SEN. CRUZ: You know, I would note that the president’s budget, while not accounting for sequestration, nonetheless cuts $500 million for missile defense. And in my judgment, particularly given the threats we are seeing from North Korea, the potential threat we have from the nation of Iran, reducing our commitment to missile defense at this point seems ill-advised.
And indeed, our current posture on missile defense is at a minimum of two (miles ?), in that we are right now deploying a FAD system to Guam and at the same time reinstating ground-based interceptors that have been canceled in Alaska, both of which I think are reasonable and positive responses to the threat we’re seeing. And yet, that seems inconsistent with reducing funding for missile defense. And it seems in many ways driven by our enemies rather than a comprehensive strategic plan for missile defense. And I would welcome the thoughts of either Secretary Hagel or General Dempsey on that issue.
GEN. DEMPSEY: Well, I think in the interest of time, Senator — I think I’d be happy to have someone kind of give you a lay-down of the way ahead, you know, what we’ve done this year, why and where we think this is all going.
I would also say, you know, ballistic missile defense is a(n) important investment.
It’s also — it can get to be extraordinarily expensive.
And so one of the things we have to do is balance defense and offense. I often use the phrase that at some point you have to stop worrying about the arrow and start worrying about the archer. And I would suggest to our potential adversaries that we haven’t forgotten that we also have capabilities to deal with the archer. [emphasis mine.]
SEN. CRUZ: Thank you, General. I look forward to that ongoing discussion. And I would thank all three of you for being here.
The above exchange between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) took place at the Senate Armed Services Committee’s April 17 hearing on the Fiscal Year 2014 Pentagon budget request.