Commentary: Alaska missile defense cuts won't hurt U.S.

Alaska's three members of Congress are still trying to ward off the cuts the Obama administration has proposed in missile defense work at Alaska's Fort Greely. They are doing what members of Congress do — defending a huge pipeline of federal money for work located in their home state. But this is a classic case where the parochial interests of one state differ from what's best for the nation as a whole.

While more missiles at Fort Greely would be good for Alaska, adding them now, while the missile defense system is still unproven, will not give the nation more protection.

Sixteen missiles are in place, in two separate fields at Greely, and 10 more are in the works, Army Col. George Bond told the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

That total, along with four based in California, "are more than sufficient to protect" the country "for the near term," he told the media afterward.

Right now, no likely adversary has missiles that can reach populated areas of Alaska. North Korea's most recent missile test was an embarrassing failure. Iran doesn't have long-range missiles, either. Russia does, but it's not considered a threat these days. Fort Greely missiles are not designed to protect against Russia, Col. Bond said Monday.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.