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Missile defense system planned for East Coast?

US Rep. Jerrold Nadler says a proposed missile defense system for the East Coast is a waste of taxpayer money. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Nadler calls it a waste of money

Does New York City need a Star Wars-like missile defense system? A defense appropriations bill in the House contains $70.2 million for an East Coast missile defense system, according to US Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who said he thinks it’s a waste of money.

Nadler (D-Bensonhurst-parts of Manhattan) is joining US Rep John Garamendi (D-California) and US Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) to try to get the funding cut from the appropriations bill.

The three lawmakers have jointly introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill to eliminate the $70.2 million from the proposed legislation.

Nadler charged that the missile defense system wouldn’t help New Yorkers and other East Coast residents because it wouldn’t defend against the types of threats the nation faces in the 21st Century.

“This weapons program doesn’t match any threat to New York that will occur in the near future and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars,” Nadler said. “Congress must understand that in order to keep New Yorkers – and all Americans – safe, we need to fund a military that is equipped to deal with the security challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

Nadler said military leaders are on his side in this debate. “Military leaders have repeatedly said that they don’t need this unproven and unnecessary weapons system. Members of congress should stop forcing their pet programs into the defense bill, especially when the Pentagon says that it is unnecessary,” he said.

 Garamendi called the proposed defense system a “boondoggle.”

He predicted that the system wouldn’t work in any event. “This boondoggle lavishes millions of taxpayer dollars on a project that the Department of Defense and outside experts have said is not needed and will not work. Instead, we should invest this money in effective 21st Century national security programs, in proven investments for job creation such as infrastructure, or in responsibly reducing the deficit,” he said.

“It is critical that we allocate our resources to fund defense projects that ensure Americans are safe, rather than fund failed missile systems that our military leaders do not believe should be a priority,” Polis said.

 In a June 10 letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Michigan), Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, and Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, commander of the Joint Functional Command for Integrated Missile Defense, wrote, “There is no validated military requirement to deploy an East Coast missile defense site.”

Admiral Syring also told the http://armedservices.house.gov/ House Armed Services Committee earlier this year that he would not be able to use additional funds for an East Coast site this year because the Pentagon has only begun to study the concept.

Besides, said Nadler, a recent test of the ground-based mid-course system was a miserable failure. He said that’s another reason not to rush forward with deployment.

 

 

 

 

July 24, 2013 - 9:00am


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