The missile, known as IIB, is but a theoretical concept which could not be built until 2021, if you believe optimistic government timelines. In a bipartisan move this past December, Congress virtually eliminated the 2012 budget for the program and the message was clear: We have more urgent budget priorities and current threats demand we deploy a missile to protect the continental United States much sooner than 2021.
These conservative organizations and I are not pretending to be experts in aerospace engineering or defense strategy. However, we believe this is a fiscally responsible approach to defense and many members of Congress agree. For Example, House Strategic Forces Subcommittee Chairman Mike Turner recently told Missile Defense Agency Director Patrick O’Reilly that the Subcommittee is concerned “we may be throwing paper wads of designs of SM-3 IIBs rather than throwing actual interceptors that could make a difference for the defense of our nation.” In the same March 2012 hearing, Chairman Turner referred to SM-3 II-B as a “next decade development.”
Key Senators have similar concerns. In a hearing last week, Alabama Senator Jeff Session told O’Reilly, “SM3 Block IIB is not developed, not on an assembly line, not ready to be deployed, not a mature technology. We have gone from a bird in the hand for two in the bush...We have gone from a virtual certainty to a very uncertain situation…I am uneasy about it, frankly."
As of today, President Obama still has not received that consistent, bipartisan message from Congress. After spending millions on development, Obama has decided to shift resources toward more complex future missile variants—a process notorious for being obscenely over budget and off schedule—while rejecting the Congress’ more sensible approach to fiscal responsibility and a more robust national defense.
By rejecting Obama’s position on homeland missile defense, Congress would both ensure taxpayer dollars are used more effectively and our country is well-protected. That approach would be a new way of doing business at the Department of Defense and real change that Americans can embrace.