Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) has announced that he has joined fellow Republican and Democrat Members of Congress in the newly formed Congressional Missile Defense Caucus. The bipartisan working group was formed in response to massive funding cuts to the Airborne Laser program and other critical missile defense projects. The Caucus will stress the urgency of funding, building, and modernizing a layered and robust missile defense in order to confront the threat from terrorists and other state or non-state actors in possession of weapons capable of achieving mass casualties.
McKeon made the following statement regarding his participation in the Missile Defense Caucus and the harmful threat these defense cuts pose to America:
“The Airborne Laser is an important part of our comprehensive ballistic missile defense system. The members of the Missile Defense Caucus recognize the need to protect all aspects of that defense in a new era where rogue nations have the desire to destroy the United States and its people. Reagan had incredible foresight when he initiated a missile defense shield against threat from the Soviet Union. Today, the threat is not as easily defined, and so our defense is just as important, or more so.
“Fortunately, American technology is working to our advantage. Our systems work and they are some of the best in the world, however, we must continue funding and developing this vital technology to ensure our nation’s safety.
“The proposed drastic cuts to the defense budget could cost our country more than we are willing to pay in the negative impacts to our safety, security, and preservation. I joined this Caucus because I will not stand by without working to salvage the technology we have built.”
Congress has recently seen several successful demonstrations of American science and military equipment. In-flight tests of the Airborne Laser Targeting System and an intercept of a target with a long-range interceptor operated successfully, additionally, recent Aegis and THAAD intercepts were successful as well. McKeon continued, “We can not be sure of when our enemies will launch short or long-range missiles, but we should continue to modernize our systems to stay ahead of the threat with a robust and layered missile defense that will be capable of thwarting missiles in their boost, midcourse, or terminal phases of flight. If we wait to fund these projects until they are absolutely necessary, then it will be too late.”