Henry Obering, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and former director of the Missile Defense Agency, and Rebeccah Heinrichs, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, co-authored an article for the Washington Times on President Barack Obama’s missile defense policy and the existing missile threat.
Obering and Heinrichs summarize the latest national security developments, such as President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Posture Review and the renewal of START. The Defense Intelligence Agency recently reported that in as little as five years, Iran may be capable of hitting the U.S. with an intercontinental ballistic missile, with North Korea’s help.
An excerpt of the article:
“Although administration officials continue to insist that the treaty does not constrain U.S. missile defense, the Russians have unilaterally declared that they would withdraw if they thought American missile-defense capabilities threatened their strategic nuclear force. U.S. missile defense is not designed to defend against Russian missiles. Its purpose is to defend America and our allies against rogue states and terrorist proxies – the threats outlined in the DIA report.
“But even if we know this to be true, it doesn’t mean the Russians will agree. The ground-based European site posed no threat to Russia, but in spite of the preponderance of evidence, the Russians disagreed. This contributed to the Obama administration’s scrapping the plan and shifting to what is called the Phased Adaptive Approach. We have yet to see how the Russians will react to this plan – a plan that requires the deployment of sea- and land-based assets on or near land occupied by the former Soviet Union.”
While we made concessions to Russia, Iran and North Korea haven’t made concessions to anyone. Missile threats from these two rogue states are growing. Obering and Heinrichs remind us that President George Bush liberated the U.S. from the ban on deployment of integrated missile defenses, but they wonder whether Obama has re-attached the chains when he “reset” relations with Russia. Flexibility is important in the shifting climate.