Conversely, the Bush Administration opposes some major additions to United States Navy shipbuilding, including the construction of a $ 470 million so-called Virginia Class submarine (the latest in submarine evolution). Among various tactics for improving the strategy of defense against offshore missiles, an adequacy of submarines seems too obvious to debate. The Administration opposition to this $ 470 billion item appears to be based upon the contention that the money more meaningfully could be used elsewhere. That argument generically varies from validity to diversion. In this case it appears very much to be diversion.

The Act, of course, is immensely complicated. It implicates not only missile defense but also transfer authority within the Military Establishment, major reductions in appropriations sought for dozens of military functions and for nonmilitary activities (training of allies, humanitarian aid, drug interdiction, defense intelligence, so forth). Suffice it to say, in this brief Commentary, that missile defense generally, and offshore missile defense more specifically, are key stratagems for our national self-defense in this age of easy global terrorist access. They should be treated as such.