Sequester cuts would dangerously weaken our nuclear defenses, cutting the “deterrent triad” of bombers, submarines and ICBMs that makes nuclear aggression unthinkable, even for despots like Kim Jong-Un. Slashing this deterrent could lead North Korea’s neighbors to seek a nuclear response option of their own, turning a dangerous situation into a potential catastrophe.
The sequester could also slash deeply into American ballistic missile defenses, which should instead be strengthened during a nuclear crisis. America’s GMD system is our only protection from a North Korean ICBM (a capability the North Koreans demonstrated weeks ago by orbiting a satellite). It uses a sophisticated radar net to blanket the Pacific and kinetic interceptors launched from California and Alaska to knock incoming missiles from the sky. Years of development and testing have now proved the system works. But it also needs expansion and improvement — more tests against countermeasures, stronger coordination between radars and sensors and an East Coast site to keep Iran in check.
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union said we must “strengthen our own missile defense” in response to the Korean test. Sequestration would tear it down instead.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.