Letters to the editor

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In the end, a high minimum wage ends up being counterproductive since it forces employers to move jobs overseas in order to remain competitive or to move the load onto existing employees. So, instead of a new worker earning a higher minimum wage, he earns nothing.

PAUL BLASE

Alexandria

Should we wait for Armageddon?

Stanley Orman and Maj. Gen. Eugene Fox (“Dubious defense analysis,” Letters, Friday) completely miss the point in their assessment of my Monday Op-Ed titled “Back to the 1930s.”

First, I did not propose that we move to the production of the Airborne Laser, only that we move to demonstrate its capability in a shootdown scheduled for mid-2009. The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) agreed, moving to address this issue by nearly fully funding the program at $498 million. The committee report further noted: “… the technical progress that the Airborne Laser (ABL) program has made over the last three years with the early accomplishment of the firing and refurbishment of the high energy laser and the continuing flight testing associated with the beam control /fire control (BC/FC) system. These technical challenges were accomplished while the program stayed within the government determined schedule and budget.” The committee then concluded that it “looked forward to continuing strong support and commensurate funding by the Missile Defense Agency of the ABL.” The HAC mark is an improvement over previous House and Senate action and is thus consistent with what I recommended.

Second, while the proposed third site in Europe might use a de-scoped Kinetic Energy Interceptor or KEI as Mr. Orman and Gen. Fox claim, they are off-base as well in their assessment. The HAC called for the KEI to be returned to a boost phased program and increased funding for the program to $372 million, adding some $145 million to the program while noting “the KEI has met each knowledge point while remaining on schedule and on budget.” Again, this is exactly what I have recommended.

Third, while there is no doubt that proving the military effectiveness of advanced missile defense concepts takes time, Mr. Orman and Gen. Fox seem unaware the United States and its allies are at war with countries such as Iran whose leaders former CIA chief R. James Woolsey describes as genocidal maniacs. There are two clocks moving simultaneously: the terror states’ timetable to deliver a nuclear weapon on a U.S. city and the efforts of the United States and its allies to stop such an attack. While the intelligence community says a long-range Iranian missile threat might not emerge until 2015, the time to develop a missile defense even under current plans would not see a mid-European deployment until 2013.

That does not leave much room for error and places in stark relief the failures of the 1990s when missile defense was put on the back burner by the Clinton administration. As Churchill ruefully noted after World War II, if the allies had only moved more quickly to defend Europe against the Nazis, the death of some 60 million people could have been avoided. And we only have to remember the North Korean threat analysis of 1995 by the U.S. intelligence community that turned out to be wrong.

Fourth, the threats we face are just as serious. The U.S. government, in its recently released national security assessment, declares Iran to be the most serious terror state threat we face. Reports now indicate North Korea has shipped some 18 BM-25 ballistic missiles and their associated launchers to Iran, missiles with a 3,400-kilometer range, which puts all of central Europe at risk. In addition, a just-released poll also found that over 80 percent of the American people support the deployment of a mid-European missile defense site to defend against Iranian missile threats.

Fifth, Mr. Orman and Gen. Fox call for realistic tests to determine future capabilities and that is exactly what the ABL and KEI programs are designed to achieve in the next few years. Over the past few years, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has successfully demonstrated intercept capabilities in 28 of 36 tests. The deployment of missile defenses is now scheduled to reach more than 1,000 interceptors shortly after the beginning of the next decade. The MDA is moving responsibly but prudently to provide America and its allies a necessary layered, global missile defense to protect our liberties and our security. My question to critics such as Mr. Orman and Gen. Fox is simple: What is it these critics want us to wait for in order to support the forward movement of missile defense with some urgency rather than the business-as-usual acquisition process that is not relevant to today’s threats? Armageddon?

PETER HUESSY

President

GeoStrategic Analysis

Potomac

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