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10th Anniversary of the Operational Ground Based Midcourse System, U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C. September 30th, 2014. (From Left to Right) MG (Ret.) Keith McNamara, Eric Thoemmes, Richard Lehner, John Rood, Lt. Gen (Ret.) Ron Kadish, Dr. Patricia Sanders, Lt. Gen (Ret.) Trey Obering, Riki Ellison, Vice Admiral James Syring, Steve Cambone, Peppi Debiaso

Dear Members and Friends,

Today, September 30, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of operations of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse missile defense system defending our entire nation from long-range ballistic missile threats. The first development and deployment of a kinetic energy interceptor able to protect and defend all 50 states against an intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile is an historic and meritorious technical achievement.  No other time in the history of our nation has a technological feat of this magnitude been developed, tested and put in the field fully operational in less than 3 years of the decision to do so.

The United States Department of Defense acquisition times to field a new weapon system typically take 10 to 15 years. However, as the threat from North Korea was clear and apparent to the U.S. President and Congress, the decision was made to serve notice and withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty with the Soviet Union,  a move which allowed our nation to fully protect itself from long range ballistic missiles that was prohibited in the treaty.  President George W. Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive 23 on December 16, 2002 to field missile defenses.

“In light of the changed security environment and progress made to date in our development efforts, the United States plans to begin deployment of a set of missile defense capabilities in 2004. These capabilities will serve as a starting point for fielding improved and expanded missile defense capabilities later.” – NSPD 23

Three days earlier on December 13, 2002, the United States, with Congressional approval, sent the six month notice to the Russia to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty in order to protect and defend its national territory from ballistic missiles. On September 30th, 2004, less than three years later, five Ground Based Interceptors were fully operational in Missile Field One at Fort Greely, Alaska, commanded by soldiers of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade to include the 49th Missile Defense Battalion from the Alaskan Army National Guard. The system was initially designed to convert from a test bed to a fully operational system. Due to the urgency for national security of our nation, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization was converted to the Missile Defense Agency, and was not held to the normal DOD acquisition oversight and development to field this system.

Since that day, ten years ago, the United States has not been attacked from long range ballistic missiles. All the while, the development, testing and proliferation of both nuclear weapons technology and long-range ballistic missile capabilities by anti-American states, namely North Korea and Iran, continues to grow. North Korea in particular has achieved nuclear weapon status, testing long range ballistic missiles which they use to directly threaten the United States.

Since that day ten years ago, Fort Greely has expanded its missile defense fields to hold 27 Ground Based Interceptors and an additional 3 Ground Based Interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. All of these systems are connected at Shriver Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado with long range discrimination and tracking radars in Shemya, Alaska, Clear, Alaska, Beale, California, Thule, Greenland, Flyingsdale, United Kingdom, TYP 2 radars in Japan, a Sea-Based X-Band Radar and over 30 U.S. Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Ships around the world.

This entire integrated and interoperable missile defense system proved itself three months ago on June 22, with an intercept tracking, discrimination and shoot down of a long-range ballistic missile with similar characteristics to a current North Korean long-range missile.

This morning, our organization was honored to host a recognition and celebration of 10 years of missile defense for our nation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. We had the privilege of hearing of how the system was built by those who built it.

Four hours later at Fort Greely, Alaska, the day was commemorated with the Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and the 49th Missile Defense Battalion. Also released today was the 100th Missile Defense Brigade who commands both Fort Greely and Vandenberg operators of the nation’s missile defense system perspective on the decade of missile defense:

Our nation’s missile defense is at the core of our U.S. Constitution that our forefathers wrote when founding this nation in the responsibility of the government to provide for the common defense.

In our fields of dreams to eliminate the threat of nuclear long-range ballistic missiles to our nation and people it is

“Build it, they will not come”

They have not come.

We as a nation and people owe great appreciation and thanks for all those that developed, tested and deployed this system that has for 10 years made our nation safe from ballistic missile threats.


Riki Ellison

Chairman & Founder

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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.