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Homeland Security

Statement by Senator Boxer on Shoulder-Fired Missiles

January 6, 2004

I am pleased that the Department of Homeland Security is moving forward with their plan to protect commercial aircraft from the threat of shoulder-fired missiles, but their plan simply does not go far enough or move fast enough.

The bottom line is that under their plan, no commercial airplanes will be protected until at least 2006. That is not good enough.

At a minimum, we should be deploying existing technology on the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) as soon as possible, because these aircraft are contracted to the U.S. military for deployment of troops in and out hostile territories. Last year, the Senate passed my amendment which made protecting CRAF a priority.

Congress gave DHS $60 million for the development of this technology in Fiscal Year 2004, and the Administration has indicated that they will flat fund for Fiscal Year 2005- that does not signal that they want to accelerate the process.

We've heard from contractors and experts that this process could move much faster, and the fact remains that this threat is real and needs to be addressed without delay.

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