Sen. John Edwards Supports Disarming Iraq
Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), a contender for the Democratic nomination for the
White House in 2004, recently outlined his priorities for domestic and international
He said that Saddam Hussein must be disarmed because he is responsible for
the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. “Halting the spread
of weapons of mass destruction and ensuring they don’t fall into the wrong
hands, including terrorist hands, is critical to American security,” Edwards
The WMD threat goes beyond Iraq, he said. “We have to do more to support
the many disarmament programs already in place to dismantle weapons and prevent
access to weapons grade materials in Russia and the former Soviet states. …
We need to address the proliferation threat posed by North Korea, and we need
to do it in a clear, confident and consistent way.”
Although President Bush deserves credit for strengthening homeland security
programs, he said, “a new agency and new office space won’t help
us infiltrate terrorist organizations operating around the country. It won’t
stop terrorists or their weapons from getting through the holes in our borders
or our ports. In short, the homeland security bill is a perfect example of how
long it takes Washington to come up with an answer that doesn’t even solve
the problem,” Edwards said.
Fiscal 2004 Defense Budget Sent to Capitol Hill
The military services have reassessed spending priorities in drafting their
fiscal 2004 defense budget, said a senior Defense Department official. The 2004-2009
budget will reveal a shift in spending of about $90 billion from traditional
legacy programs to newer, “transformational” technologies, he said.
For example, the Army will reallocate about $20 billion. The Air Force will
shift upwards of $30 billion. The Navy is expected to move $40 billion.
“This is a lot of money that they are taking from what we have been doing
and trying to begin to make the investments against where we think we want to
go. And that is work that was driven by the services as they went through their
own budget bill process during the course of the year in response to the guidance
that they have been given by the secretary,” he said.
“There is a need for us to be looking after some of the nearer-term needs
that are generated either by the day-by-day obligations of the force or by the
fact that we find ourselves engaged in a war at the moment.”
Among the new platforms that will be funded in the 2004-2009 budget are the
F/A-18—a replacement for the EA-6B Prowler electronic jammer—and
the Joint Strike Fighter.
Revamped Missile Defense Plan in Place
The Defense Department will begin fielding missile defense capabilities in
2004. According to DFI-International, the initial capability will build on the
planned Pacific Missile Defense testbed and will “serve as a starting
point for fielding improved, layered missile defense capabilities later.”
Planned capabilities for 2004 and 2005 will include “up to 20 ground-based
interceptors capable of intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic
missiles during the midcourse phase of flight.
Sixteen interceptors will be located at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and four will
be located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Also, 20 sea-based interceptors
will be placed on Navy Aegis ships.
In addition, by 2004 or 2005, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system
is set to become operable.
Air Force Institute, Naval Postgrad School Form Alliance
The secretaries of the Navy and the Air Force signed an agreement to form an
alliance between the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), located at Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), in Monterey,
The partnership is designed to provide servicemen and women with a “relevant,
high-quality education that is more aligned with defense needs while eliminating
duplicate degree programs and consolidating educational resources,” according
to a Defense Department news release.
NPS will be the lead institution for meteorology and acquisition management,
while AFIT will offer an aeronautical engineering curriculum for Air Force and
“By working together, we hope to minimize redundancy at each institution
while still providing a world-class education in which officers from all services
can engage in education and research programs in a joint environment,”
said Air Force Secretary James Roche.
“This is a tremendous effort to maximize the strengths of both AFIT and
NPS and form solid alliances for a truly joint environment,” said Navy
Secretary Gordon England.