The Edmond Sun


February 12, 2014

Mounting threats demand missile defense

EDMOND — The South Korean government just confirmed what the world hoped was a baseless rumor. North Korea has indeed restarted its Yongbyon plutonium reactor and is now actively generating nuclear energy from the facility. Refined plutonium generated by such a reactor can be used in the development of long-range nuclear weapons — a decades-long goal of the Kim regime.

This development serves as a stark reminder that America must continue to invest in missile defense. North Korea remains bent on creating and possibly even launching ordnance capable of hitting the United States and its allies. In light of the regime’s longstanding propensity for erratic and highly irrational behavior, this goal clearly demands an American response.

But diplomacy has repeatedly failed to dissuade the regime. America is left to dictate the future of its own security. Fortunately, modern missile defense technologies are capable of defending our nation against this mounting threat.

America’s missile defense program is the brainchild of Ronald Reagan. When he announced the initiative in 1983, critics dismissed it as pure science fiction, a “Star Wars” fantasy. But since then, missile defense technologies have proven themselves time and again. These systems work.

The first major missile defense breakthrough came in 1991, during Operation Desert Storm. American soldiers successfully deployed the Patriot System to intercept incoming Iraqi scud missiles and protect allied military encampments.

Our soldiers saw the power of missile defense for the first time. Since then, the federal government has poured serious resources into developing new technologies.

Those dollars have paid off. The American military now has a number of proven systems capable of detecting, tracking and shooting down a wide variety of missiles.

In September, two medium-range ballistic missiles were successfully intercepted in the first operational test of new systems called “THAAD” and “Aegis.” This display was all the more impressive because the sailors, soldiers and airman who conducted it were not given specific details about when or where the test would occur. It came out of nowhere. And the systems still performed flawlessly.

Then, in October, the latest version of the “BMD” missile defense system successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile during a test. The BMD runs on naval ships. It can be positioned close enough to global hot spots to counteract rogue missile launches, but far enough away from the action to keep our military personnel out of harm’s way.

THAAD, Aegis, BMD and other systems are ready for action. And there are several more technologies in earlier stages of development that could prove even more effective than these three.

We need these technologies now more than ever. The rogue missile threat has never been more acute — and it’s growing each day.

It’s not just North Korea. Rogue nations and groups that seek to enhance their international power can do so most readily through asymmetrical means. They will co-opt militant groups to act as agents of conflict, utilize cyber warfare and pursue weapons of mass destruction.

Indeed, Iran supports Hezbollah, regularly deploys its elite, disruptive “Qods Force,” and actively pursues nuclear weapons. This strategy has propelled it to the forefront of international politics and enhanced Iran’s regional power in a way that mere conventional arms could not.

The United States needs to properly prepare itself. As the missile threat evolves, so must our capabilities. That means continuing to invest in both the refinement of existing, proven systems and the development of new, more effective technologies better matched to future threats.

Missile defense was once dismissed as a fantasy. It’s now proven itself to be very much a reality. We have technologies that work. We must continue to develop them to meet the mounting missile threat.

RICK NELSON, a vice president at Cross Match Technologies, is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he directed the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program from 2009 through 2012.

Text Only
  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
     View Results