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6/27/2014 - U.S. Missile Defense Leaps Forward

U.S. Missile Defense Leaps Forward

Palo Alto, CA - June 25, 2014 -- Riki Ellison, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance,, released a statement today outlining the United States' options for moving forward with homeland missile defense in the wake of the successful intercept test on Sunday, and the need for an increasingly challenging testing regimen.   


The MDAA Chairman said "all indications show that the CE-II Kill Vehicle performed flawlessly" in Sunday's test, "validating the fixes in both the hardware and software to dampen the vibration from its rocket thrusters that caused failures in the past." Mr. Ellison said that MDA's approach "resulted in a 'routine' space intercept" which has "taken the mystery out of long range ballistic missile intercepts."

"The success of this test enables a real ability and allowance to look at a variety of options to increase the reliability of the system to reduce the shot doctrine for the first time after a decade where the only options were to either fix or ignore the current long range ground based interceptors. 


Mr. Ellison described three potential options for moving forward with the Ground Based Midcourse System, the nation's only defense against long-range ballistic missile attack.


The first option would be to "aggressively move forward with replacing and modernizing all of the prototype CE-I and CE-II interceptors with a new redesign of the kill vehicle to drastically reduce the extremely large number of possible failure points of the current kill vehicle and obsolescence of its parts while enhancing its lethality and communication." Mr. Ellison said that this option would have the greatest effect on increasing the system's reliability while reducing the system's "shot doctrine" and overall costs.


A second, "middle-ground" option would be to "replace the fleet including the 14 additional GBIs that the President has requested with a high number of CE-II interceptors with this proven test configuration eventually making it a pure fleet and leveraging current and future discrimination sensors to make it more reliable." 


A third "low-end" option would be to "keep the fleet intact enabling the current CE-IIs in the fleet to be fully operational with the test configuration and keep the existing time frame of replacement with possible minor upgrades to the existing CE-I interceptors to make them more reliable."


Regardless of the path chosen, Mr. Ellison emphasized the need for continued testing that pushes the boundaries of the system's capabilities.


"All of these options would require continued testing for more engineering breakthroughs for increasing reliability than for validation as a 'routine' test gives confidence but does not provide the steep engineering learning curve that you would receive from stretching the system. Risking failure is necessary so that you can improve the system rather than remaining stagnate with status quo." 


"Missile defense and its development is all about staying ahead of the threat, as its most valuable asset is its ability to shape peace and deter conflict without ever firing a shot in combat."


Click here to read Riki Ellison's full statement. 


Riki Ellison is available for interviews. To schedule an interview, please contact Ian Williams at, or call 703-299-0060.




MDAA Chairman Riki Ellison is available for interviews. To schedule, please contact Ian Williams at , or call 703-299-0060.

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