“Missile defense capabilities give our adversaries pause to rethink their decision calculus. Effective missile defense deters adversaries from attacking because they know they have little chance for success and any potential response could be devastating,” Admiral Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, August 4th, 2020.
Every day that goes by, the reliability of the first generation of ground based interceptors defending the United States homeland gets degraded through obsolescence and age. Less reliability equates to increasing the number of shots at an ICBM target, which is limited by the fact that the U.S. only has 44 interceptors. COVID-19 has slowed work and pushed back the operational deployment of the Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) to 2023 that will provide persistent, precise target discrimination from a raid of several missiles or a single IBCM carrying a nuclear weapon surrounded by a fast moving cloud of debris, decoys, and countermeasures. Better discrimination and increasing the probability of tracking and intercepting the correct target that is the nuclear weapon increases reliability of the system and reduces the required shots. We must refresh, replenish, and replace elements of our current inventory to regain and bolster our strategic positional advantage that this system provides the United States.
The replacement for the currently-fielded generations of Ground-based interceptors (GBIs) is the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI). The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has designed an ambitious schedule to field that system in less than a decade. Some question whether it is realistic to expect the NGI program to meet this schedule particularly since the company that will develop and produce it has yet to be selected.
COVID-19 may push the NGI schedule to the right. When you couple these delays with the absence of strategic leadership from the departure of Dr. Griffin, the vulnerability of being a costly new development program in a reduced budget environment, and the uncertainty of the Presidential Election, the NGI has a difficult and challenging development road ahead. This is unfortunate as the NGI can provide multiple kill vehicles on one interceptor and drastically reduce the shot doctrine and improve reliability, confidence and cost efficiency.
Due to the challenges of the NGI, the United States Congress is in discussion of both authorization in amendment and resources in a mark for a GBI interim solution by 2026 that would provide a gap filler while the NGI is in development and fill the twenty newly constructed empty GBI silos at Fort Greely, Alaska.
Everyday that goes by, the cruise missile defense gap of persistent overhead sensors and cruise missile defense of the United States Homeland is being highlighted by China and Russia in their intrusions of our air space, their over-the-horizon cruise missile testing, Russian use of long range missiles in combat in Syria, and increasing production of these weapon systems unabated by any arms control treaties—and perhaps, in concert with the DPRK and Iran.
Every day that goes by, the Chinese and Russian hypersonic test and development programs are progressing, exposing the lack of the United States capability to track, target and intercept a hypersonic weapon. We must retain the relative-competitive advantage against these aggregated threats—by substantial margins.
Every day that goes by, our forward operating forces in the Middle East and in the Pacific are exposed to a 360-degree layered missile threat.
“Adversary missile technology is rapidly maturing and proliferating, and in turn the threat to the US Homeland, allies, and partners, and our forces in the field is becoming increasing dynamic and challenging to predict,” Victorino Mercado, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities, at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, August 4th, 2020.
It’s not everyday that the United States STRATCOM Commander provides the context of our National Security in regards to Missile Defense to the American Public
“I also have an important role as a coordinating authority for global missile defense. Each region is focused on protecting their assets through a combination of active and passive defensive measures,” Admiral Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, August 4th 2020. Admiral Richard and STRATCOM are responsible for providing the nation’s strategic deterrence, ensuring a decisive response to aggression with global and nuclear strike, joint electronic spectrum operations, and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). USSTRATCOM’s forces and capabilities underpin and enable all other Joint Force operations. STRATCOM aims to provide combat-capable forces to meet these responsibilities, and increasingly the command relies on the Missile Defense Agency to meet and exceed those requirements of missile defense. STRATCOM is leading forward with greater integration of offensive capabilities with active and passive missile defenses, and homeland and regional missile defense assets, for the best strategic deterrent in today and the future’s dynamic world. One of those critical capabilities to provide a better strategic deterrence is a sustainable, layered, and integrated missile defense. “So in the 21st Century, deterrence is more, a lot more, than just nuclear. It’s deterring multiple adversaries in all domains. Strategic deterrence is the highest priority mission in the Department of Defense. It is foundational to our national defense and underpins every US military operation around the world. But this is based on the most fundamental assumption of all of our strategies and plans – the assumption that strategic deterrence will hold. We like to think deterrence will hold, but will it hold in ways we haven’t tested it in before? This assumption is going to be tested in new ways, but I know at the minimum for it to hold, we’re going to need that triad – at a recapitalized triad. We’re gonna need combat ready forces and we’re going to need missile defense.” Admiral Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, August 4th, 2020.
“We failed to pursue the MDR’s recommended comprehensive approach to missile defense capabilities, which integrates offensive and defense. I think it’s going to be next to impossible to keep up with the threats we face. It is just relatively cheap for an adversary to shoot at us. But it is expensive and difficult to stop every single missile during flight. Simply put offensive initiative form defense, vise versa,” Admiral Richard, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium, August 4th, 2020.
Today the U.S. Military’s offense-defense integration is on our Aegis BMD ships that can strike and defend from the same platform. This Aegis Platform is being considered to do this mission on land in the form of Aegis Ashore. The U.S. Army is forward on its “ Convergence” of its Long Distance Fires, Hypersonics and Missile Defense and also considering using weapons from the Aegis Weapon system on land for anti-ship capability and defending as well as enabling those systems with its upcoming IBCS that brings forth the best sensor with the best shooter. The Air Force is building out ABMS, the base for the JADC2 concept that will allow every sensor to communicate with any shooter to integrate offensive and defensive strike leveraging the F-35 air platform for air-to-air, air-to-surface and surface-to-air integrated air and missile defense. MDA and SDA are developing HBTSS and DSS as persistent global space-based sensors for the tracking and discrimination of all hypersonic, cruise, and ballistic missiles that will be operated by the Space Force. These data from these space-based sensors will be sent via the TITAN relay to Army long-range precision strike weapons to perform strategic counter fire.
The Defense Department in concert with America’s industrial-technical team of teams is rightly working to respond to these challenges. The time for broader cohesion and coalescence of Strategic Design and Strategic Action is upon us.
Every day we work to provide a singular, integrated, joint targeting and communication integrated air and missile defense cross domain architecture.
Every day we work to develop and deploy combat credible forces from all components—together, and not separate to meet the missile defense mission.
Every Day we work to fill the gaps in our missile defenses for our Homeland and our forces forward deployed.
Every Day we work to integrate our Allies into a Joint solution not a Service Solution.
Every Day we work to have the strongest deterrence with proven deterrent theories designed for the 21st century.
Because every day and not some days, but every day, our Nation and our allies must absolutely and successfully deter the existential threats arrayed against our homelands and most ‘precious way of life’ – through Missile Defense.
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.