- - Friday, June 27, 2014


Recently, significant progress was made in the effort to protect America from the threat of ballistic missiles (“U.S. missile-defense test a success: ‘This is a very important step,’ Web, June 23). The U.S. military successfully tested the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD) in the Pacific, firing off a long-range interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The interceptor hit the target and stopped its progress.

Vice Admiral James D. Syring, head of the Missile Defense Agency, is correct in his assessment that “[t]his is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic-missile defense system.” It could not come at a more important time.

Threats around the world continue to grow. Recent reports indicate that Russia has just test-fired six new air-launched cruise missiles. This past May, it was revealed that North Korea has developed a nuclear warhead capable of being launched on North Korea’s ballistic missile. Simultaneously, missiles are not only becoming more sophisticated, but more numerous. According to a recent Missile Defense Agency estimate the number of missiles potentially hostile to the United States is expected to grow from 6,300 today to 8,000 by the end of the decade. As threats increase, America must focus on ways to better defend itself.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system is an amazingly capable and sophisticated technology. The target was launched from the Marshall Islands and tracked using high-tech, sea-based X-band radar and Aegis SPY-1 radar. Once in space, the interceptor released a new, enhanced Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV). It must hit a spot on the target roughly the diameter of a basketball at a closing speed of more than 17,000 miles per hour. The sheer speed of the collision between the EKV and the target destroys the target and essentially vaporizes it, neutralizing the threat and protecting American lives and cities.

Missile defenses such as the GMD and EKV radar are crucial components in a layered missile-defense program designed to protect our country. We must continue to fund and develop such important missile-defense programs in order to protect the homeland from foreign threats.


Communications director, Special Projects

Frontiers of Freedom


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