In less than two weeks the world will find out if North Korea will decide to follow through with the six-nation agreement to shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.  Throughout this process it is essential that the U.S. and our allies show our resolve to stand by the agreement. Use of our Pacific Fleet to demonstrate that resolve is critically important.

There are currently 16 Aegis Ships in the Pacific Fleet with missile tracking capability and 7 of those 16 are able to launch the 20 sea based missile defense interceptors that have been fielded.  The surveillance and tracking equipment and interceptors that comprise our missile defense systems currently deployed with the Pacific Fleet are tax dollars well spent.

North Korea’s commitment to the six-nation talks and the subsequent agreement by North Korea to turn off its nuclear facilities warrants a deployed and fully operational missile defense system to provide public safety rather than relying just on their rationale and history of failing to follow through on international agreements.

We as a nation must not resort to military preemptive action if North Korea does not abide by its agreement to shut down its nuclear facilities.  Missile defense provides us with an additional option.  Future North Korean coercion can be limited and its ballistic missile programs made obsolete by fielding an operational missile defense capability.

Our country needs to continue developing and deploying missile defense systems to assure stability in the region of the Far East, especially for our allies and armed forces deployed in Japan and Korea.  With our currently deployed force of 17 ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska, PAC-3 batteries in Japan, and our sea-based missile defense capability, we can move forward in confidence that continued support of our missile defense programs will help ensure safety and protection for the American people and our friends and allies across the world in the coming years.