Protecting the country

Two somewhat related items this week should be used by the state’s congressional delegation to remind their colleagues in Washington how important Hawaii is to the country’s defense.

On Tuesday, North Korea defied even its strongest ally, China, and conducted what it termed a “successful” nuclear test. Reports from its state media said the lighter, smaller nuclear bomb was exploded underground.

It said that while the bomb was smaller, it was more powerful than the country’s first two nuclear tests.

The nuclear test followed a rocket launch in December by the North that put a satellite in orbit.

Later Tuesday, a Pearl Harbor-based cruiser shot down a ballistic missile launched off Kauai from the Pacific Missile Range. The intercept was the 24th successful one in 30 attempts using the Aegis Ballistic Missile System, according to a story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The ship used in the shootdown was one of 26 warships equipped with the Aegis system.

Our delegation in Washington needs to use these two events to remind the rest of Congress about the geographic importance of Hawaii in the defense of the U.S. With the threatened sequester of defense funds, our senators and representatives need to step up and make sure funding for defense in the Pacific is not cut back.

This will be the first test of a possible “Inouye Cliff” in funds for Hawaii. These funds, though, are not pork. They are essential military funds needed to protect the country from rogue nations like North Korea.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.