Legislation Introduced to Strengthen Missile Defense Systems

June 7, 2018, 11:29 AM HST · Updated June 7, 10:29 AM
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A medium-range ballistic missile target is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, during Flight Test Standard Missile-27 Event 2 (FTM-27 E2) on Aug. 29, 2017. The target was successfully intercepted by SM-6 missiles fired from the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53). (File DoD photo by Latonja Martin)

US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) joined colleague Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in introducing the Integrated Missile Defense Act of 2018 (S. 2980).

The bill builds upon last year’s bipartisan Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017, seeking to further strengthen and integrate the nation’s missile defenses.

Sen. Schatz said:

“When it comes to North Korea, we can hope for the best while still planning for the worst.  I strongly support diplomacy, but in the meantime, this bill beefs up our missile defense system and protects Hawai‘i, Alaska, and the US mainland from rogue missile threats. It also speeds up our efforts to protect US forces and allies in the region by improving our ability to detect, track, discriminate, and intercept increasingly sophisticated future missile threats.”

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Sen. Sullivan also weighed in saying:

“Last year, Congress – working closely with the Trump administration – undertook much-needed efforts to dramatically bolster and advance our country’s missile defense.  This year, continuing to work in a bipartisan fashion, our bill finally authorizes the full development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer. This important measure further helps to ready our missile defenses and make them increasingly interoperable and effective against an ever-evolving missile threat. Additionally, this bill seeks to better align our missile defenses with the 2018 National Defense Strategy including more quickly fielding advanced capabilities to address future threats, better integrating our missile defense systems, and seeking to collaborate more with allies and partners on missile defense technologies.”

S. 2980 is also cosponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

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Background:

  • Develops and Deploys Space-based Sensors: Mandates the development deployment of space-based sensors as soon as practicable.
  • Readies Our Defenses: Mandates an analysis of accelerating the development and deployment of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle to Missile Field 4 at Fort Greely.
  • Promotes a More Integrated Missile Defense: Directs a study on an integrated air-and-missile defense architecture to protect against evolving threats outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy.
  • Accelerates Our Defenses Against Hypersonic Threats: Directs the acceleration of our hypersonic missile defenses and links them to the deployment of space-based sensors.
  • Focuses of Allies: Expresses that the US should work with allies and trusted partners to share missile defense capabilities.
  • More Rigorous Testing: Seeks to discourage a risk adverse culture of missile defense testing and promotes a more rigorous testing regime to deliver capabilities at the “speed of relevance.”
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