Heartbeat and Life Flow

April 05, 2012

Dear Members and Friends,

Being able to sustain and provide a mobile global presence is vital.

Located 65 miles downriver from our Nation’s Capital on the banks of the Potomac River in Dahlgren, Virginia is the heartbeat and lifeblood of the United States Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). A global mobile missile defense system that is growing, proven, tested and deployed on 22 Aegis BMD Ships today, scheduled to be on 33 Aegis BMD ships by 2018 as well as on ships from allied nations. A global mobile missile defense system that is so vital it is being directed by our nation’s National Security Council and our Combatant Commanders to prevent conflict, maintain peace, defend those that can’t defend themselves, and mitigate the consequences and aftermath of unilateral actions by rogue countries.

  • In response to the concerned nations in the Pacific region of North Korea’s announcement of its upcoming long range missile test, U.S. Aegis BMD ships of the U.S. 7th Fleet home ported in Yokosuka, Japan have been put out to sea for protection of our allies in the region from the debris, the staging parts, and the actual North Korean missile if it fails.
  • The nation of Israel relies solely on U.S. Aegis BMD ships from the U.S. 6th Fleet off its coast in the Mediterranean Sea for the first line of defense of interceptor shots high in space.
  • The Persian Gulf countries through the Strait of Hormuz and all of our nation’s U.S. forward operating bases and troops located in the vicinity rely on the U.S. Aegis BMD ships from the U.S. 5th Fleet home ported in Pearl Harbor and San Diego for the first and highest shots on potential incoming ballistic missiles from Iran.
  • The countries of Japan and South Korea rely on U.S. Aegis BMD ships from the 7th Fleet as well as Japanese Kongo Class Aegis BMD ships for the first and highest intercept shots on potential incoming missiles from North Korea.
  • U.S. Aegis BMD ships protect and defend key straits and sea-lanes around the world as well as our nation’s deployed Aircraft Carrier Battle groups from ballistic missiles.
  • Additional Aegis BMD ships are needed to surge capability for crisis areas around the world that would be threatened by ballistic missiles.
  • Land Based Aegis BMD Ashore sites in Romania in 2105 and Poland in 2018, as well as additional Aegis BMD ships from the 6th Fleet have been committed to NATO for the protection of Europe from Iranian ballistic missiles.

This naval Aegis BMD capability can independently and collectively sense, warn, track, discriminate, provide fire solutions, launch interceptors and intercept ballistic missile threats in all weather conditions day or night, provide kill assessment, fire multiple shots, go on the offense, and provide a quick response where the missile was launched from.

The Director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O’Reilly stated last week that there are over 6,000 ballistic missiles not in the possession of our allies, China and Russia and there are 12 countries producing developing and deploying their own ballistic missiles.

The clear and resounding issue remains that our nation does not have enough Aegis BMD ship platforms and not enough interceptor missiles on these ships to do all the vital missions listed above. A constant presence of one deployed Aegis BMD ship takes a total of three Aegis BMD ships that rotate from refitting, to coming off deployment, to deployment every nine months. There have been roughly 120 SM3 1A missiles bought and deployed as the nation waits for production and purchase of the next version SM3-1B interceptor, which has to undergo five successful tests this year before it goes into production. Our Military cannot viably do the job with 120 interceptors and 22 Aegis BMD ships. It is without a doubt that for our national security and for our global security, we need more Aegis BMD ships and more interceptors. They are the lifeblood of our ability to globally defend and protect our forces and our allies as well as provide tracking for defense of our homeland.

To this capability is the all-inclusive naval base in Dahlgren, Virginia where Aegis BMD is developed, acquired, trained and taught. This Naval base houses the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command (How to war fight with Aegis BMD and advocacy within the U.S. Navy), the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Complex (Development and Acquisition of Aegis BMD systems with the Missile Defense Agency) and the Aegis Training and Readiness Center (Training and school house for all enlisted Fire Control man and Naval Officers that will be deployed on Aegis BMD platforms).

MDAA had the honor to visit Dahlgren last week to recognize and meet some of the sailors and officers stationed there for what they do in keeping our nation safe.

It is the heart beat of Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense.

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