“Winners associate with winners to win. And we’re associating with you (conference participants) over the next two days to create a cauldron of excellence. With the high level of intellect in this room we can create solutions to the phenomenal challenge we all face with missile defense”
“Esteemed members of the global defense community, we must have an integrated Missile Defense architecture to successfully defend Europe. It is a team sport. Unfortunately, for better or worse, we have to acknowledge the key challenge to achieving an integrated architecture on the continent: European culture differs across regions, and each region views the existing threats and the IAMD challenge through a different lens. Because of this, it will be nearly impossible to achieve consensus on what an integrated Missile Defense architecture should look like. A better path to pursue, a realistic path, is to build like-minded, geographically oriented coalitions of the willing. These coalitions will drive the capability and capacity needed to defend their sovereign territory in their specific region. Simply stated, I am suggesting we can best attain a holistic Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) architecture for the continent by beginning with regionalized architectures. For example, I see a natural team coalescing in the “High North” – encompassing Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. Separately, I envision another in Poland and the Baltic States, and perhaps a third in the southeast that includes Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Of course there will be more to capture the remainder of the continent, but all this to say we cannot sit and wait for consensus. The threat is real and it will consume us if we don’t get in the game now. Deterrence requires us to field a world-class defense now. This is how we prevent WWIII.”
- Opening comments by Riki Ellison – Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
MDAA was delighted to chair a momentous event 15-16 November in London—the 7th Air and Missile Defence Technology Conference—where we had the distinct honor of leading an international discourse on integrated missile defense for our NATO allies and like minded partners on the European continent. This discussion comes at a crucial juncture, following the recent NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to the mission, and paving the way for follow-on IAMD discussions at next summer’s summit in Washington, D.C.
Here is a brief recap of the five panels led by MDAA and comprised of esteemed members of the Missile Defense community, as well as several MDAA board members:
Panel 1: MISSILE DEFENCE OF UKRAINE: GETTING THE RIGHT LESSONS LEARNED
Mr. Tom Goffus, Assistant Secretary General for Operations at NATO, emphasized the critical role of IAMD during the Vilnius Summit. With 31/32 allies recognizing IAMD’s paramount importance, particularly in the face of Russia’s advancements in missile systems, the situation in Ukraine serves as a poignant wake-up call. Mr. Goffus highlighted the need for NATO to adapt, emphasizing that our response, or lack thereof, can provoke or deter actions from adversaries.
Brigadier General Michal Marciniak of Poland stressed the need for NATO to define integration and establish standards and definitions for Air and Missile Defense (AMD). Despite ongoing challenges and mistrust towards Russia, there is a call for industry collaboration and a united front against emerging threats. Poland, positioned as a leader in the fight, emphasizes the key role of Air Defense in the broader defense strategy.
From the USAFE perspective, Major General Joel Carey outlined planning challenges, acknowledged and concurred with the recommendation to form “coalitions of the willing,” and identified five critical areas of focus, including Counter-anti access/area denial (A2AD), IAMD, Command and Control (C2), and Protecting and Projecting combat power.
Finally, MDAA board member, USAF Maj Gen (ret) Charles Corcoran, provided several valuable observations and associated lessons from the conflict in Ukraine, including: acknowledging the human factor in conflict and the risks of ignoring the need for deterrence; the importance of adapting policies at the speed of relevance; the need to foster international cooperation; and the importance of rapidly adapting and leveraging technological advancements, including AI in IAMD architecture.
Panel 2: DEFENDING FROM ALL MISSILE THREATS IN EUROPE, TO INCLUDE FROM RUSSIA WITH A NATO, PARTNER, JOINT COMBINED MISSILE DEFENCE ARCHITECTURE
Lieutenant General Dick van Ingen of the Netherlands emphasized the critical need for a coalition comprising nations and industry, highlighting the imperative of an integrated kill chain and kill web. He advocated for collaborative efforts within a coalition of the willing.
RADM (ret) Mark Montgomery, MDAA Board Member, addressed a pressing concern regarding the Achilles heel within the United States and NATO, specifically in IAMD. Montgomery urged the incorporation of integrable systems, including JLENS and E-7 Wedgetail, emphasizing procurement challenges and the urgency to rectify vulnerability against Russian threats.
Brigadier General Maurice Barnett of the US Army recognized the intricate nature of the challenge, emphasizing the imperative of a collective alliance of the willing. He expressed optimism in the ongoing endeavors of Ukraine and underscored the significance of initiatives such as the Sky Shield Initiative within the European context.
Advocating for the individual definition of threats by each participating country, Brigadier General Michal Marciniak stressed NATO orchestrating the coordination of Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD). He highlighted the pivotal need for trust, control, and collaboration between countries and industries, coupled with a call for NATO to delineate and standardize procedures.
Maj Gen (ret) Charles Corcoran, MDAA board member, placed great emphasis on the paramount importance of policy actions to confer efficacy upon the policy NATO has actually put in writing. Said another way, words mean nothing without action. In this context, Corcoran advocated for the NATO-wide fielding of Link-16 as agreed upon by member nations several years ago, as well as the need for persistent sensors within the overarching integrated defense architecture.
Panel 3: DISRUPTIVE IMB TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTED
A unnamed Ukrainian physicist patriot, funded by Ukrainian billionaires with less than $2 million, has developed a third-generation disruptive technology that effectively tracks and intercepts Russian Cruise Missiles, UAVs, and Drones. Integrated with systems like NASAM and Patriot, it has successfully targeted and neutralized Russian S-300s and S-400s being utilized and a surface-to-surface role. Operating independently of government or industry, this innovative project led by a visionary individual has deployed over 8,000 sensors utilizing acoustic algorithms. This was the first public discussion of these remarkable combat achievements that have made a tremendous positive impact for Ukraine during the ongoing war.
Panel 4: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF MISSILE DEFENCE
Lt Gen Dick van Ingen of the Netherlands MoD stressed the indispensable need for credible deterrents and effective defense strategies. Highlighting the traditional technical roles, he emphasized the significance of survivability, passive sensors, and positioning systems on the right side of the cost curve. Gen van Ingen advocated for the integration of individual IAMD systems into a cohesive NATO IAMD C2 system, facilitating the seamless incorporation of advanced assets such as the F-35 and other defensive and offensive systems. Urging industry agility, he emphasized the imperative to produce at the speed of relevance for the immediate, current, and future conflicts, drawing inspiration from Ukrainian creativity.
Moe Barnett emphasized the foundational elements of trust, accountability, empathy, and teamwork in building robust defense structures. Addressing trust issues hindering open architecture, he advocated for fostering open trust, beginning with regional trust areas. Barnett questioned the distinction between Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), proposing a unified approach. Highlighting a need for a substantial infrastructure investment of 7 billion euros for an IAMD architecture in Europe, akin to Guam, Barnett underscored the importance of collaborative investment for shared security.
RADM (ret) Mark Montgomery, MDAA board member, outlined a comprehensive approach to assessing threats, determining protection priorities, and acknowledging the inherent challenges of defending everything. Stressing the shortfall in capacity, he urged strategic investments in dirigibles and enhanced communication systems like Link 22. Montgomery highlighted the importance of coalition partnerships, advocating for the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) system and replicator capabilities. Encouraging a culture of smart investments with a willingness to take calculated risks, he positioned NORTHCOM, Pacific, and EUCOM as strategic priorities. Acknowledging Europe’s pivotal role, he designated USAFE as the chief architect for the continent.
Panel 5: MISSILE THREAT TO THE WORLD
Mark Montgomery, MDAA board member, urged a shift from rhetoric to tangible actions in deterring China. He advocated for the strategic use of munitions and a “MacGyver” approach to fortify Taiwan’s resilience. Additionally, he emphasized the need to strengthen alliances with Japan and Australia, safeguard critical infrastructure, and ensure the defense of the homeland. Montgomery’s insights underscore the importance of proactive measures in the face of evolving geopolitical challenges.
Brendan Mulvaney highlighted the forthcoming elections in Taiwan and the potential for independent action that hinges on U.S. involvement. During the discussion, Mulvaney emphasized the critical role of training in preparing for potential conflicts, noting China’s proficiency in this regard. Mulvaney clarified that aid to Ukraine does not diminish potential support for Taiwan and other nations, including Israel. He raised concerns about the resilience of the American people compared to counterparts in Ukraine, emphasizing the need for strategic preparedness.
In closing, we find ourselves at a critical juncture of unprecedented challenges and strategic imperatives. The ever-changing nature of threats necessitates constant adaptation and innovation. Collaboration emerged as a common thread throughout the conference, whether it was the call for a NATO IAMD C2 system, the integration of various existing and future defense systems, or the emphasis on rapidly forming regional “coalitions of the willing.” Ultimately, success in missile defense requires unity among nations, industries, and alliances. The collective wisdom shared by our distinguished speakers underscores the gravity of the evolving threat landscape and the imperative for adaptive, collaborative, and forward-thinking responses. The overarching themes from the conference resonate with the need for adaptation, innovation, and above all, collaboration. Success requires teamwork – let’s build our team.
Building the team: MDAA fully supports the following initiatives as a path toward a comprehensive IAMD architecture for NATO and our like-minded European partners:
– Immediate establishment of regional IAMD “coalitions of the willing” with fully connected sensors, C2, and effectors. These regional defenses will be purposely designed to ultimately “plug and play” in a larger whole-of-NATO structure
– NATO member commitment to implementing existing NATO guidance, including fielding LINK-16 at all CRCs, for example
– NATO commitment to fund full connectivity between existing national defense and C2 systems (estimated to be less than the $6B (USD) required to field the U.S. defense of Guam architecture)
We have come together to build a coalition of the willing. Build it and they will come.