U.S. Official Defends Spending on NATO Missile Shield, Under GOP Attack
By Rachel Oswald
June 25, 2013
WASHINGTON — A senior State Department official on Friday said that a ballistic missile shield being established in Europe would contribute to defending the U.S. homeland, despite a recent decision to toss out plans for an advanced ICBM interceptor site in Poland.
In March, the Pentagon canceled plans to develop and field in Poland the Standard Missile 3 Block 2B interceptor, which would have been used principally to protect the United States, due to concerns about the utility of the weapon and its technological feasibility. Nonetheless, some Republicans on Capitol Hill are advancing past arguments that Washington spends too much on European missile defense at the expense of homeland defense.
The expenditures in Europe have particularly come under debate as the Obama administration and Capitol Hill contemplate cuts in military spending as part of overall federal deficit reduction.
An amendment to the House version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill, which the Republican-dominated lower chamber passed earlier this month, would order the executive branch to seek funding from fellow NATO members to pay part of the costs of the phased adaptive antimissile system.
The Obama team in 2009 announced it would offer this system to the alliance as its national contribution to collective missile defense. At that time, there was no corresponding U.S. demand that NATO members foot part of the bill for the project, though a number of countries are also developing antimissile capabilities that are to be integrated into the U.S.-European Phased Adaptive Approach, sometimes termed “EPAA.”
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