Top missile defense expert, Riki Ellison recently commented about a meeting that President Obama had with the Pentagon. The topic was the defense budget and sequestration. Ellison is one of the top lay experts in the field of missile defense in the world, and his organization, The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance is currently located in old town Alexandria. Below are Ellison’s comments:
“This Wednesday, President Barack Obama made a rare visit to the Pentagon to meet with the nation’s top military leaders including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a visible display of interest for the Department of Defense.
During his remarks, the President urged Congress to work with the White House to avoid “the Draconian cuts that are called for in sequestration” that was put in place during his Presidency. The defense budget was given temporary relief from the sequester by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 by allowing for targeted spending cuts as opposed to non-descriminate across the board cuts. However, the sequestration relief provisions under the Bipartisan Budget Act are only good through FY15. The full effects of sequestration will return in the FY16 budget unless Congress and the President can cooperate to avoid them.
Sequestration poses a direct threat to our military’s capability and capacity across all services to secure the nation including key components of the Ballistic Missile Defense System that defends the homeland. These programs, including annual testing of all of the systems, the new Long Range Discrimination Radar, the re-designed exoatmospheric kill vehicle and increasing our overall missile defense capacity are critical in making the nation’s missile defense system, our regional missile defense systems and our allies more effective and reliable against the threat of ballistic missiles.
Earlier this year, when asked about how sequestration would impact these new vital programs, Vice Admiral James Syring testified before Congress that “everything would be put back on the table for reconsideration and possibly stopped” should the sequester return.
Allowing sequestration to disrupt the momentum gained from the change of culture of MDA, highlighted by the successful June 22nd test of the Ground Based Midcourse Defense system, would be a mistake. Every effort should be made to avoid negatively impacting our nation’s ability to defend itself and also having the offensive capacity to deter, shape and prevent conflict across the regions of the world that directly threaten the national security of the United States of America.”
Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance