Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, accused the Obama administration Thursday of playing politics with missile defense policy before it recently decided to place fourteen new missile interceptors in Alaska.
“While I am pleased that the Administration is taking this step, given the growth of the ICBM threat, I am disappointed that this is an announcement that has to be made at all,” McKeon said. “The original decision to divest ourselves of these interceptors was a classic case of looking at threats through politically tinted glasses. Now that the Administration has decided to see clearly, America can get back on the right course; but at a high and unnecessary cost.”
The California Republican continued, “Hundreds of millions will need to be spent to bring our infrastructure back on line at a time when defense resources are already scarce and our ability to defend against ICBM attack has been needlessly delayed.”
“Yet again,” McKeon charged, “we have changed paths on our allies, who have backed our policies at great political and military risk. As the administration continues to set their missile defense policy they should be mindful of the high cost of placing political expediency above national security.”
At the beginning of Obama’s first term, the White House determined that the missile threat from countries like North Korea changed and ceased established missile defense policy. The policy carried over from the George W. Bush administration, which was on track to place 14 missile defense interceptors in Alaska and California. In 2009, the Obama administration decided to eliminate missiles from the proposed stockpile and “mothball” the missile field built to house them.
At the time, House Republicans fought the proposed change and told the White House not to alter the missile defense policy or shut down infrastructure. In testimony before the House, General Patrick O’Reilly, then-head of the Missile Defense Agency, testified that reactivating “mothballed” silos would cost the taxpayer $200 million.
A HASC staffer told Breitbart News recently that the sequester would harm U.S. missile defense and nuclear deterrents, as cuts would affect U.S. military civilian personnel responsible for maintaining them. Additionally, the sequester will mandate the Air Force anti-ballistic system that alerts the military of incoming missiles to cutback monitor for threats eight hours a day as opposed to 24 hours.