Opinion

Protect America first, Mr. Obama!

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Chet Nagle
Former CIA Agent
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      Chet Nagle

      Naval Academy graduate and Cold War carrier pilot, Chet Nagle flew in the Cuban Missile Crisis. After a stint as a navy research officer, he joined International Security Affairs as a Pentagon civilian -- then came defense and intelligence work, life abroad for 12 years as an agent for the CIA, and extensive time in Iran, Oman, and many other countries. Along the way, he graduated from the Georgetown University Law School and was the founding publisher of a geo-political magazine, The Journal of Defense & Diplomacy, read in over 20 countries and with a circulation of 26,000. At the end of his work in the Middle East, he was awarded the Order of Oman in that allied nation’s victory over communist Yemen; now, he writes and consults. He and his wife Dorothy live in Virginia.

Last Friday, millions of Americans from Illinois to the Delmarva Peninsula were hit by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) missile: no lights, no air conditioning, no Internet, no cellphones and no refrigerators for their insulin. Actually, it was a storm called a “derecho,” but its effects were similar to that of an EMP missile. EMP? Look it up. It will horrify you. But then, you think, if it had been an EMP warhead, our homeland missile defense system would have destroyed it — right? Wrong.

According to a Rasmussen poll conducted in April, 40 percent of American voters believe we have an effective system to shoot down missiles aimed at our homeland. Those voters have been misinformed by the Obama White House. Yes, there is a system with four interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and 20 more at Fort Greeley in Alaska. When they work, they are what protect us from North Korean and Chinese missiles. But West Coast interceptors do nothing to defend the U.S. from attacks from the south, nor do they guard the East Coast from the missile-carrying ships that Iran has often threatened to bring close to our shores.

Nevertheless, in February 2010 the Obama administration released a report claiming that our missile technologies have produced a reliable and robust defense for the United States. Three months later, in May, the non-partisan Arms Control Association said that the report was “nothing more than a fiction.”

Adding to the failures and smokescreens, President Obama’s 2013 budget slashes $810 million from current missile defense programs, plus a staggering $3.6 billion cut over the next five years.

Congressman Michael Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, said in April that the president’s drastic cuts are “consistent with what candidate Obama said in the 2008 campaign — that he doesn’t ‘agree with a missile defense system.’” We just weren’t listening back then.

But there still is a way to rapidly assemble a defense against missile threats from North Korea, China and the long-range missile base Iran is building in Venezuela. President Obama knows that way, and he is using it to build a real anti-missile defense system. Problem is, he’s building it for Europe, not America. It is called the European Phased Adaptive Approach, with 24 ICBM interceptors in Romania and 24 in Poland. They will be operative in 36 months, after American taxpayers foot the entire enormous cost of President Obama’s latest contribution to the defense of Europe.

The European missile shield will work because it depends on shore-based versions of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis system, which features the SM-3 — the spectacular Standard Missile. The Standard Missile is a proven missile-killer, with 21 successful intercepts. A week ago its newest version, the SM-3/1B, detected and destroyed a warhead over Hawaii even after it separated from the larger missile body. The Obama administration’s 2013 budget rewards those successes by slashing $300 million from the 1B program, cutting production to just 29 missiles instead of the planned 62. At the same time, the budget adds $224 million to start designing an experimental missile that will ultimately cost billions and will not result in a single interceptor until 2021, if then.