Dear Members and Friends,
In the upper waters of the East China Sea between the Korean peninsula and China mainland, off the coast of Inchon, Korea, navy war ships from Korea, Japan, and the United States participated together in a show of unification in exercising integrated military force along with Korean and U.S. land and air forces to clearly demonstrate their joint fight capability against North Korea. This powerful symbolic demonstration stands above as it unites Korea, Japan, and the United States on military ships, at sea, as a single unified multilateral force platform against North Korea rather than the current bilateral military relationships between the U.S. and Korea and the U.S. and Japan.
A joint force, that overcomes its historic past to join together, brings solidarity and consequently more resources and capabilities that send a significant message to North Korea in deterring conflict and changing the calculus of a North Korean decision to go to war. In times of economic scarcity and outnumbered land forces, joint multilateral open military relationships secure the stability and peace of this region troubled by North Korean threats, provocative actions, and possession of nuclear weapons in a way that bilateral or unilateral efforts cannot. This multilateral effort should be further encouraged and given the resources as well as policy to expand.
The sharing of the seas, by these three navies, forms the foundation and the bridge of this joint multilateral fight. The Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships are at the forefront and cornerstone of this relationship as common technologies between these three nations, in sensor capability as well as interceptors, provide an exceptional force multiplier that offers more persistence, greater warning, and tracking for the joint forces both at sea and on land in defending their populations. North Korean ballistic missile capability is used as a prominent provocative threat in this region. The presence of a multinational naval ballistic missile defense force on the international waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula counters and dissuades North Korea’s provocative threats, intent, and capability from taking action. The Japanese have four Kongo Class Aegis BMD ships in this region, the United States has five Aegis BMD ships in the 7th Fleet here in this region, and the South Koreans have two Aegis BMD capable KDX-III Sejongdaewang Class guided missile destroyers with a third expected to be commissioned later this year. Aegis BMD capable Ships with greater sensor capabilities and interceptor inventories by these countries and others in this region will provide a sharing of mission and resources resulting in more security and stability.
Earlier this month, Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) had the opportunity and honor to visit the sailors of the U.S.S. George Washington CVN 73 and the U.S.S. Shiloh DDC 67, an operating AEGIS BMD cruiser of the 7th Fleet as part of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group in the East China Sea. The USS Shiloh, with its new 4.0.1 processor, is the most capable Aegis BMD ship in the region and of the three countries of Japan, Korea, and the United States. As such, the U.S.S. Shiloh was the lead command ship on ballistic missile defense in the joint fight as demonstrated earlier this year, at sea, amongst both the U.S. and Japanese Aegis ships positioned defensively against the failed North Korean long range missile test. The new Aegis 4.0.1 processor, which is being placed on upgraded Aegis platforms, allows the ship to have better capability in its phased SPY Band Radar and gives the ship more simultaneous air defense capability. The Aegis BMD ships are multiple mission ships that can do much more than missile defense. This was evident on MDAA’s visit with the U.S.S. Shiloh as it provided air defense with its new processor for the CVN George Washington Aircraft Carrier Strike Group streaming in the East China Seas.
It is remarkable that these 300 or so young sailors and officers of the U.S.S. Shiloh and the U.S.S. Shiloh’s sister ships live together in cramped quarters at high seas in small berthing bunks below the decks on a hundred yard long floating metal structure powered by four jet turbine engines are performing the most technical and complex missions of our military. These young men and women truly represent the diversity of our nation and are the key asset along with the technologies that they command. They are truly the backbone of stability and competence in these waters that surround the Korean Peninsula. They along with their allied shipmates from Japan and Korea are the multilateral integrated force that was brought together this weekend for to bear in strength and exercise their joint capability that is a true unified force multiplier in the containment of North Korea’s provocative actions and threats.
It is with great appreciation, respect, and admiration from the citizens of the United States, Korea and Japan that all these men and women of our multilateral naval force led by the George Washington Carrier Strike Group are demonstrating their joint integrated capability to protect peace and ensure stability in this region and make our world and each of their nations a safer place.