Inhofe Warns Missile Defense Cancellation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today added to his initial concerns about President Obama's cancellation of the third missile defense site.  Pointing to the fact that the site scheduled to be deployed in Poland and the Czech Republic would have more fully protected the United States from an eastern missile attack, Inhofe said the following:

"For years, it has been U.S. policy that this country needs enhanced and improved missile defense coverage.  Such improvements of our missile defense shield were to be provided by the Obama cancelled radar and missile sites in eastern Europe.   Taking the Polish and Czech Republic site locations off the table leaves not just our European allies more vulnerable, but even more importantly, it leaves our own country more vulnerable.  The U.S. can currently intercept an Iranian missile headed towards America with our 3 stage Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) in Alaska and California.  However, the Polish site with its 2 stage GBIs would have provided enhanced and redundant coverage to fill any potential gaps in our missile defense shield over the Eastern and Southwestern portions of the United States.  This coverage against intermediate and long range missiles would have provided this nation with the maximum protection against missile attack, and it is unconscionable that President Obama would settle for anything less.

"The replacement missile defense plan proposed by the Obama administration will take an additional five years to complete, leaving us more vulnerable during that time.  In addition, President Obama's option barely reaches the eastern shores of the United States, and does very little to enhance the protection of this country.

"To provide the maximum coverage and protection for the United States, three missile defense sites were originally planned.  The third site was initially planned for the east coast, but engineers and planners realized that locating the site in Europe would have the added bonus of also protecting our allies overseas.  The best location for intercepting a missile from a country like Iran is the missile site in Poland and the radar site in the Czech Republic.  The American people should be outraged that President Obama has undermined our nation's credibility with our allies by terminating the third GBI site that would have been operational by 2013.  This is not just about western Europe.  It is about the U.S.  Without the Polish GBI site, we will be naked for a minimum of 5 years, from 2013 to 2018, with no redundant or enhanced missile defense coverage from the east."

###