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Rogers and Cooper send letter to President urging greater missile defense funding due to North Korean threat

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley  
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) and Ranking Member Jim Cooper (D-Tennessee) sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump to help the United States better prepare and handle the most recent North Korean threats. The bill was passed in July following successful tests of North Korean missile technology.

Chairman Rogers said, “President Trump has already begun to make tremendous strides in rebuilding our National defense. And his strong stand against the North Korean threat is greatly welcomed. Today, I ask President Trump to fully support the $2.5 billion increase to ensure we are completely prepared to deal with any threat that comes out of North Korea. The funding Mr. Cooper and I have requested is the same amount that passed overwhelmingly by the House in this year’s NDAA.”

The letter stated, “The recent North Korean progress on its nuclear weapons capabilities and particularly the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests by North Korea, present an increased threat to our homeland, regional stability, and the 28,500 American service members and their families deployed to the Korean Peninsula…This proposed funding would enhance reliability and discrimination capabilities for homeland missile defense by developing space-based sensors for discrimination and increasing the number of ground-based interceptors necessary for spares and tests, increase funding for missile defense technology research, and increase procurement of THAAD and Patriot interceptors.”

Congressman Cooper said, “I believe that a world without nuclear weapons is safer for everyone. However, we cannot underestimate the importance of the nuclear triad in preventing conflicts. Nuclear deterrence has been and will continue to be critical to securing the US from a nuclear attack. While upgrading our aging nuclear arsenal with safer technologies will ensure better accuracy and reliability, the endeavor will not be cheap. Congress must prioritize and plan for an affordable, yet strong and effective nuclear deterrent.”

On July 28, North Korea successfully tested another new missile. Trump said, “North Korea’s test launch today of another intercontinental ballistic missile—the second such test in less than a month—is only the latest reckless and dangerous action by the North Korean regime. The United States condemns this test and rejects the regime’s claim that these tests—and these weapons—ensure North Korea’s security. In reality, they have the opposite effect. By threatening the world, these weapons and tests further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people. The United States will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region.”

A recent report released to Congress suggested that the North Koreans have developed the ability to miniaturize their nuclear weapons so that they can fit into the warheads of their increasingly sophisticated missile inventory.

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Following the successful test, North Korean Kim Jong Un said that the North Koreans were planning for an immediate attack on the US territory of Guam, where the US has important military assets.  After ratcheting up the tensions, Kim Jong Un has recently ordered his forces to stand down.

On Thursday, the President’s Senior Advisor Steve Bannon said in an interview with ‘The American Prospect’, “There’s no military solution (to North Korea’s nuclear threats), forget it.” “Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that 10 million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”

Rogers is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the Strategic Forces subcommittee.  Rogers represents Alabama’s Third Congressional District.

 

Original reporting by Military.com contributed to this report.

 

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