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Riki Ellison and LtGen (Ret) Jon Thomas Former Deputy Commander Pacific Air Forces, Former Deputy Theater Joint Force Air Component Commander to the Commander of INDOPACOM, "Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?”, Alexandria, VA December 7, 2021

It’s all about action right now. It’s not delaying, not studies, not waiting for the next thing and the best thing. It is to get movement on ground and make the decision to defend Guam. Make the decision to defend it and then defend it with what you’ve got in place today. And you can evolve that to whatever system you want, but make that decision to stand up and have an integrated deterrent against China, have them rethink and have them think that hitting Guam is like hitting the 50 United States.  

Riki Ellison, “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?” December 7, 2021  

So if you go back three years ago to when we saw this problem, put out the first formal PDI, probably the fifth or sixth year of actual PDIs, we’re already a year behind getting to serious money being dedicated to Pacific specific challenges. And another year’s delay would really be consequential in a bad way. So we need to get this done. We need Cape to step out and designate MDA as the lead agent. And then MDA needs to get about the work of doing what the INDOPACOM commanders asked for. And I think that’s going to be a high discrimination radar, about 36 dB or more that can help us against ballistic, cruise, and as General Sklenka properly pointed out, hypersonic threats going forward. Action is required now. 


RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery , “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?” December 7, 2021  

But the reality is, we have to defend Anderson, the submarine base, and more broadly, Guam. And that investment is clearly called for it in this year’s NDAA. And I’m hoping that department of defense, as Ty says, one more year of delay. I’ll tell you who’s not delaying in their development of capabilities and capacity, that’s the Chinese. And every year we delay makes the problem harder and the solution more expensive. So we really need to get on that this year. 

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery , “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?” December 7, 2021   

There’s a great opportunity that lies before us. There is a plan to defend Guam. There is an architecture that’s been laid out by the NDAA. The Congress is behind it. And so the question now is, can we get a decision made? Can the department of defense move forward, stop talking about it, and execute? And I’ll leave you with this: We can spend another year debating what the exact right components of a system are for Guam and hand the PRC another year’s worth of advantage, or we can make a decision now, in the next 60 to 120 days. The answer to that question will determine whether we have more December 7th, 1941-style havoc on US bases in the Pacific or not. 

LtGen (Ret) Jon Thomas, “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?” December 7, 2021    

The Guam defense system’s got to be an architecture that fuses the most capable integrated air missile defense programs of record today, and those that they’re developing into the future. Funding the Guam defense system remains our command’s top funding priority, it’s been our top priority for the last three years, going on four, and the past two successive commanders have gone on the record to state this. They’ve warned all that’ll listen that the threat to Guam will only increase over the next five years. Those aren’t idle threats, those are based off of events that we’re seeing unfold around us right now.  

LtGen Stephen Sklenka, “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?” December 7, 2021   

A few final thoughts: in so many respects, Guam is a linchpin, a cornerstone, and a crown jewel within the Indo-Pacific campaign. Guam must be defended, no more Pearl Harbors; here are three points to consider. One, the Indo-Pacific campaign is incomplete and at risk without comprehensive missile defense on Guam. Two, the broader theater strategic design is at risk if we cannot defend Guam. Three, recognizing that everything is and must be connected to theater strategic design, it is impossible to achieve effective and efficient integrated deterrence and defense without the defense of Guam, and at a much higher level, without Guam being fully integrated within a new grand strategic design and global missile defense architecture, you won’t have that come to the level that we are trying to develop in terms of true grand strategic design. 80 years later, are we ready to defend the Pacific for the aggregated threats of Russia, China, and North Korea? I think we have quite a bit of work to do.  

MajGen (Ret) Joaquin Malavet, “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific?” December 7, 2021   
On the historic day of December 7, 2021, the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance hosted a virtual discussion on “Are We Ready to Defend the Pacific.” 


Click here to watch the complete roundtable  

Click here for a printable version of the transcript.​


Speakers 

LtGen Stephen Sklenka 

Deputy Commander INDOPACOM  

LtGen (Ret) Jon Thomas 

Former Deputy Commander Pacific Air Forces, Former Deputy Theater Joint Force Air Component Commander to the Commander of INDOPACOM  

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery 

Former Director of Operations PACOM, Former Commander of Carrier Stike Group 5  

MajGen (Ret) Joaquin Malavet Former Director of Strategic Policy and Planning of INDOPACOM  

Riki Ellison Chairman and Founder Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance  

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