Dear Members and Friends,
The intent of Commander in Chief of the United States of America stated clearly and repeatedly is to increase and strengthen the defense of the United States.
“…[My budget plan will include a] historic increase in defense spending to rebuild the depleted military of the United States of America.” -President Donald Trump; February 28, 2017.
This intent by our Commander in Chief goes directly to those that command, manage and work for the Department of Defense (DoD) as they report and are held accountable to the Commander in Chief. Unlike the U.S. Congress who can check and balance in debate and legislate the President of the United States, the Department of Defense is part of the President’s administration who at the highest command and responsibility levels are appointed by the President and directly report to him.
Last week, on Monday, May 24, the Department of Defense and the Missile Defense Agency released their Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Estimates (link) which was a disappointing annual number very close and flat to last year’s MDA budget and does not reflect the intent of the Commander in Chief, President Trump’s statements and vow to increase America’s defense to include and with missile defense.
This is of great concern and rightfully so to the American public with a dramatic increase and pace of the ballistic missile threat to the United States and its allies in the past year alone from a nuclear North Korea, unmatched historically at any time period, and an awakened Iran. United States near-peers of China and Russia are increasing the pace exponentially in developing and testing much more sophisticated and complex missiles that embrace hypersonic speeds, maneuverability, multiple and high dispersal of multiple weapons to challenge and deny U.S. dominance and access in space, air, land and on the sea.
It is the lack of big time investment in research and development of new technologies in the 2018 MDA budget request of which MDA was founded upon as an agency to develop new technologies from its inception. Only $707 million of the $7.7 billion MDA budge, around 10 percent is going towards research and development. MDA has now become a procurement Agency for each of the three services that is challenged to produce the capacity that the services can do to reduce the costs. The GMD (Ground-based Midcourse Defense) system budget and GBIs (Ground-Based Interceptors) have been reduced, the THAAD interceptors and Aegis BMD upgrades and interceptors are at an extremely low production rate for the demand that is being requested by the Combatant Commands around the world, especially in the Pacific Region. There was also no near-term solution of capability or capacity for the defense of Hawaii included as testified for the need by Admiral Harris (link) in the 2018 MDA Budget.
In addition, our allies should be incentivized, led, asked to do more, invest more and create capabilities and capacity with the United States where common interests of missile defense lay geographically around the globe. We cannot fight this fight alone and put forward defenses that are linear and are acquisition-capped with out-of-date 1999 and 2008 policies. We must invest with our allies, across jointly in all services and we must go cross domain mixing “left-of-launch” with “right-of-launch” and offense with defense. We must break away from limiting policies that don’t address our near-peer threats and are acquisition driven by two threats with simplistic capability.
The current Department of Defense official who is in charge of the budget and submitting the 2018 budget is the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Honorable Robert Work, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama and confirmed on April 30, 2014 and is being replaced by President Trump with his own appointment waiting for confirmation (link). The Honorable Deputy Secretary of Defense Mr. Work and Mr. Jamie M. Morin, director of the CAPE (Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation), were both appointed by the previous administration and both will be replaced put forward a MDA budget that was very similar in scope and amount to the previous annual MDA budgets they have submitted.
Next year, a new vision with new leadership will reflect the intent by the Commander in Chief to better protect the American Public from current and future threats. The new leadership will address a lacking MDA budget stuck in outdated policy that will adequately cope with near-peer threats, increase capacity, exceed current limiting technologies, and integrate cross domain solutions and stay ahead of the missile threat to the United States and its allies. In that intent, the MDA budget should exceed $10 Billion and begin to close the gap to 2 percent of the DoD’s budget spent on the Defense of the 300 million plus population of America that North Korea today has begun to threaten with real ballistic missile nuclear capability.
The American Public deserves and has the right to be better protected from the current and future missile threats from the Department of Defense.