Gardner Amendment Urges Bolstered Missile Defense System in South Korea

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced an amendment to S.2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA), which provides funding for the Department of Defense (DoD). The amendment recognizes the growing threat North Korea’s ballistic missile program poses to South Korea, and calls for strengthening the United States’ existing missile defense capabilities in South Korea to protect the 28,500 American servicemen and women stationed in South Korea, our allies, and Americans abroad. 


Specifically, the amendment expresses support for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, which will complement and significantly bolster existing missile defense technology. The amendment follows recent rocket launches, including a ballistic missile test from a submarine, that highlight North Korea’s growing provocative actions. According to reports, South Korea has fielded 700 short-range ballistic missiles, 200 medium-range ballistic missiles, and 100 intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Last year, Gardner visited South Korea and had the opportunity to meet with President Park Geun-hye and discuss the North Korean threat.


“North Korea’s growing number of ballistic missile launches must be met with additional action from the United States in the form of bolstered defense for our ally, South Korea, and Americans abroad,” said Gardner. “My amendment would strengthen existing missile defense capabilities on the South Korean peninsula, and send yet another signal to the maniac in Pyongyang that the United States will not stand by as it bullies its neighbors and threatens stability in the region.”


Gardner, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, authored the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, legislation that President Obama signed into law earlier this year. The North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act imposes mandatory sanctions on individuals who contribute to North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, malicious cyberattacks, censorship of its citizens, and the regime’s continued human rights abuses. This legislation is the first passed by Congress to impose mandatory sanctions on cybercriminals, a drastic new direction away from the current discretionary sanctions. In March, the Administration began implementing sanctions outlined in Gardner’s bill and in April, Gardner met with the lead Treasury Department official responsible for enforcing sanctions against North Korea and urged the application of sanctions on foreign entities that contribute to North Korea’s illicit activites.




Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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