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Begich Applauds Hagel Decision to Strengthen Alaska Missile Defense in Response to North Korea


“Says Alaska Won’t Stand Idly By”

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today commended Department of Defense (DOD) Sec. Chuck Hagel on his decision to invest in Alaska’s strategic geographic location and deploy more ground-based missile (GMD) interceptors in response to North Korea’s recent provocations. The announcement comes shortly after Begich requested additional resources to support missile defense in Alaska in this year’s budget:

“The U.S. should not stand for North Korea’s threats and I’m pleased that Sec. Hagel has made it one his first orders of business since his nomination to strengthen our GMD systems in Alaska,” said Begich. “Developing these additional interceptors will send a strong message that Alaska will not stand idly by and instead will give the outstanding members of the 49th Missile Battalion at Fort Greely the resources they need defend us.”

During Sec. Hagel’s confirmation process, Begich and Hagel specifically discussed the importance of GMD systems in Alaska. After satisfying Begich’s concerns, Begich voted with an overwhelming number of his colleagues to confirm Hagel as Secretary of Defense several weeks ago.

In addition, Begich has met twice this year with the Missile Defense Agency Director, Admiral James Syring, to emphasize his serious concerns about the threat North Korea poses and propose increased resources at Fort Greely to defend against those threats. In 2009 Begich fought the Obama Administration on their decision to deploy fewer interceptors than previously planned.  

Next week, Begich will introduce a resolution commemorating President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative and Ballistic Missile Defense.

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