According to reports this week, Russia has successfully tested a highly advanced long-range ballistic missile. Information thus far suggests that this new missile is capable of bearing up to 10 independently targeted warheads, which are difficult to intercept and destroy once they have been fired. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov is quoted as saying, "As of today Russia has new (missiles) that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems. So in terms of defense and security Russian can look calmly to the country's future."

Meanwhile, over the last several months Russia has consistently expressed disapproval of the potential U.S. missile interceptor site in Central Europe, to be deployed in an effort to defend our nation and allies against any long-range missile attack from nations such as Iran. It therefore strikes me as hypocritical that a nation numbered among America's allies continues to oppose our efforts to secure strong defensive capabilities, while openly pursuing more advanced offensive weapons.

Our enemies in Iran and North Korea have clearly demonstrated their pursuit and development of advanced, intercontinental ballistic missile technology, and we would be derelict in our primary responsibility to protect American citizens if we fail to produce an adequate defense to meet these threats. Notwithstanding significant funding cuts in the recent Defense Authorization Act, the United States must continue to pursue effective defensive capabilities such as the Airborne Laser, our most promising missile defense program. If and when missiles such as those tested in Russia fall into the hands of a truly hostile nation, fully developed laser technology now being used in the Airborne Laser program may be the only technology capable of countering those types of offensive weapons.

Russia is not the only country that should be able to "look calmly to the future."