Policy hacks have put a halt to the Missile Defense Agency’s purchase of seven more of them. One of the seven cut may survive in the restructured fiscal 2014 budget. Completing it will bring America’s total stock of AN/TPY-2 radars to 12 — a good start, but far fewer than our military commanders have deemed necessary. Congress should safeguard enough funding for the survival of this capability.
This is not defense industry hyperbole. Consider that Iran has not hesitated to develop threatening technologies. Iran recently paraded a new system designed to combat American fighter jets, drones, helicopters and cruise missiles.
Earlier this month, it is likely that Iran conducted a test against one of our drones. At about the same time, Iranian-backed Hamas was launching deadly attacks against innocents in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, forcing retaliation strikes against suspected missile sites in Gaza. The future threat is clear.
Ten years from now, we can only hope that we can reflect on how policymakers took the risk, curbed the urge of wasteful entitlement spending and carved out a sliver for the missile defense programs that saved thousands of American lives.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein and is the author of “We Got Him! A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.” He is an infantry veteran of Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, a military analyst for Concerned Veterans for America and served as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Oklahoma Senate.