Three others are part of a missile defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense. Stripping radars from any one of the three THAAD batteries would render the systems useless and deprive our warriors of a critical defense capability.
The final Tippy Two unit is the one most likely headed to Japan. It has been reserved for technological research and testing.
Deploying this unit would have consequences. Without it, researchers will have a much harder time translating technological developments into improved missile detection on the battlefield before a disaster strikes.
Geopolitically, we also can’t underestimate the important message a successful test sends. To our citizens and friends, it’s a message of reassurance. To our enemies, it’s a powerful deterrent.
Simply put, the U.S. needs to manufacture more Tippy Twos by sticking to a commitment already made in 2011. Defense officials can do it, and the plans are there to expand the Tippy Two supply to a size proportional to the global rogue-missile threat.
The 2011 federal budget included production plans for 18 new Tippy Twos. In 2012, however, amid growing fiscal discipline calls, federal officials scaled back that order to 11. The order was then bumped up to 12 by Congress. That total still isn’t nearly enough.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein and is the author of “We Got Him! A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.” He is an infantry veteran of Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, a military analyst for Concerned Veterans for America and served as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Oklahoma Senate.