Earlier this week, with the support of the five-time Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers in their new Levi stadium, the venue for the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl next February in Santa Clara, MDAA hosted our first ever California Breakfast of Champions. This event recognized the many valuable and unheralded contributions of the State of California to U.S. missile defense and its champions.
California is home to former California Governor and President of the United States who initiated the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. California’s soil and coastal waters are home to numerous deployed U.S. missile defense systems, ships, sensors and interceptors defending our nation. Port Hueneme and the islands in the Pacific near Malibu have one of our nation’s most important missile defense testing sites, including testing for the Airborne Laser, Aegis BMD, and for the Israeli cooperative BMD programs.
This region, containing Silicon Valley, Sacramento and the Los Angeles has been a hotbed for engineering and technological innovation that will continue to be an integral part of the development of Missile Defense systems, software, hardware, rocket engines, lasers and architecture in the world. The computer technologies developed here in California will play an increasingly important part of our efforts to maintain technological edge on our potential adversaries, ensuring a strong deterrent, stability and peace.
We were honored to have the, Director of Advanced Technology for the Missile Defense Agency Mr. Richard Matlock to present on the need to continue investing in cutting edge technology for our future national security:
“Of course, we have a very effective system today, across 13 times zones, which defends our homeland, as well as supports our regional partners across the globe and our allies and friends. But as we look forward to the challenges that the threat is going to be presented to us, we recognize that there are some gaps that are beginning to appear down the road. So we are making some investments in the near term to improve how we do our execution in the midcourse phase, where it is most challenging, and we are focusing some of our more exciting efforts on high energy lasers and those sort of technologies which will eventually get us to the holy grail of missile defense, the boost phase. I think that is where we really need to be heading, looking to drive the cost down and get on the other side of that cost curve.”
Mr. Matlock spoke on the importance of tapping the innovation of Silicon Valley for the U.S. missile defense mission:
“But I think the key element…is that we have had great success working with our academic and industry partners, but one of the under-tapped resources we found here has been our communication and connection with the industry here in Silicon Valley. So he is making a strong effort, supported by the Deputy Secretary, to make sure we can tap that creativity and improve our nation’s defense posture. I think there’s great opportunity there, and I’m looking forward to over the next year or so to making that more of a reality.”
In addition to being home of one of the world’s cradle of innovation, California is home base to a large contingent of the U.S. military involved with Missile Defense. These forces include the U.S. Third Fleet with Aegis BMD ships based in San Diego, four ground based interceptors and the test bed for the Ground Based Midcourse System at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the U.S. Air Force Space and Early Warning Radar at Beale Air Force base.
It was our honor to host and recognize the best of the best from the U.S. Military in California, and California civilian engineers. These awardees included Sailors from the USS Lake Erie (CG-70), which served for 10 years as the U.S. Navy’s test ship for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. Also recognized were Airmen from the 7th Space Warning Squadron at Beale AFB, which is home to an Upgraded Early Warning Radar, a central part of U.S. homeland defense sensor architecture.
MDAA’s 2015 California Missile Champions are:
U.S. Navy Champions:
Lieutenant Mario Adame
USS Lake Erie
Fire Controlman First Class Joseph Field
USS Lake Erie
Fire Controlman Second Class Kyle Keen
USS Lake Erie
U.S. Air Force Champions:
First Lieutenant Kevin Lamson
Second Lieutenant Ariel Rollins
Technical Sergeant Ty Araki
Civilian Engineer Champions
Mr. Eric Kinser
Mr. Curtis Marquis
Mr. Charlie Meraz
Mr. Paul Shattuck
Mr. Larry West
Mr. Marvin Young