Responding to North Korea's missile test, Gov. Sarah Palin reaffirmed Alaska’s commitment to protecting America from rogue nation missile attacks, according to a statement her office released Monday.
“I am deeply concerned with North Korea’s development and testing program which has clear potential of impacting Alaska, a sovereign state of the United States, with a potentially nuclear armed warhead,” Palin said.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we continue to develop and perfect the global missile defense network. Alaska’s strategic location and the system in place here have proven invaluable in defending the nation.”
Palin stressed the importance of Fort Greely and the need for continued funding for 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, she said.
She said that she is firmly against U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ proposed $1.4 billion reduction of the Missile Defense Agency.
The Defense Department does not plan to deploy additional silo-based missile interceptors at Fort Greely and will quash the Multiple Kill Vehicle program — intended to place more than one weapon on a booster — “because of its significant technical challenges and the need to take a fresh look at the requirement,” Gates said, according to a report in the Washington Times.
Fort Greely was selected as a site for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system. Starting in the summer of 2002, the United States government began work on the missile defense installation at Fort Greely, planning to deploy a total of 25 to 30 anti-ballistic missiles by 2010.
Whether the paring back survives congressional review is another matter.
“Our early opposition to reduced funding for the Missile Defense Agency is proving to be well-founded during this turbulent time,” 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.”
Palin also requested stimulus funding for the Kodiak Launch Complex. The facility is a commercial rocket launch facility for suborbital and orbital space launch vehicles owned and operated by the Alaska Aerospace Development Corp., a public corporation of the state of Alaska.
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