By Jeremy Herb
“We cannot stop testing. We must continue to test,” he added. “We cannot wait another four-and-a-half to five years to test again. And my budget, as submitted in '14, is requesting two [ground-based midcourse defense] GMD flight tests in fiscal year '14.”
The unsuccessful intercept was the third failed test in a row, and critics have pointed to it as a sign that the program is wasting money.
Proponents of missile defense, meanwhile, have faulted President Obama for not putting enough money into the program and testing. The Republican heads of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee sent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel a letter last week urging him to re-test as quickly as possible.
Durbin, a key voice in funding for the program as the Senate Defense Appropriations chairman, said Wednesday that it didn’t make sense to continue spending money on a program that hasn’t been proven effective.
“I can understand our goal. It's a worthy one to protect our nation, but spending more on weapons that are not proven I don't believe meets the president's test of weapons both proven and cost-effective,” he said Wednesday.
“This committee and Congress are being asked by some to expand the amount of money we spend on the systems at a time when testing has not proven that these systems are effective.”
The Pentagon has said it plans to deploy 14 additional ground-based interceptors in Alaska, and there has been talk in Congress about creating an additional interceptor site on the East Coast.
Asked by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) where he would spend additional funds on the program, Syring said he is looking at “big radars West and East to give us the capability of where I see the threat going the next five to 10 years.”