Visitors look at a SS-18 SATAN intercontinental ballistic missile at the Strategic Missile Forces museum near Pervomaysk


In a recent editorial piece in the Washington Examiner, Representatives Doug Lamborn (R–CO) and Trent Franks (R–AZ) propose a four-point plan to strengthen and advance America’s missile defense system.

Their plan reflects what Heritage has always advocated: Missile defense is critical to national security. The plan’s four points outline a layered, comprehensive missile defense system that includes:

1)      Support of the full deployment of ground-based interceptors;

2)      Development of an East Coast missile site that would defend against Iran and shore up protection of the Eastern Seaboard;

3)      Development of a space-based layer of defense along with the capability to destroy enemy missiles while still in boost or launch phase; and

4)      Investment in developing new technologies for the future of missile defense that will reduce the cost of defending against enemy missiles, such as directed energy.

Since taking office, President Obama has consistently undervalued missile defense and is on the record as “not agreeing” with it either as a policy or as a strategy to protect the nation—in spite of the escalating risks of attack to the United States from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Including the most recent cuts in this year’s defense budget, the Obama Administration has reduced national missile defense programs by almost $6.5 billion since 2009.

The U.S. should keep pace with emerging threats by investing in missile technologies of its own instead of repeatedly cutting missile defense development programs that put the country at risk. This kind of shortsightedness only increases costs down the road and creates gaps in the protection of its citizens. A credible missile defense system would close that gap by deterring enemies from investing or deploying weapons of mass destruction.

When it takes only 33 minutes for a missile to reach the U.S. from anywhere in the world, it would be a folly to cut back missile defense. In the words of Lamborn and Franks, not agreeing with missile defense is like “not agreeing with bulletproof vests.”