- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: U.S. Army needs MEADS, not Patriot
Question of the Day
Today’s threats have outgrown the Patriot missile-defense system - just ask a soldier. In hostile territory, is that soldier OK with air- and missile-defense protection that can’t move when he does? Is he OK with launchers and radars that protect against cruise and tactical ballistic missile attacks only if they come from the left, not if they come from the right? Does he believe 30- to 40-year-old hardware will be reliable enough to work when it has to?
After fighting in Iraq, U.S. leaders affirmed their need for a ground mobile air- and missile-defense system that could get to the fight, move with forces and provide 360-degree protection for them and their key assets. Trusted coalition allies Germany and Italy, recognizing the same need, offered to share the cost to develop MEADS and saved the United States $1.6 billion. Their ministries of defense again recently expressed unwavering commitments to MEADS to acting Undersecretary of Defense Frank Kendall in January and March.
Let’s be clear: MEADS does not have a cost overrun. Program expenditures were within the amount agreed upon when development started in 2004. Curiously, during the same period, the Patriot contractor has received twice as much U.S. funding to upgrade and fix Patriot, which is still limited to forward-facing launchers and 90-degree radar sectors and lacks the mobility needed in theater. Where the logic frays is that billions of additional dollars have been poured into the Patriot, and the army still doesn’t have a system that meets its requirements.
Does putting a new engine in a Model A make it perform like a Mustang? There’s only so much you can do to fix Patriot because of its Cold War architecture and technology limitations. We no longer face a Soviet threat that comes only from the east, and we shouldn’t ask our fighting forces to choose what part of their perimeter to leave undefended.
At the end of flight tests next year, the U.S. Army will have proven, networked, 360-degree, tactically mobile MEADS capabilities that can fix Patriot’s flaws. The United States is making the right investment in MEADS to fix the Army’s air- and missile-defense deficiencies and have access to the valuable technology already developed. The solution is nearly in hand with a small fraction of the cost remaining. U.S. taxpayers, our loyal allies Germany and Italy and our courageous soldiers deserve to see the completion of MEADS. Ask a soldier why it matters.
MAJ. GEN. JAMES CRAVENS
Commandant, U.S. Army Air Defense School (retired)
Former president, MEADS International
Grand Prairie, Texas
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By Donald Lambro
The president writes off jobless Americans who have given up
Get Breaking Alerts
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Bill Clinton audio surfaces from Sept. 10, 2001: 'I could have killed' Osama bin Laden
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy