HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - As the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, continues to sweep through northern Iraq, U.S. lawmakers worry about the threat here in the states.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions was in Huntsville Wednesday at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium. The Senator was proud of the Huntsville community and how it's played into some of the best missile systems the nation has.
Among other pressing defense matters, Sen. Sessions also talked about the crisis in the Middle East.
"I'm sick and disheartened over what's happened in Iraq", the Senator said. "I don't believe it had to have been this way."
Senator Sessions is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. This particular committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Defense, military development, national security and all other matters generally necessary for the common defense.
He said as ISIS takes control of critical parts of Syria and Iraq, the threat in the United States grows.
"The encouragement that come's to the terrorist forces when they see success on the battlefield places us all at greater risk. So, I am deeply worried about that."
ISIS, also known simply as the Islamic State, is a breakaway group of Al Qaeda. The group claims it`s trying to recreate a fundamentalist Islamic empire encompassing parts of Iraq and Syria. ISIS has been at the forefront of much of the recent violence across both war-torn countries.
It's an alarming situation for our government leaders.
"I see other rising threats around the globe," Sessions said. "There are times when the Unites States has to assert leadership. It just has to. No one else can do it."
A lot of how we are helping our allies is supporting them in their military defense efforts. That help comes through funding and also comes from right here in the Tennessee Valley.
"Like our Missile Defense program that's so important here to Huntsville," Session said. "We see how it's working in Israel. That the Iron Dome is knocking down incoming rockets on a regular basis."
'Iron Dome' uses multiple advanced technologies to follow the path of an incoming rocket or mortar and determine if it's headed for a highly populated area.
Then, it takes those threats down, before they can land on innocent civilians. The system has emerged as a game-changer in this current round of violence.
Israel created the 'Iron Dome', and the U.S. Department of Defense helps to fund the parts that make it possible for the system to protect the people of Israel.
"We need to complete our (Iron Dome) system here in the Unites States," Sessions urged. "I think Congress is ready to do that and we'll get that done."
That missile defense system is something we help make possible right here in Huntsville. It's something that resonates through the world.
"We can make a positive difference for our national security, and for the security of our allies, and the peace of the world," said Sessions. "If we do so smartly and engage correctly."