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Senators Introduce Bill to Bolster Homeland Missile Defense


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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) joined Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in introducing the Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017. The bill – a direct response to continued aggression from North Korea – seeks to strengthen and improve the reliability, capability, and capacity of U.S. homeland missile defense. 

 

“Our nation’s missile defense is a critical insurance policy that protects Americans and our allies from a nuclear catastrophe,” said Senator Sullivan. “Top military leaders have been sounding the alarm, saying it is only a matter of ‘when, not if,’ Kim Jong-un will get the capability to range cities in the continental United States with a nuclear inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 heeds that warning and seeks to advance our nation’s ability to outpace the current threats. I thank my colleagues on both sides of aisle for coming together to address this critical national security issue.”

 

“This bill will help improve our ability to defend Hawai‘i, Alaska, and the U.S. mainland against a North Korean ballistic missile threat,” said Senator Schatz. “While we take this extra step to strengthen our defense capacities, we must continue to explore every diplomatic avenue to hold North Korea to its international commitments and stop its unlawful pursuit of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.” 

 

“The success of our modern ground- and sea-based missile defenses underscore the moral clarity and prescient outlook Ronald Reagan exhibited in the 1980’s in his mission to protect our citizens from ballistic missile threats,” Senator Cruz said. “While our adversaries are increasingly focused on ballistic missile capabilities, we must ensure our missile defense architecture outpaces their developing threats. This bill is a statement of rededication to Reagan’s vision, particularly its attention to space-based sensors, and I hope all my colleagues will come together to invest in the security of the American people.”

 

“The United States faces an evolving number of security threats - from North Korea's provocative missile tests designed to inflame global tensions, to Iran’s ballistic missile tests in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution,” said Senator Peters. “It is critical that America take proactive steps to bolster our missile defense systems so we are prepared in the event of a missile attack directed at our homeland.” 

 

"If we can’t make Kim Jong-un listen to reason, then we should make his arsenal obsolete,” said Senator Cotton. “In this increasingly dangerous world, America needs a missile-defense system that’s second to none, and this legislation will keep our country ahead of the pack." 

 

“I am proud to co-sponsor this bill because America’s strength and security are dependent on us staying one step ahead of those who wish us harm, said Senator Manchin. “In a bipartisan way, the Senate is heeding the call of our military leaders by giving them the technology and weapons that they need to keep America and her allies safe from a ballistic missile threat.”

 

“The North Korean regime continues to be a clear and present danger to America and the world with its unwavering development of nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missiles,” said Senator Rubio. “It is our duty to do everything we can to ensure we are prepared in the event of a nuclear threat. That is why I am proud to support the Advancing America's Missile Defense Act of 2017, legislation that would advance our defense system to keep our homeland safe.”

  

“Keeping Americans safe is absolutely essential, and the Advancing American Missile Defense Act will help us do exactly that,” Senator Capito said. “When it comes to North Korea, the time for smart, responsible action is now, and this legislation takes necessary steps to develop and advance our missile defense infrastructure and technology. This bill will help us properly prepare and equip professionals with the tools they need to counter the very real threat North Korea poses. I am proud to join my colleagues to support this measure that will help make America a safer place.”

 

BACKGROUND:

 

  • Integrated Missile Defense: Promotes an integrated, layered ballistic missile defense system incorporating Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis Ashore, and Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems.

 

  • Authorizes Additional Interceptors: Authorizes an additional 28 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs).

 

  • Speeds Tech Development: Accelerates the development and deployment of advanced interceptor technologies (Redesigned Kill Vehicle; Multi-object Kill Vehicle MOKV; New, More Flexible and Capable Booster).

 

  • Space-based Sensors: Accelerates the development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer.

 

  • East Coast/Midwest Site: Accelerates the completion of the EIS for an interceptor site on the East Coast and in the Midwest of the U.S.

 

  • Increases Testing: Authorizes additional missile defense testing and expresses the need to change current test culture at the Missile Defense Agency.

 

·         Requires DoD Report: Mandates report for up to 100 GBIs distributed across the U.S. and asks for specifics on their optimal locations and the possibility of transportable GBIs.

 

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