Tags: Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | Republicans | Pentagon | East Coast | missile shield

GOP, Pentagon Scuffle Over Proposed East Coast Missile Shield

By    |   Monday, 27 Apr 2015 12:38 PM

Congressional Republicans and the Pentagon are butting heads over whether the U.S. needs an anti-missile battery on the East Coast to provide better protection for the U.S. against nuclear missiles that could be launched from North Korea or Iran.

While the Pentagon argues that money for a new anti-missile battery could be better spent improving the two anti-missile installations already in existence in Alaska and California, some GOP House members argue that an East Coast Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMDS) could enhance protection and are pushing for its development, Politico reports.

"The United States of America is on its way to losing its military edge, not just in terms of the ability to project power, but to even defend the homeland," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

"This situation is intolerable."

The first step would be relocation of a high-powered X-band radar system from ship to shore, Rogers said, telling Politico, "I do intend to go forward with it."

The subcommittee, in its authorization bill for defense spending for next year, included language stating that it, "directs immediate work on site design and other study and process work to homeport such radar on the East Coast."

Republicans, Politico reports, are especially concerned about Iran's missile capability, given that the country placed a satellite in orbit early this year and "the fear is the capability could be morphed into something more sinister: the ability to launch rockets with nuclear warheads."

A missile shield on the East Coast is "certainly not something that the Department of Defense or the Missile Defense Agency are pursuing," Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, said.

The system would detect incoming missiles and launch missiles to destroy them before impact, using an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which the Pentagon hopes to improve, rather than constructing a third GMDS system, Politico reported.

Adm. Bill Gortney, head of the U.S. Northern Command, told Politico, "I would rather invest and develop the technologies that allow us to get on the correct side of the cost curve, because that is the most important piece of the pie. We are shooting very cheap rockets down with very expensive rockets."

Construction of a third site would cost the U.S. defense budget a minimum of $3 billion, Lt. Gen. David Mann, commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, said.

The Pentagon currently is conducting environmental impact studies on four possible sites —  Fort Drum in New York, the Naval Air Station in Maine, the Fort Custer Training Center in Michigan and the Camp Ravenna Joint Training Center in Ohio, Politico reported.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said: "We haven't seen any delay on Iran's program. We saw the recent space launch vehicle, which could also be a delivery mechanism, unfortunately, for a nuclear bomb," Politico reported.

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Congressional Republicans and the Pentagon are butting heads over whether the U.S. needs an anti-missile battery on the East Coast to provide better protection for the U.S. against nuclear missiles which could be launched from North Korea or Iran.
Republicans, Pentagon, East Coast, missile shield
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2015-38-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 12:38 PM
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