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August 15, 2008

Inhofe Welcomes US-Poland Missile Defense Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today welcomed the agreement between the United States and Poland to place an American missile defense base in Poland. Under the agreement, Poland would host an American base with 10 interceptors in exchange for "enhanced security cooperation" - an American Patriot battery from Germany operated by a crew of about 100 American military personnel. The Patriot anti-missile battery will provide Poland with an increased level of protection against potentially hostile threats. Expenses would be shared by both nations.

"As someone who has long viewed the deployment of missile defense as an urgent national priority, today's agreement with Poland is certainly welcome news." Senator Inhofe said. "With increasing instability throughout the world and in the region, we must continue to bolster our nation's and our allies' defenses. President Bush should be commended for his steadfast commitment to the deployment of an effective missile defense system capable of protecting the United States, its allies and its forward deployed forces from the growing threat of missile attack.

"Over the past year I have had the opportunity to travel to Europe and discuss the importance of missile defense with leaders from both Poland and the Czech Republic. We talked about overall missile defense, ground based missile defense capabilities, and the radar site in Czech Republic and the interceptor site in Poland.  The fact is that today more than twenty countries have a ballistic missile capability. North Korea and Iran are both developing ballistic missiles for coercion and intimidation and the proliferation of ballistic missile technology amongst the world's rogue nations is increasing. My colleagues and I believe that we must continue to fund this important work and we successfully ensured full funding of the program in this year's mark up of the National Defense Authorization Bill. It is important to note that just four years ago, no ballistic missile defense capability existed, and by the end of this year we will have as many as 30 ground-based interceptors, 18 Aegis cruisers and destroyers with almost 100 standard missile interceptors aboard, and multitude of radars and command and control suites all over the world.

"The mission of protecting the United States against a ballistic missile attack is becoming increasingly important. Our enemies are working on advanced missile technology and nuclear warheads, and there is little doubt that these technologies and capabilities are being shared with terrorist elements. In short, our enemies are advancing their ability to reach out and hit us, our Allies and our forward deployed forces in a devastating way. Today's agreement with Poland and our partnership with the Czech Republic show we are continuing to take the threat seriously and take another step toward strengthening our security."



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