Join the Alliance

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
MDAA's 59th Congressional Roundtable Virtual event, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense on Tuesday, April 16th, 2024.

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, from a beautiful day here in Washington D.C., the azaleas blooming and the smell and the feel of victory is in the air. We’re here on our 59th Congressional Roundtable, on this historic watershed moment for missile defense that happened this week, we’ve got the best of the best to give us and to describe, from their each perspectives, of what this proved, just an immaculate. It’s a perfect game, it is a perfect missile defense architecture that was implemented, coming across everything, from the early warning parts of it, from the joint services parts of it, from the allies parts of it, from the Israel part of it. It just all came together and nobody died. It’s amazing. It was a massive, massive attack by Iran, with intent to kill, with intent to destroy infrastructure, and nothing happened. And that stability came forward.”

  • Mr. Riki Ellison, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“We dealt with a massive attack from Iran against Israel, combining several assets of Iran offensive forces. First wave was UAVs, some of them are Shahed, the 136 that we know… Piston engine, we know those very well, and the world knows them also from the massive use in the hands of the Russians against Ukraine. Some UAVs were jet-powered, the Shahed 238, but the UAVs are slow, so it took them several hours to reach Israel. Then Iran launched a massive barrage, I think it was the largest that I can recall anywhere, of cruise missiles. The Paveh, which is mass-produced in Iran in the recent years and it is also used by the Houthis in Yemen, as the Quds-1 and 2. And it is, of course, faster than the piston-engined Shahed 136 UAVs. But again, it takes several hours to reach Israel. And the third wave of weapons that were used by Iran was a salvo of a lot of ballistic missiles. Again, I think it is the most powerful display of using ballistic missiles operationally. We got in one night more than double the missiles that Saddam Hussein fired against Israel in more than two months.”

“Many people in Israel were quite relaxed. And I know that some people went to sleep because it was about to happen around between one to two AM, at least the first wave, so some people just went to sleep and they relied on the early warning and the sirens and so on, and rightfully so. And a lot of documentation from people that just went to see all the interceptions because it was a massive use of upper tier assets, like the Arrow 2 and 3 and David’s Sling, many people saw it even from a very large distance.

All in all, I think most of the people were very calm and they relied on our capabilities. And of course, the day after was a day of euphoria, I think. Not only for the general public, but also for some echelons in the armed forces, and of course, the politicians.”

  • Mr. Tal Inbar, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“These some 300 and so missiles and drones that were launched by Iran show what we did see: Missile defenses do work. They are reliable, they are effective. Missile defenses are stabilizing, they’re not destabilizing. They provide options to de-escalate. They provide options to not be provocative. They provide options instead of preemption. And at a time when missiles and drones have become the primary methods of warfare, air and missile defense forces need to be a large component of our overall military force, a larger component than they were before. Why? Because our adversaries are using missiles and drones and other things to an extent they have not before. We need to respond accordingly.

It was very disappointing, I think, for a lot of us to see President Biden’s budget proposal to the Congress cut missile defense in the United States just a short time ago, at a time when there are thousands of missiles being launched by Russia against Ukraine, the Houthis are using missiles in large numbers, and as we saw, Iran is, and that’s not to mention China and North Korea and the other threats we face.”

“Critics said missile defenses could easily be overwhelmed. “If you could make them work on a small scale, it’s very easy,” they said, “For the attacker to simply launch more missiles.” We saw the opposite on Sunday. What we saw is the Iranians employ the playbook that Russia has used to great effect in Ukraine, launching waves of slow-moving drones, which saturate the air defense picture. Following those up with a timing of things like cruise missiles and ballistic missiles to time the arrival to coincide where the attacker simply could be overwhelmed. The Israelis, aided by the United States and our allies, really showed that the opposite was true, that with the right kind of planning, with the right kind of defenses, you can be effective. Critics have said for many years, “Missile defenses are not cost-effective. After all, offensive missiles are cheaper to produce than defensive missiles. Hence, missile defenses are simply too expensive.” Some of these critics have taken what is a decent argument to say, “You should shoot the archers. Don’t worry about the arrows. Don’t worry about defending against the attack.” Saying, “Simply can’t afford the missile defenses needed to protect against large-scale attacks.”

Some even have exaggerated to say, “99% effectiveness would simply not be enough with missile defense. The leakers would be just too severe.” Well, what we saw in Israel is exactly the opposite. Roughly 99% effectiveness claimed by the IDF was effective enough, and the few leakers did not cause a destabilizing situation.”

  • Mr. John Rood, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“First thing that we should take credit for and look at is the important decision that was made when we put Israel underneath Central Command and took them out from underneath European Command. To me, that was a watershed moment when we made that decision, because anybody will tell you, Dave probably knows from his time in tent, and anybody that was in EUCOM, and you had the Israeli responsibility, you did not have a true unity of command and unity of effort because you had EUCOM, you had CENTCOM, but the area of responsibility that Israel played in was really the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

So, bringing Israel up under the Central Command AOR was critical. I would argue that all this integration, everything that we were able to accomplish in the past couple of years, which then came to fruition this past weekend, it would not have been as nearly as effective had we still had the old command structure where Israel was up underneath the EUCOM. Why? Because now this allows the Central Command commander to go visit Israel. He can make sure that all the exercises tie in all his U.S. and other partner nations within CENTCOM to do integrated air and missile defense exercises.

So, to me, watershed moment. And then, if you take it down into the next level, so then you have the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command commanded by Rich Harrison. Now, he who has all the forces that are in Central Command, all the U.S. Air Defense Force and Central Command, he can now also operate with the IDF and Israeli Air Defense Forces, relationship building exercises, setting up the architectures, doing defense design, all those things that we do to help make a true integrated robust defense.”

“The other thing too that you’ve got to take your hat off to to those soldiers is the high operational readiness rate that our air defenses have over there. It’s crappy conditions. I can remember bringing a skipper from an Aegis BMD ship, and I took him to our site at Al-udeid and he saw a Patriot radar wide open, dust blowing. It was 100 degrees. And he said, “That’s the Patriot radar?” I said, “Yes, sir, it sure is.” And he said, “Aegis, 62 degrees, climate control.” He could not believe that our weapons system was able to perform like it did. So, the credit to our soldiers who are in extremely austere conditions, terrible conditions, who are keeping those operational rates for very sophisticated weapons systems, keeping it going. And again, some of them, like Coyote, we don’t have a whole lot of experience with it yet, but they’re making it work all the time there. So, super important.”

  • Lieutenant General (Ret.) Dan Karbler, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“Looking back to the last weekend event, we then, my 40 years of experiences as an air defense, I’ve never noticed such an event, such a challenging event with the hundreds of incoming threats synchronized simultaneously with the impact point of Israel trying to saturate all the multi-layered defense that Israel created in the last few decades. And still we were able to mitigate this challenge. And maybe this has sanitized your vision of the advocacy of yourself and the importance of the air and the missile defense threat along the years. It was, of course, a multi-directional threats that we are having in the last few months here in the conflict in Israel, threats from the Gaza border, from the Lebanon border, from the Syrian border, from the Iraqi border, from the Yemeni border, and in the last event, also from the Iranian border.”

“I just want to put things in perspective. We are not celebrating here in Israel. We are still in the middle of a war. It hasn’t ended yet. We have some casualty on a daily basis. So as a few of the previous people was mentioned, we have to take the lesson learned to keep improving ourselves, to be equipped in the top-of-the-art system. And hopefully we’ll do it the best also in the near future if it will be necessary.”

“I mentioned the deterrence in the offensive means, but I think we can also see it as from the defense perspective that if the enemy knows that his attack will be stopped and successfully by that and that he might be retaliated hardly after that. So there is also a donation of the defense means to the total deterrence of a country.”

  • Brigadier General (Ret.) Shachar Shohat, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“The soldier, sailor, airman there and on the US side, all of our partners, they have trained together, they’ve rehearsed together, they got playbooks, they got a C2 system in place that’s resilient. And so when kickoff happened for this game, the players were ready and knew what to do. The coaches knew how to make the in-game adjustments and the game was won. That did not happen at kickoff. It was all done ahead of time. So my hat’s off definitely on the US side, General Kurilla to his area, area defense commander, as you said, Lieutenant General Grynkewich doing a great job coordinating across his US components and with the allies, partners, and ultimately Israel who were all trying to defend there. But you got to use the right assets for the right purposes. And yeah, there was a big use of fighter aircraft here to shoot down a large number of drones at least, maybe some reasonable assist, I’m not sure of the details, but my hat’s off to everybody on that.”

“Defense is invaluable. It’s absolutely important, but it’s also, yeah, it’s not affordable just to do defense long term. You got to be able to repel that attack maybe a few more, but you got to be damn well ready to go punch the arrow or the archer, the bow in the face, whatever you want to call them. We cannot allow them to keep firing back, all right? So you got to be able to absorb that initial one. Israel and the team here did that. The real questions about what’s next because it’s not affordable to just keep letting them throw things at you.”

  • Major General (Ret.) Charles Corcoran, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“But I’ve seen this as a long time coming. I’ve been to Israel many, many times during my command time with 10th Army Air Missile Defense Command. And I’ll tell you the bottom line up front is this is about trust, mutual trust and relationships. I mean, it really is. And from my personal experience and the soldiers and the service members that serve with me, what I mean by that is those who came from Third Air Force at Ramstein Air Base as well that had the opportunity to train and rehearse constantly with the Israeli Air Defense forces, with the Israeli Defense Forces and with the homeland defense forces on a constant basis.

General Karbler mentioned, or I think actually Tal mentioned Juniper Cobra. That’s a Tier 1 level exercise. So that’s a significant, there’s only so many Tier 1 level exercises across the Department of Defense. That is one of them. And the constant turn of rehearsals and training and updating standard operating procedures and tactics, techniques, and procedures that were also mentioned is an ongoing process. I know this, again, has shifted from 10th AAMDC and a European command responsibility to a central command responsibility in the 32nd AAMDC. But truly my hat’s off to all the players involved from not just a United States perspective and a joint warfighting perspective, but the allies and partners as well. And they’ve all been mentioned from the air components to the ground-based components to the space-based components. I think having the opportunity to recognize the indications and warnings, which gives us that head start and allows us to posture accordingly.”

  • Colonel (Ret) David Shank, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense

“As Winston Churchill said, “Earn your victory”. This victory was earned. We have to look that this is not just a regional conflict, this is a global conflict. And the amount of resources and capabilities we are spending here is an advantage to Russia, to China, to North Korea. They’re all watching this. And it is just amazing to me that Israel and this coalition of the willing is the leader of IAMD in the world today. You wouldn’t think that, you’d think Korea, you would think Europe, you would think other places. But it’s unbelievable that Israel with its GCC countries and U.S. are the leader of how to do this, the reflection of how to do it. And it shows now that you’re going to have to put capacity and it has to go in other regions of the world. And we are a tipping point of changing our mentality of resourcing, allowing policy to put missile defense first and foremost for the world’s population.”

  • Mr. Riki Ellison, A Historic Watershed Moment for Missile Defense


Mr. Tal Inbar
Research Fellow – Israel, Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

Mr. John Rood
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Department of Defense

Lieutenant General (Ret.) Dan Karbler
Former Commanding General, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

Brigadier General (Ret.) Shachar Shohat
Former Commander, Israel Air Defense Forces

Major General (Ret.) Charles Corcoran
Former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, U.S. Air Force

Colonel (Ret) David Shank
Former Commander, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

Mr. Riki Ellison
Chairman and Founder, Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

Click here to watch the virtual event

Click here to read the transcript

Mission Statement

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.