Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, along with a large, bipartisan group of lawmakers today introduced H.R. 2912, the Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 – a House companion to legislation introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan in May. The group of original cosponsors includes Representatives Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Bill Schuster (R-PA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Brian Mast (R-FL).
Congressman Don Young, a member of the Missile Defense Caucus, at a recent national security event on Capitol Hill.
“I'm proud to work with Senator Sullivan on an issue that has been a top priority of mine since we first began building our nation’s missile defense systems and infrastructure,” said Congressman Don Young. “With increasing threats around the world, specifically from North Korea and Iran, the United States must be steadfast in its commitment to protect the homeland – which must include further development of our integrated missile defense system. I’m determined to work with my colleagues to ensure the President’s commitment to these critical programs is not just campaign rhetoric, but truly a priority for his administration and the nation.”
“In light of the North Korean threat, the additional Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) at Fort Greely, Alaska, are especially essential for the defense of the United States, our states and allies,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI). “This Act furthers the long standing tradition of Alaska and Hawaii pulling together for the good of the United States.”
“The day after his inauguration, President Trump listed developing “a state-of-the-art missile defense system” as one of his top five defense priorities. Meanwhile, the entire world is finally starting to wake up to the nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran, including the unthinkable possibility of a successful attack by these rogue regimes,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO). “Sadly, we have already lost a great deal of valuable time and money to both improve our current system and develop a future system to defend against future threats. That’s why this legislation provides both increased funding and renewed focus to maintain our self-defense capability, protect the American people, and give the President options should a worst-case scenario become reality.
“The United States must defend against the rapidly advancing North Korean nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile threat with the development and deployment of an integrated missile defense system capable of defending threats to Hawaii and the nation,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). “We must make the necessary investments to ensure we have the tools and technologies necessary to defend against the threats of today and the future."
The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 seeks to address global threats through several means:
- Promoting an integrated, layered ballistic missile defense system incorporating THAAD, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis Ashore, and Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems.
- Accelerating the development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer, and advanced interceptor technologies.
- Authorizing an additional 28 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) at Fort Greely, Alaska, and accelerating the completion of the EIS for an interceptor site on the East Coast and in the Midwest of the U.S. Missile Defense Testing.
- Authorizing additional missile defense testing and expresses the need to change current test culture at the Missile Defense Agency.
- Requiring a Department of Defense report on additional interceptions distributed across the U.S.; specifics on their optimal locations; and studies on the possibility of transportable GBIs.
Several senior officials at the Department of Defense, including General John Hyten (USSTRATCOM) and General Lori Robinson (USNORTHCOM) have publicly stated their belief that, due to the new pace of North Korean missile testing, it is no longer a matter of if North Korea gets the capability to threaten the contiguous United States with a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile, but when North Korea will achieve that capability.
Further, during the past six years, North Korea under the Kim Jong-Un regime has conducted approximately 80 ballistic missile and three nuclear tests – more missile tests and more than twice as many nuclear tests as both his father and grandfather combined.
Congressman Young, long a supporter of GMD and the senior member of the House Missile Defense Caucus, was instrumental in bringing the Ballistic Missile Defense System element to Fort Greely, Alaska with the passage of the “All-American Resolution” in the late 1990’s. His resolution stated that any missile defense system deployed to protect the United States against the threat of ballistic missile attack should include the equal protection for all America, including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories and the commonwealths of the United States.