Gates supports missile defense despite budget cuts

May 14, 2009 9:26:04 AM PDT
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is defending his plans to trim more than a billion dollars from the planned system to build a broad missile shield for the U.S. and its allies. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Gates says he's been a supporter of the concept since the days of Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed "Star Wars" by its opponents.

But Gates says some of the current program was wasteful or unrealistic.

He told supporters of the system in Congress on Thursday that the U.S. doesn't need 14 more missile interceptors to defend against a technologically unsophisticated North Korea.

He says he's starting over with another troubled part of the system and making other changes. He didn't address plans to base part of the system in Europe.

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