North Korea's nuclear test and missile defense
Posted by John McHale
North Korea's successful test of a nuclear bomb this week has many in Washington scurrying to formulate a tough response. Reportedly the blast equaled that of the nuclear bomb that the U.S. exploded over Hiroshima, Japan during World War II. There has also been speculation in the press that North Korea has the potential to reach the west coast of the U.S. with a warhead.
So that brings us to missile defense , something President Obama and his party have questioned the necessity of in recent years. However, when we looked at the 2010 Department of Defense budget request today we saw increases for different types of missile defense systems -- most notably the Aegis ballistic missile defense system .
The Aegis request for 2010 is $1.67 billion, up from $1.113 billion in 2009. The Aegis is the system most likely to take out a warhead fired by North Korea. A number of technological advances have been made in the Aegis program, including the Aegis Ballistic Missile Processor .
The President has said he wants to cut the Airborne Laser (ABL) system , which destroys missiles in their boost phase. While the ABL does not appear as a line item in the 2010 request, funding for the ballistic missile defense boost phase segment is down from about $400 million in 2009 to about $186 million in 2010.
The overall the 2010 missile defense request is for $7.12 billion, down from $8.494 billion in 2009.
Yes, the President has cut funding for some high- profile missile defense systems, but it would be a mistake to say he has cut a hole in America's missile defenses. The increased funding for proven missile defense systems such as Aegis says otherwise.
Good to know considering the events in Southeast Asia this week.