Inhofe Wants $100M Commitment to U.S. Nuclear Defense System Against North Korea

Dec 4, 2017

A long-range ground-based interceptor missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California. Sen. Jim Inhofe believes such missiles can be used in a nuclear defense system that monitors North Korea with drones.
Credit U.S. Department of Defense

Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe wants funding for a nuclear missile defense system that could be operational within a year and a half.

Inhofe and Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan told the Senate Appropriations Committee they support the Trump administration’s request for $4 billion to spend on missile defense. North Korea’s launched an intercontinental ballistic missile 2,800 miles into space last week. Inhofe said the test indicates North Korea could hit the mainland U.S. with a nuclear attack.

"They have the range that would reach the continental United States, and they've proven that they have a missile that can do that," Inhofe said. "Now, the only argument they use is they say, 'Well, this may not have had a payload. Maybe they couldn't have done that with a payload, actually had that kind of a range.' Well, that doesn't give me much comfort."

"We're in the most threatened position we've been in as a nation, and now it's a lot easier to believe that," Inhofe said.

Inhofe and Sullivan asked the appropriations committee to earmark $100 million from Trump’s request to quickly develop a nuclear attack safety net made up of drones that detect nuclear launches and trigger an intercepting missile.

"President Reagan, we remember back — President Reagan, how everyone ridiculed him," Inhofe said. "'Star Wars,' hitting a bullet with a bullet, you know, they thought that was pretty funny at that time. Right now, everything that he said was going to happen is happening."

Inhofe and Sullivan told the appropriations committee a defense system could be operational in 12 to 18 months.