Aloha Friend, April 20, 2016
Last week, I joined a House Armed Services’ Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on the United States’ strategy for missile defense and capability to defeat missiles. I am focused on protecting Hawaii as new threats emerge. I asked about our nation’s defense capability in the Pacific region, particularly against recent North Korean aggression.
Hawaii plays a strategic role in our country’s defense because of its unique location. But at the same time, our location puts us closest to some of these emerging threats and makes Hawaii vulnerable to attack. I asked the testifying witnesses to consider expediting use of new technologies for advanced radar capability. Similarly, I asked about operationalizing the AEGIS Ashore Facility, currently a testing site that sits at Barking Sands on Kauai.
Converting the facility on Kauai to a defensive position has been studied before, and comes with the challenge of cost, manning, and a need for more advanced radar. The Department of Defense would need to add personnel to make it more active, and also need to integrate the site into the larger U.S. ballistic missile defense system.
North Korea appears relentless; and will continue test after nuclear test, before it perfects its missile capability. It’s only a matter of time before North Korea has a missile capable of reaching the Pacific United States.
Operationalizing the Aegis Ashore means that not only will Hawaii benefit from the additional security to the United States, but the measure is job-creating and good for Hawaii’s economy.
That is why I have included an amendment in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that would provide funding for planning and design of advanced missile detection radar. This will drive us in the direction of taking more of the necessary steps to ensure that Hawaii remains protected against emerging threats in the Asia-Pacific region.
Congressman Mark Takai