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Legislation Introduced to Strengthen US Missile Defenses

June 10, 2018, 8:00 AM HST
* Updated June 8, 4:02 PM
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A new bill to strengthen America’s missile defense systems has been introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

S. 2980, the Integrated Missile Defense Act of 2018, builds upon last year’s bipartisan Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017, addressing rogue missile threats in Hawai‘i, Alaska and the U.S. mainland.

“When it comes to North Korea, we can hope for the best while still planning for the worst,” said Sen. Schatz.

Schatz said he strongly supports diplomacy efforts, but the legislation would offer protection in the meantime.

“It also speeds up our efforts to protect U.S. forces and allies in the region by improving our ability to detect, track, discriminate, and intercept increasingly sophisticated future missile threats,” he said.

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According to Sen. Sullivan, the new bill authorizes the full development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer.

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“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,” said Sullivan.

Highlights of S. 2980:

    • Develops and deploys space-based sensors: mandates the development deployment of space-based sensors as soon as practicable;
    • Readies defenses: mandates an analysis of accelerating the development and deployment of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) 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 defenses against hypersonic threats: directs the acceleration of hypersonic missile defenses and links them to the deployment of space-based sensors.
    • Focuses of allies: expresses that the U.S. should work with allies and trusted partners to share missile defense capabilities.
    • More rigorous testing: seeks to discourage a risk-averse culture of missile defense testing and promotes a more rigorous testing regime to deliver capabilities at the “speed of relevance.”

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

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