Members of Congress warn: U.S. nuclear weapons have ‘atrophied’

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operation test at 11:49 p.m. PT Feb. 23, 2021, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. ICBM test launches demonstrate the U.S. nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to defend the United States and its allies. ICBMs provide the U.S. and its allies the necessary deterrent capability to maintain freedom to operate and navigate globally in accordance with international laws and norms. (U.S. Space Force photo by Brittany E. N. Murphy)

Two members of Congress, both on the House Armed Services Committee, are warning that the United States is facing one of the most complex security environments in history – and its missile capabilities seriously need to be addressed.

The warning comes from Reps. Elise Stefanik and Mike Turner, who wrote about their concerns at Real Clear Defense.

They explained that over the last 20 years, the American nuclear capabilities have “atrophied” while potential antagonists have been making “significant advancements.”

“It has been publicly reported [China is] constructing dozens of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile silos. And in Russia, Vladimir Putin has pursued a host of strategic weapons that are either unaddressed by, or in violation of, international arms control agreements,” the wrote.

But additional threats are coming from “rogue states” like North Korea and Iran.

“Iran recently declared its capability to enrich uranium to 90% purity – which is weapons-grade. Equally ominous is the U.N.-reported resumption of missile cooperation between North Korea and Iran, both of whom clearly pose a threat to the U.S. homeland. It is imperative our homeland missile defense capabilities stay ahead of these threats,” they said.

But America has been “slow.”

“Just recently, the Pentagon finally awarded a contract to upgrade our ground-based ballistic missile defense system. This long-overdue step would establish the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI), equipped with multiple kill vehicles, to modernize our capability to intercept new, sophisticated ICBM threats,” they said.

But also needed is to expand the nation’s missile defense program with another site on the East Coast to defend against a possible attack from Iran.

“This is not theoretical. While in office, President Obama said the United States would establish a third continental interceptor site on the East Coast if the threats increased. As many Pentagon officials admitted in recent congressional testimony, the threat environment has grown significantly. In 2019, the Department of Defense had even gone so far as to designate Fort Drum in upstate New York as the preferred location for a future East Coast missile defense site,” they said.

The problem is the “doubters,” including Biden, who “have argued missile defense is too expensive or view improved missile defense capabilities as provocative.”

“Neither argument is logical nor based in reality. In this year’s war between Israel and Hamas, Israel’s Iron Dome proved missile defense is a cost-effective investment and reliable and effective against rogue missile attacks. Likewise, Israel’s effective missile defense was not provocative but rather deterred continued missile attacks,” they said.

Right now, Biden’s appointees to the Pentagon are “lifelong skeptics of homeland missile defense.”

And Biden has “been painstakingly vague on planned Missile Defense and Nuclear Posture reviews and has slow-rolled the discussion on certain components of homeland missile defense.”

For instance, a legally required report on homeland missile defense was due to Congress last May, and still hasn’t arrived.

“The Biden administration’s aversion toward missile defense constitutes a dereliction of the federal government’s duty to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the American people,” they charged.

“It is vital for Congress to support and properly fund our nation’s missile defense platforms. By failing to address missile defense gaps and defend our homeland against our adversaries’ advanced missile capabilities, we leave the United States vulnerable and embolden rogue nations to threaten us with nuclear blackmail,” the said.

Via Wnd

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