Armed Services chairman urges missile defense spending hike, citing rogue states

Special to

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The United States should invest more in missile defense given repeated missile testing by Iran and North Korea, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has said.

“Actors around the world are building missiles that are harder to stop,” U.S. House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry said. / AFP

Representative Mac Thornberry’s comments on Feb. 6 came after the Trump administration last week imposed new sanctions on Tehran over ballistic-missile tests, which Tehran insists are for defensive purposes.

“If you look at what’s happening around the world, I would mention Iran and North Korea, the importance of missile defense is increasing,” Thornberry told reporters in Washington, arguing that improved missile-defense technology is needed.

“Actors around the world are building missiles that are harder to stop,” he said.

The United States and South Korea plan to deploy an $800 million advanced missile-defense system in South Korea later this year to counter increasing threats from North Korea.

Thornberry said the Republican-led Congress is moving to end the strict limits on U.S. military spending negotiated with former President Barack Obama, paving the way for higher defense spending.

“I think we have a tremendous opportunity to do the right thing,” he said. “There’s more of the federal budget being looked at, in play, if you will, than has been the case for many years.”