OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - In testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on March 8, 2007, Gen. James Cartwright, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said the U.S. missile defense system maintained an operational configuration for an extended period of time surrounding the North Korean missile launch July 2006, and that it worked well.
The Project on Government Oversight, a non-government U.S. watchdog group, released a report inaccurately depicting the mission capability as degraded during North Korea's July 2006 launch.
The report claimed "A significant portion of the U.S. missile defense capability was wiped out during the summer of 2006 because torrential rains caused ground-based interceptor silos to be damaged by flood waters. "
It is accurate to state that several silos, which were under construction, were damaged by the significant rainfall. However, since these silos were still under construction, they did not contain interceptor missiles and were not part of the defense system ready to defend against missiles threatening U.S. interests. All of the 18 completed silos at Fort Greely, including the silos containing flight-ready interceptors, had no water intrusion.
These interceptor missiles remained ready in July 2006 and can be returned to an operational configuration today should they be needed for the defense of the nation.
In his prepared statement for the HASC testimony, Gen. Cartwright reiterated the utility of the missile defense system. "Because of the threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missile technology "" a credible missile defense capability is now an essential element of America's national security strategy. "
For further information, please contact U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs, (402) 294-4130.