Israel's Protection from Iran Rests With President Obama
By Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA)
WASHINGTON - A momentous week of unveiling Iran's second nuclear site, which confirmed their intention to disperse and protect non-civilian nuclear development, coupled with their ballistic missile launches over the weekend from 90 miles to 1,200 miles requires close examination of President Obama's new direction of our nation's missile defense.
Iran has not invested nor demonstrated interest in developing or deploying large scale aircraft further exemplifying its intent to project power beyond its borders with ballistic missiles and progress down an aggressive path to become a new nuclear power that will threaten its national security interests. The overall intelligence assessment of Iran has not changed from previous National Intelligence Estimates of years past, as Iran steadily maintains its development to have ballistic capability by 2015 or earlier to strike Europe and the United States.
President Obama's new missile defense architecture has its core component of Aegis Ashore (land based SM3) to be deployed at the earliest by 2018 and a long range SM3 Block II deployed missile to protect the US and Europe from long range missiles by 2020. The previous Administration missile defense plan had deployments in place to protect Europe and the US by 2015, three to five years earlier than the current plan. This Administration is betting the security of our nation, our 80,000 deployed men and women deployed in Europe and our allies, to be unprotected and not be threatened by Iran, on a shift in their perception of an intelligence estimate by the Department of Defense that shows that Iran has slowed down its development and deployment of ballistic missiles. Our nation will put forward an estimated minimum of 3.5 billion to 4 billion U.S. tax dollars and another 1 billion dollars (if you include the cost of the Aegis ships) for a total of around 5 billion U.S. tax dollars to protect our troops, allies and friends in Europe.
For the state of Israel, the ballistic missile threat from Iran is here today - as demonstrated by the Iranian missiles fired this weekend that went beyond the range of Israel. Added to this reality, the two Iranian nuclear sites hidden and well-protected deep underground pose an excruciating national security issue for Israel and for the Middle East region. If Israel is not protected nor has adequate missile defense to prevent zero leakage from ballistic missiles on its major cities, it will be provoked to unilaterally protect itself and use pre-emptive military action. This becomes a considerable challenge when the Iranian nuclear facilities are heavily fortified underground, bunker buster bombs and air re-fuelers for Israel aircraft have to be provided by the United States with President Obama's permission, as well as the potential of a retaliatory ballistic missile strike by Iran whether Israel succeeds or not.
Israel today does not have the missile defense protection it needs as it is reliant on old, antiquated explosive technology in its Arrow program and does not have midcourse interceptors to provide a layered defense that would give an additional option to the government there. It is paramount that the United States provide elements of our current missile defense systems such as the Patriot, the THAAD, the Aegis and the future Aegis Ashore to Israel as well as support Israel's own domestic developments of missile defense as a first priority in President Obama's new missile defense architecture.
This Administration not only needs to support in resources all of what it has announced, President Obama needs to accelerate with urgency its development and deployment of his new missile defense architecture to meet the threat or face the grave consequences of putting Israel, our troops, our allies and our nation at high and unnecessary risk.
This is too high of a gamble to bet the national security of our nation and others with a positive diplomatic outcome that has a history of failures on US and international persuasion and influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Smoke and mirrors, political posturing and appeasement is not the right course of action to have confidence to protect our people and those of the world from a real and present danger.
Ellison is one of the top lay experts in missile defense in the world -