In the forefront of the just released National Security Presidential Memorandum on Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces (Link to the memo) directing the Secretary of Defense and the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) the following:
“The Secretary shall initiate a new Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) to identify ways of strengthening missile-defense capabilities, rebalancing homeland and theater defense priorities, and highlighting priority funding areas.”
Yesterday, at MDAA’s Congressional Roundtable at the U.S. Capitol building, MDAA had the honor to introduce the new chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), Chairman Rob Wittman and the former Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral (Retired) Jonathan Greenert to discuss the U.S. Navy’s Contribution to Ballistic Missile Defense. Below are a few key quotes from Greenert and Wittman,
“You can only get so much power and so much efficiency in the hull. The aperture can only be so great. So my point is the afloat option, is a great option, it will be around for a while, but it can’t be the only option. We need to broaden the strategy. We need to continue to develop things like the TPY-2, we need to continue to bring in the other nations and we always need the combination of satellite detection for the launch and initial indication, so that we can then take this network of sensors and then find out where things are going.” – Greenert
“These things are all evolving as we go beyond, but my point is, we are reaching the asymptote of our limits out there we’re probably about ten years from having to move on to another means afloat to meet the threat out there.” – Greenert
“All indicators that I see and I read, is that the MDA budget will increase under this administration. It is about $7.5 billion now, probably another $1 billion, $1.5 billion, maybe $2 billion toward that. The Department of Defense has been tasked to put together a missile defense strategy. That’s a good thing.” – Greenert
“If you look at the total missile defense system… The question becomes, is again the network, land-based systems and sea-based systems, how do you put together as Admiral Greenert talked about earlier, how do you put together the fabric of what you need where the threats are and where do you make sure you don’t have any holes in that fabric. I think that is the more fundamental question. You can look at what each service branch does, what their strengths are, what assets they have, but then the question becomes if you look at it holistically, where are the needs? What do each of those systems and application of those systems bring to the table. So I think you have to ask that, and again it goes back to the broader perspective. What’s our objective, not just with what each of the service branches do, but what’s our objective and what we have to accomplish with ballistic missile (defense) systems and what we are doing to protect all of our interests around the world.” – Wittman
Admiral Greenert and General Raymond Odierno, the former Chief of the Army, in their most significant statement on missile defense during their tenure, wrote a joint memo in 2014 (Link to the 2014 memo) to request a Department of Defense sponsored ballistic missile defense strategy assessment. The note’s contents are as meaningful and factually correct today as they were in 2014. The 2014 memo stated,
“The recent Army-Navy warfighter talks highlighted the growing challenges associated with ballistic missile threats that are increasingly capable, continue to outpace our active defense systems, and exceed our Services’ capacity to meet Combatant Commanders’ demand.”
“Our present acquisition-based strategy is unsustainable in the current fiscal environment and favors forward deployment of assets in lieu of deterrence-based options to meet contingency demands. Now is the opportunity to develop a long-term approach that addresses homeland missile defense and regional missile defense priorities- a holistic approach that is more sustainable and cost effective, incorporating “left of Launch” and other non- kinetic means of defense. The proposed strategy would serve as the capstone for the Department to balance priorities, inform resourcing decisions, and restore our strategic flexibility.” – Greenert and Odierno
President Trump’s request to Secretary Mattis to initiate a new BMDR provides the best opportunity for this new administration to address the issues outlined in the 2014 memo. Much of the discussion at the roundtable was reflecting these same core elements of the perpetuating problem of missile defense – its lack of an overall end strategy, and the threat and resource challenges facing the Service Chiefs and Combatant Commanders of our Military face today.
“We need that architecture, define the ends, and what are the ways we are going to do this, and then we have to come up with the means.” – Greenert
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.