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Kristol and Gillespie: Time to Get Serious on Missile Defense

Posted By Jordan Harms On April 3, 2013 @ 2:00 pm In Security | Comments Disabled



On Fox News Sunday’s panel discussion [2] on the North Korean situation, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie voiced concerns over the Obama Administration’s having “flipped on missile defense [3],” citing its 2009 reversal of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program President Bush initiated.

Gillespie commended the Administration’s recommitment to 14 GMD interceptors [4] in response to North Korea’s threats, but added, “I only wish the President hadn’t waited so long and would make a priority of missile defense.” The nation must preserve and advance its capabilities [5] to deter against a possible North Korean attack. In addition, the United States must be ready to protect its allies in the event that such deterrence fails.

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol lamented the fact that there has been a “very haphazard follow through [6]” on Ronald Reagan’s push for a strong missile defense program. Only 1.5 percent of the defense budget [7] is spent on missile defense, and China, despite urging North Korea to stop any further testing—to little avail—cannot be depended upon to undermine the regime. Kristol warned that “we don’t know that the North Korean regime will not be proliferating their weapons [once they get them].”

Recently, North Korea threatened military strikes [8] on the United States and South Korea. Concerns have heightened about how far along Pyongyang (North Korea’s capital) is in developing its long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. North Korea hopes to design [9] an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could hit the U.S.

North Korea, given its history, is more likely in the near term to conduct another tactical-level attack [10] on South Korean military and civilian targets, rather than a nuclear strike [11]. The successes of their recent missile tests have increased the possibility of miscalculation by Pyongyang. North Korea has initiated provocations before in order to raise concerns over escalation, thereby forcing opponents to try and contain the situation. This has emboldened the regime in the past.

This time, however, Pyongyang’s announcement that it is in a “state of war [12]” with the South has caused the U.S. to deploy F-22 stealth fighter jets [13] to bolster its ally. In addition, the U.S. and South Korea signed a Combined Counter-Provocation Plan [14] on March 24 to counter future North Korean attacks with a combined South Korean and U.S. response.

In order for any such plan to be credible, however, the United States must devote sufficient forces and budget resources to this effort. Defense budget cuts to naval and air force procurement plans must be reversed. The most effective deterrent to a North Korean attack is the capability of the U.S. [10] to reduce and eliminate the likelihood of such an attack being successful.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/03/kristol-and-gillespie-time-to-get-serious-on-missile-defense/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/Iron-Dome-120312.jpg

[2] panel discussion: http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-live/2013/03/gillespie-kristol-want-missile-defense-160556.html

[3] flipped on missile defense: http://www.hulu.com/watch/473566

[4] 14 GMD interceptors: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/15/north-korea-threat-there-is-no-substitute-for-a-strong-u-s-missile-defense/

[5] preserve and advance its capabilities: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/11/3-step-plan-for-us-missile-defense-system?ac=1

[6] very haphazard follow through: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/10/08/why-leave-ourselves-vulnerable-to-north-koreas-nuclear-program/?ac=1

[7] 1.5 percent of the defense budget: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/obamas-defense-budget-makes-protecting-america-its-lowest-priority

[8] threatened military strikes: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korean-secrecy-on-bomb-test-fuels-speculation-on-nuclear-advances/2013/03/31/f46bda44-98ae-11e2-b68f-dc5c4b47e519_story.html

[9] hopes to design: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/11/deterrence-and-nuclear-targeting-in-the-21st-century

[10] another tactical-level attack: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/north-korean-threat-to-attack-south-korea-what-us-needs-to-do

[11] a nuclear strike: http://33-minutes.com/33-minutes/

[12] state of war: http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-north-korea-rhetoric-20130330,0,239173.story

[13] deploy F-22 stealth fighter jets: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324883604578394330559756950.html

[14] Combined Counter-Provocation Plan: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=119615

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