Opinion: US should invest more in missile defense

Kevin Griffin

Tyler SpaughThe situation in North Korea has many on high alert, and for good reason.

Though it lacks military or economic power, North Korea does possess several nuclear warheads, according to the Institute for Science and International Security.

While it seems that the current situation with North Korea will not go very far, it hopefully will highlight the issues with our missile defense system.

It is time we start to make missile defense a higher priority.

Currently, the United States has ground-based missiles that will attempt to intercept the incoming missile in mid-flight.

This system has failed multiple tests in the past four years, according to Reuters.

A real world failure like this could cost millions of lives, in addition to great economic devastation if the nuclear missile hit a major U.S. city.
But there is a viable alternative to these systems.

President Ronald Reagan attempted to develop a program known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. The plan involved powerful lasers on tracking satellite that would destroy incoming missiles.

In the 1980s, we didn’t have the ability to do this, but we do now.

We already have missile-tracking satellites, and the Airborne Laser Test Bed has shown that these lasers can take out missiles, according to Boeing, the system’s designer.

The lasers have the potential to shoot down nuclear missiles over the nation that launched it.

The plan’s main advantage is that it would be able to defend vital U.S. interests such as military GPS and communications satellites in the event of an attack.

Some development is still needed to make the lasers fully capable of taking out missiles from space, but the potential benefits are too great not to try. We should continue to fund missile defense, and cut spending elsewhere.

Spaugh, a freshman accounting major from Winston-Salem, is an opinion writer.