not too far away from both North and South Korea and Japan. Once you leave the Aleutian Islands, you’re basically in the Pacific Rim. Previous blogs have discussed the $3.6 billion in annual trade that flows through the state and the Governor’s diplomatic experience pertaining thereto.
Many people seem to forget that we are still technically at war with North Korea. No armistice, and no peace agreement was ever signed. So, we remain technically at war with a dangerous rogue state with known nuclear missile capabilities. Its missile tests are meant as a provocation to South Korea and Japan — and the United States, via Alaska.
As a shared Strategic Commander of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion (which exists to defend against ICBMs), and as Commander of the Alaska State Defense Force, Governor Palin has every reason to be concerned about the threat posed by her state’s not-so-distant neighbor — a concern shared by our former President and Commander in Chief.
The Governor’s statement above reflects command and foreign policy experience which is to be respected. Many of her colleagues govern land-locked states which offer very little – if any — opportunities for involvement in international matters.
Governor Palin stresses need for strong missile defense capability. (2009, April 6). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 6, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1739