Even before this decision to deploy a Tippy Two to Japan, many industry observers had been calling for the Defense Department to restore that original 18-unit order and secure funding for the development of those final six units — three to be fielded as THAAD radars proven to help American troops and our allies protect against enemy missiles.
Lack of commitment on Capitol Hill to protect and fund missile defense capabilities at home will not be reciprocated by rogue world leaders. Iran’s nuclear ambitions remain undeterred by international sanction and condemnation. Iran is expected to develop long-range ballistic technologies as early as 2015, and North Korea is showing its capability now.
In fact, since the 2011 federal budget was prepared, the worldwide total of ballistic missiles outside of the control of America, China, Russia and NATO has increased from 6,240 to an alarming 6,340 — all in the hands of irresponsible players.
Now is the time for responsible players. Defense officials need to expand manufacturing of this vital technology to ensure America and its allies remain safe. And Congress must restore needed funding to advance this mobile radar system.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell is the author of “We Got Him! A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.” He is a military analyst for Concerned Veterans for America and served as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Oklahoma Senate.