Senator Collins Questions Director of Missile Defense Agency on ‘Extremely High’ Risk of North Korea, Iran Adopting Missile Technology from China, Russia

Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ Q&A at the Appropriations Subcommittee hearing

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins questioned Lieutenant General Samuel A. Greaves, Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), at a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today on the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2019.  The MDA is requesting $9.9 billion for missile-defense systems to counter threats from ballistic missiles. 


As a senior member of the Subcommittee, Senator Collins met with General Greaves yesterday one-on-one in her Washington, D.C., office to discuss the wide range of threats facing the country.  She followed up on their conversation at this morning’s hearing: “General, yesterday when we talked in my office we discussed the development of hypersonic missile technology by China and Russia. Today, I’d like to ask you another question about that.  What do you assess as the risk of this technology proliferating to countries like North Korea or Iran?”


In response, General Greaves stated that the risk is “extremely high” and is “something that we need to address expediently.”


Following the General’s alarming characterization of this risk, Senator Collins asked how we should “weigh where we put our resources given the number of serious threats that we face?”


General Greaves responded that while the MDA is in the process of reviewing how we orient our missiles defense resources and that the results from that review will shape the priority going forward, he made it clear that, at a minimum, we will have to address the ability of this technology to proliferate from Russia and China to rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.


MDA is charged with the mission to develop, test, and field an integrated, layered, Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) to defend the United States, its deployed forces, and allies against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.  In September, Congress approved a $416 million reprograming request to reallocate defense funds towards missile defense.  In December, as part of a continuing resolution funding the government through January 2019, Congress provided $4.7 billion in emergency funding for urgent missile defense activities, primarily to counter increasing threats from North Korea.