Amendment Shows Awareness of Threats Against U.S.

Our amendment would have adopted a CBO alternative proposal that reorganized the missile defense program in such a way as to eliminate programs that, quite simply, are wasteful and do not work. The amendment sought to chart a more responsible strategy for missile defense, focusing on research and development and the testing of current systems. Further, our amendment still provided for more than $4 billion in funding for Missile Defense Agency to accomplish this purpose.

Implementing a more responsible strategy at this time is clearly warranted. Seven reports issued since the beginning of this year alone - 2 from the GAO, 2 from the DOD's own Inspector General's office, 1 from the CBO, 1 from CRS and 1 from the Pentagon's Director, Operational, Test and Evaluation office - lay out the flaws with the systems.

In fact, there is substantial information critical of the DOD's "spiral development" process and the lack of accountability for this program that is seriously behind schedule, over budget and unproven. Isn't it long past time that we insist that items in progress actually be tested and built to work before additional billions of dollars are spent on immature systems? Mr. Holt and I believed so, and I was surprised that responsible Members of committees, who should know the danger of fielding unreliable systems, would object to our amendment that was consistent with an alternative put forward by the non-partisan CBO.

One Member expressed surprise that Members of the Intelligence Committee, who should be aware of the threats facing this country, would offer this amendment. I believe it is especially such Members - who are aware of the actual threats against this country, who know which threats are most urgent and who are familiar with the Missile Defense System's flawed status - that have the obligation to speak out.

As members of the Intelligence Committee, the authors of the amendment know full well that a false sense of security is dangerous to the country. The authors also know that it is incredibly shortsighted and counterproductive to fund expenditures on items that don't work, which come at the expense of systems that actually could work to protect America's space, military and domestic assets as well as fund necessary homeland security needs like port, rail, and air security, and protection of nuclear and chemical facilities.

None of the comments in opposition to the amendment came close to addressing the damning criticism of the program contained in the seven reports. I urge members to read the reports, or at least to read the analysis of the reports written by the Center for Defense Information (CDI) that is available on their website.