White House Should Not Duck Its Responsibility to Shield the United States

Two modified Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) Block IV interceptors are launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a Missile Defense Agency test to intercept a short-range ballistic missile target June 5, 2008 in the Pacific Ocean west of Kauai, Hawaii. The missile, one of two launched, intercepted the target approximately 12 miles high on the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This was the second of two successful intercepts of the sea-based terminal capability and the fourteenth overall successful test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program.
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“Duck and Cover” has been replaced by its 21st-century incarnation: “Shield Yourself.” This no doubt marks the zenith of the Obama Administration’s nuclear preparedness plan (sarcasm intended), as outlined in a recent government report detailing the methods for increasing survivability rates in the case of a nuclear blast.

Unfortunately, such trivialities belie the dangerous path upon which America inexorably moves, one marked by unpredictable adversaries whose nuclear ambitions outpace America’s defensive maneuvers.

Instead of stating the obvious, such as staying indoors in the event of a nuclear explosion, the Obama Administration would be well served to adopt a more literal, macro interpretation of their new slogan. Instead of abandoning much of the progress made in missile defense during the Bush Administration, President Obama should readopt a posture of aggressive missile defense deployment.

To be certain, the President’s pending treaty known as New START, currently awaiting Senate deliberation and approval, undermines America’s missile defense capabilities by restricting its implementation. It further allows for the maintenance of a disproportionate Russian advantage in tactical nuclear arms. As cited by the Heritage Foundation, “The Russian advantage poses a significant challenge for the U.S. in maintaining a credible extended deterrence policy for the benefit of its allies.”

President Obama should demand full funding for missile defense objectives and endeavor to provide the continental United States with blanket coverage against nuclear attacks from rogue regimes. Our missile defense objectives should also extend to our friends and allies throughout the world and provide robust coverage in the event that a nuclear-armed adversary makes use of weapons of mass destruction.

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Tensions in the Yellow Sea and instability throughout the Middle East foster an international environment that increasingly threatens U.S. interests both at home and abroad. The Obama Administration can do far more in protecting the American homeland by decisively taking proactive steps to increasing our defensive capabilities, not undermining our national security efforts through rhetorical hokum.

The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

Scott Erickson has worked in the field of law enforcement for the past decade and holds both his B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice Studies. He is a contributor to The Daily Caller and writes on myriad political, national security, and counterterrorism issues. His blog can be found at www.scottgerickson.com.

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