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General Terrence O'Shaughnessy at HASC hearing on March 12, 2020. (Photo: Screenshot from HASC stream on YouTube)

In this pandemic over the past week, Russian reconnaissance aircraft entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on March 9th, the Chinese government is trying to place blame on the United States for the Coronavirus that came out of Wuhan, China, Iranian proxies have launched rockets on three separate occasions at U.S. Bases in Iraq killing and injuring American and allied lives, and North Korea continues to fire missiles as it further develops its ballistic missiles, the United States Congress held a homeland defense hearing where General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), clearly articulated:

Number one objective, defend the homeland. Our adversaries have watched, they’ve learned, they’ve invested to offset our strikes while exploiting our weaknesses. They’ve demonstrated patterns of behavior that indicate their capability, their capacity, and their intent to hold the homeland at risk below the nuclear threshold. And the changing security environment makes it clear that the Arctic is no longer a wall, the oceans are no longer protective moats, they are now avenues of approach to our great homeland. And this highlights the increase in our adversary’s presence in the Arctic as well. To meet this challenge, we need to invest in a capable and persistent defense that can deter adversaries, protect our critical infrastructure, enable power projection forward, and prevent homeland vulnerabilities from being exploited. To deter, detect, and defeat the threats arrayed against our homeland today, U.S. NORTHCOM and NORAD are transforming our commands and our way of thinking. We cannot defend the nation against 21st century threats with 20th century technology.” – General Terrence O’Shaughnessy the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) hearing on FY21 Priorities for Missile Defense and Missile Defeat Programs on March 12, 2020.

21st technology to beat 21st century threats has to have an overarching operational command & control (C2) system leveraging artificial intelligence to integrate instantly the global persistent space, air, sea, land, and cyber sensors and effectors to have cross-domain defense and force projection anywhere on the globe. It is the art and technology of fusing the current capabilities across all the domains and joint services, and eventually the allies, which each and all have their own C2 for tactical operations. It is the “Cloud” the ‘big C2’ – the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) – that would integrate the current Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) Of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the current Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) of the Navy, the future Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) of the Army, the future Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) of the Air Force, and the upcoming C2 of the Space Force. Built underneath all of this is a SHIELD for the United States homeland.

The Strategic Homeland Integrated Ecosystem For Layer Defense, or what we’re calling SHIELD, is the architecture we need to defend our homeland against adversary threats. As such, a layered defense needs to establish awareness in all domains from below the oceans to the highest level of space, including the unseen cyber domain, which are all at risk. We need a layered sensing grid with ground based interceptor now and next generation intercept in the future, as well as an underlayer lined with sensors that deliver domain awareness and the command and control systems that drive engagements long before approaching our sovereign territory. We need the ability to deploy defeat mechanisms capable of neutralizing advanced weapon systems in order to defend the homeland. We have put great effort into these areas such as a ballistic missile defense, along with the need to aggressively defeat additional threats to include the ever growing cyber and cruise missile threats. Next Generation Interceptor underlayer in a layered Homeland Defense architecture will give us the capability we need to counter tomorrow’s ballistic missile threat. We work closely with the Missile Defense Agency to identify and incorporate trade space and bring the timeline left.” – General Terrence O’Shaughnessy the HASC hearing on FY21 Priorities for Missile Defense and Missile Defeat Programs on March 12, 2020.

The 21st Century Shield would comprise of existing systems that grow into future technologies and systems once proven and tested. The baseline for an active first defense of the Shield is the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) with its current 44 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) which will get a generational leap with a new fleet of interceptors, a decade from now called the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) fused through MDA’s C2BMC. The second line of active defense will be the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system centered on its CEC that can do “engage on remote” to leverage the best cruise missile defense interceptor the U.S. has – the Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) – and the SM-3 Block IIA interceptors, which both are in production and the latter being tested against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) this year. The third line of active defense will be the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor, which is capable today of “engage on remote” with its Army/Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2) and the Patriot systems with the Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors which can perform well against cruise missiles as this system will fuse with the future IBCS to have the future Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) and future Indirect Fire Protection Capability-Increment 2 (IFPC-Inc 2). THAAD will also get an “extended range” capability that will be added and tested against ICBMs and would be connected through C2BMC as would the ICBM Capable SM3 Block IIAs for the defense of the United States The fourth line is long distance fires from the U.S. Air Force in their advanced air platforms with an Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) hypersonic strike missile and active air-to-air cruise missile defense. Along with the Army and Navy who are working together on developing a common glide body hypersonic strike missile for a, land-based and sea-based respectively, Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) as well as long distance precision fires.

Now working closely with Strategic Command, Northern Command, and Indo-Pacific Command, we’re also undertaking architectural work and advanced technology development needed to support hypersonic missile defense, and cruise missile defense of the homeland. A critical part of this architecture is a persistent space global sensor capability to provide full track custody supporting fire control engagements. We’re also pursuing advances in joint all domain and global command and control to support Northern Command and countering cruise missiles. Finally, MDA is investing the development of a layered homeland defense capability by adding sensors and modifying the Aegis Weapon System, the SM-3 block 2A missile and a THAAD weapon system, and communications command and control. Later this year, we will conduct the first Aegis SM-3 block 2A intercept of a simple ICBM. We are also assessing upgrades to the THAAD interceptor for testing against an ICBM. I want to emphasize that these regional missile defense systems are not replacements for the long range missile defense capability provided by GMD. However, these capabilities within a layered homeland defense architecture provides flexibility and options for the nation to increase the effectiveness of our defenses.” – Vice Admiral Jon Hill, Director of MDA, at the HASC hearing on FY21 Priorities for Missile Defense and Missile Defeat Programs on March 12, 2020.

The 21st Century American Shield begins its forging this year with an upcoming event at Nellis Air Force Base at the Air Warfare Center under the Air Combat Command in demonstration of JADC2 and ABMS to execute a 360 degree cruise missile defense event with sensors and effectors. Further forging of the shield this year will be the FTM-44 test of the SM-3 Block IIA against an ICBM target that would put this under-layer capability on the ground. Guam and Hawaii could be the first potential sites and test-beds for land based ICBM capable SM-3 Block IIAs with Guam also being a testbed for cruise missile defense sensors and interceptors like the SM-6.

The adaptation of the 21st Century Shield hammered out at Guam and Hawaii quickly and efficiently would be the first version that would lend off variants of the Shield to the United States Homeland, the number one objective, in Alaska, Hawaii, the East Coast, the Midwest, the South, and the West Coast to deter, detect, and defeat the threats arrayed against our homeland today.

We at NORTHCOM and NORAD have declared 2020 as a year of homeland defense, and are moving forward with the implementation of SHIELD.” – General Terrence O’Shaughnessy.

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.