WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today highlighted the successful test flight of the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) by the Missile Defense Agency over the weekend. The GBI is the missile deployed to protect the United States homeland against limited ballistic missile threats from countries such as North Korea and Iran.
“This test is particularly timely in light of recent threats from North Korean leaders of upcoming long-range rocket and nuclear weapons tests aimed at the United States,” said Inhofe. “I appreciate the hard work our men and women at the Missile Defense Agency put into this effort to make it a success. Our intelligence agencies have discovered that North Korea is moving mobile missile launchers around the country where they can be hidden. This clearly suggests the ballistic missile threat to the United States is becoming more complicated. Iran also continues their nuclear pursuit and could have a missile capable of reaching the United States by 2015.
“These threats underscore the dangerous road President Obama’s reduced missile defense funding has put us on. He cut funding for the National Missile Defense system by $500 million in his first budget, then further reduced spending by another $1 billion between his Fiscal year 2011 and 2012 five-year plans. The number of GBIs protecting the United States was cut back from 44 under the previous administration to 30, and he cancelled the Third Site in Poland that would have provided the East Coast and our European allies with additional cover by 2015. Under Obama’s leadership, development of the system was curtailed and a major modernization program for the GBI was canceled.
“We must take steps to modernize and expand the national missile defense system, and that must begin with leadership from the president. The president can provide leadership by increasing the Missile Defense funding requests in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget submission to Congress. I intend to work with the president and my colleagues in the Senate and House to ensure our nation remains well ahead of the threat.”