With North Korea continuing to test ballistic missiles, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has teamed up with senators from both parties to call for increased defenses.
On Tuesday, Rubio teamed up with a host of senators--including Republicans Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Gary Peters of Michigan and Brian Schatz of Hawaii--to bring out the “Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act.”
The proposal would combine current efforts, harnessing Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, Aegis Ashore, and Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems together. It would also create 28 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) and accelerate advanced interceptor technologies. Under the legislation, reports would be authorized to examine adding 100 GBIs across the nation.
Speaking about why the legislation was needed, Rubio pointed to North Korea’s continued missile tests.
“The North Korean regime continues to be a clear and present danger to America and the world with its unwavering development of nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missiles,” said Rubio. “It is our duty to do everything we can to ensure we are prepared in the event of a nuclear threat. That is why I am proud to support the Advancing America's Missile Defense Act of 2017, legislation that would advance our defense system to keep our homeland safe.”
Cruz, who like Rubio ran for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2016 election cycle, insisted this legislation would help enact President Ronald Reagan’s defense vision.
“The success of our modern ground- and sea-based missile defenses underscore the moral clarity and prescient outlook Ronald Reagan exhibited in the 1980’s in his mission to protect our citizens from ballistic missile threats,” said Cruz. “While our adversaries are increasingly focused on ballistic missile capabilities, we must ensure our missile defense architecture outpaces their developing threats. This bill is a statement of rededication to Reagan’s vision, particularly its attention to space-based sensors, and I hope all my colleagues will come together to invest in the security of the American people.”