Gabbard: US Tests Underscore Need to Strengthen Missile Defense

May 31, 2017, 9:10 AM HST · Updated May 31, 5:13 PM
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Representative Tulsi Gabbard today released a statement after the US successfully intercepted and destroyed a mock ICBM over the Pacific.  She said the test underscores the need to strengthen US missile defense.

MDA launch of an interceptor from Vandenberg AFB. (5.30.17) by Staff Sgt. Kaleb Mayfield/30th Space Wing/DVIDS.

“There are a wide range of threats posed by North Korea that we must be prepared to defend against, including those raised by Admiral Harris about the threat posed to Hawaiʻi, and the need to ensure our missile defense infrastructure includes layers of protection for Hawaiʻi,” said Rep. Gabbard.

“Our successful tests against an intercontinental ballistic missile threat are a positive development, which further reinforce the need for continued strengthening of our ballistic missile defense infrastructure. I’m continuing to look at all options available to us and pursuing those which will ensure Hawaiʻi is defended from simple and complex attacks now, and into the future,” said Rep. Gabbard.

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The Congresswoman identified missile defense and the protection of Hawaiʻi as one of her top priorities throughout her time in Congress.

Last year, she passed two amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act—one to provide funding to begin the process of bringing an MRDR to Hawaiʻi, and the other to require the Missile Defense Agency to brief Congress on their short-term plan to enhance missile defense capabilities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.

She also questioned then SECDEF Ashton Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about the need to increase Hawaiʻi’s missile defense.

Rep. Gabbard said she has had ongoing conversations and meetings with the Missile Defense Agency Director, Vice Admiral James Syring, to discuss possible options for the defense of Hawaiʻi, to deal with short term and long term needs. This includes quickly deployable options that may be available to further strengthen the defense of Hawaiʻi within the state.

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