October 17, 2018

Defense, military readiness transcend partisan politics | Dominion Post

As our politics become increasingly polarized it is easy to get discourages about bipartisanship. But as Senators from West Virginia and Alaska we prove there is plenty of common ground where we can work together. Although separated by more than 3,000 miles we share a common concern for the defense and protection of Americans everywhere. With this in mind we have found numerous ways to reach across the aisle and work in the best interests of Alaskans and West Virginians.

In October 2016, Senator Manchin led a Congressional Delegation trip to Alaska and parts of Asia to examine the readiness of our Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) systems. Senator Sullivan hosted a portion of the trip where we toured the missile field at Fort Greely and early warning radar systems located in Alaska. With 40 interceptors Fort Greely is one of two facilities in the United States capable of intercepting nuclear armed ballistic missiles launched by a hostile foreign power.

Both Iran and North Korea possess and are continuing to pursue ballistic missile capabilities. The ability for them to be intercepted by the United States is important to deterring this reckless behavior. 

During the tour we met the Soldiers and Airmen who crew the missile launch and early warning systems at all times, 24 hours a day and 365 days of the year to protect the United States from any rogue nation’s ballistic missile threat. These service members deserve our support and admiration as they work as a team to counter any threats to the United States, just as politicians should team together on critical issues.    

When Senator Sullivan introduced his Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017, Senator Manchin was proud to be an original co-sponsor.  This legislation included authorizing additional ground-based interceptors, accelerating development and deployment of satellites, and authorizations for increased testing. Provisions of this original bill were included in the FY18 NDAA.

For us, America’s military readiness and our ability to defend ourselves transcends party. This is what West Virginians and Alaskans expect of us. We will continue looking for ways we can work together to keep our nation safe.

By:  Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Dan Sullivan