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Building Missile Defense Capability with Urgency, Virtual Roundtable, October 26, 2023

“Good afternoon from Woodside, California, one of the centers of the world of innovation. It’s so remarkable today that last Friday, our President, Joe Biden, spoke, advocated, and led our nation for missile defense. His speech requiring $105 billion to give to our allies and partners—Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan—is the second time a president has made an appeal to the American public for Missile Defense as a critical part of deterrent of a World War, of current conflicts in Israel and Ukraine and potential conflicts in the Pacific.

As we look at the world, we look at these different regions. It is no longer a regional issue. It is a global issue. As you saw, I think the Wall Street Journal wrote about it, but we are positioning, taking our time to get the missile defense assets in place in case there is a conflict and to deter that conflict.

We don’t have much of it. We don’t have the capacity of the capability to defend, and that’s where this discussion is going to go, the urgency of being able to put capacity as soon as possible into these places and to create the already existing capacity with our allies that have big capacities of missile defense like Japan, like Saudi Arabia, like UAE, like Poland. How do we bring all this to bear and take risks?”

  • Mr. Riki Ellison – Building Missile Defense Capability

“On an annual basis, I take out increased elements of this kill chain to the range and test it. That allows me to create a Chinese menu of capabilities that the EUCOM commander, the CENTCOM commander, the AFRICOM commander, the INDOPACOM commander can do a threat assessment and then look at my portfolio and say, “I need three of those, two of those, one of those, six of those.”

I can pull out those components of the kill team, deliver them forward to their COCOM, and have them work together because I’ve created a PEO level system of systems and have tested every element of the kill chain to make sure that it works in a very coherent and seamless manner. Where this is really going to be realized is in the Guam defense system. We’re working very closely with MDA to create that unique architecture for the Guam defense system that integrates a lot of our components.

How much risk am I willing to accept? I’ll be honest with you. In today’s day and age, when you look at Ukraine, when you look at Taiwan, when you look at Israel, and when you look at China you have to be willing to accept risk, right? I’m going to tell you right now if this is my last job in the Army, I’m good. Lozano doesn’t matter. What matters is the delivery of capability to help defend and help our nation and our army fight and win our nation’s wars regardless of where that is on the globe.

From a production capacity perspective, from an aggressiveness perspective, from an accepting risk and a developmental perspective, I am investing in capabilities. I will be putting systems under contract for production in ’24 a year before some of those systems go to their milestone seed production decision in ’25. That means I’m going to Mr. Bush and saying, “Sir, I request your acquisition authority to buy before the milestone decision.” That’s a big deal for an Army acquisition executive, but it illustrates his commitment to lean forward in the saddle to buy IFPCs, to buy IBCS, to buy Patriot interceptors, to buy LTAMDS radars for Guam and for other entities and other combatant commands because that’s the amount of aggressiveness and commitment we need to make sure that we’re fielding a capability by 2030 that will protect us in a way that our enemies look to exploit.”

  • Brigadier General Frank Lozano – Building Missile Defense Capability

“I’m going to dive into the environments because that is one of our biggest challenges right now is replicating a realistic and accurate environment. So with regard to where we are today with that mission set that we have here, and really if you come down to White Sands, what you’ll see is radar optics, telemetry, how we manage the spectrum and then the networks and the data processing to bring all of those together in real time to provide analysis to support these programs.

The three primary reasons. One is, it’s cheaper than testing over water. With regard to optics, radar, telemetry. Probably the most important reason why we test over land, you mentioned, is when you test over international waters, we are a test bed for our adversaries. They are collecting as much or more than we are. So, we have to secure the information that we’re gathering. And then, lastly, is fidelity. When you test over land, you can police up the systems and products that you’re testing and do forensics and learn more. So, there’s just huge value to testing here and over land in general.”

  • Brigadier General Eric Little – Building Missile Defense Capability

“So, you’ve seen publicly the call and the deployment of our forces at a pretty significant level back into the Middle East. That matter, that’s not going to change, regardless of the theater where we find ourself, whether the Pacific Europe, the Middle East, or in our homeland. So, urgency is there, and I know the risk calculus that our leadership has to deal with. Not just money, but time and risk of operational capability as we develop and where we test it and the outcomes that we test against. I’m always going to be an advocate to test where we can, to learn what we must for the decisions we have to make. The real capabilities that are resonant at White Sands that reside nowhere else.

So, I agree wholeheartedly that it’s a risk calculus and it needs to stay that way. And, I am the benefit, and our forces in the theater are a benefit, of many decisions that I had never seen made before in my career of being willing to deploy early, learn forward, fail often, and test where you can in a forward configuration before we go on to make future production decisions, especially in the prototyping space where you get soldiers on the pieces of equipment.

But we can’t afford to over expend missiles and we can’t afford, and that “afford’s” not a money thing. That’s part of it. We can’t afford it from a capacity perspective against the numbers that our adversaries are developing. We should all be astonished, and we should be absolutely laser-focused, on what the PRC has done in the last 10 years. And, I know many of us are, and many of us, all the way up to the congressional level, stay focused on it. But they’re not building that with an intent not to use it. It’s not to defend their land borders, from Brian Gibson’s personal warfighting perspective. So, this idea of efficient use of a range of interceptors inside of service and joint lines needs to stay a key premise as we continue to get after it.”

  • Major General Brian Gibson – Building Missile Defense Capability


Major General Brian Gibson
Commanding General, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

Brigadier General Frank Lozano
Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space

Brigadier General Eric Little
Commanding General, White Sands Missile Range

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Mark Montgomery
Board of Directors, Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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

Click here to watch the roundtable recording
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.