In the transfers of command from one leader to another, from the highest position in the Department of Defense to the change of command for the Defense of North America, it is worth recognizing leadership that is so significant that it has moved from a legacy to a legend.
Today, we take the time to acknowledge a game changing leader. This is a leader who has changed the landscape of the defense of North America, influenced and changed the perceptions, support and embedded policy of the President, the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense towards defending our nation and North America against the real long-range nuclear ballistic missile threat from North Korea.
This specific North Korean threat to North America was downplayed by this Administration, with severe reductions of significant support, reduced budgets, and canceling of modernization programs to defend against it. The President and his Administration degraded it as a secondary priority in terms of funding and support in favor of the deployment of a regional missile defense system to defend Europe against a future medium and long range nuclear ballistic missile threat from Iran.
When General Charles Jacoby assumed command in 2011, he stepped into an environment where our homeland missile defense system did not have the adequate reliability or confidence to do its required mission. This situation stemmed from its lack of modernization, drastic reduction in funding and lack of leadership at the acquisition and development level. The North Korean long-range nuclear ballistic missile threat to the United States was viewed by many in power as a theoretical threat. During Gen. Jacoby’s reign as the NORTHCOM Commander, the North Korean threat shifted from theoretical to real in its physical capability to strike the U.S. homeland.
General Jacoby, who had never served in the US Army Air Defense Artillery Branch, nor was a expert on missile defense, assumed the responsibility to protect the United States as a missile defense neophyte. Thanks to his leadership, our nation changed its priorities to fix the current GMD system, test those fixes to the system to prove it out and add an additional 14 Ground Based Interceptors. It should be noted that the current Administration had reduced the total fleet requirement to defend the United States by 20 Interceptors when they first came into office.
In addition to GMD for the United States, General Jacoby was a pathfinder and pioneer for the integration of non-leakage air defense for the National Capital Region (NCR). His forward thinking of the deployment of two JLENS blimps over the region for a full 360-degree view and early warning to detect any and all air breathing threats from cruise missiles to UAVs in the vicinity of the NCR is due diligence against future threats. This capability will be the foundational template for air defense of our nation’s major cities to defeat that type of threat in the future should it arise.
There is no question that without his passion, composure, influence and relationships during his leadership as the Combatant Commader of North America, our nation and its people would not have had the same level of reliable protection and confidence in their defensive systems to defend them against the renegade country of North Korea, with its threat and capability to strike the United States.
General Jacoby will be forever a game changer for our nation. His legacy and legend will propel our next North American Combatant Commander Admiral William Gortney into a much more stable environment to defend of the United States.
We thank General Jacoby for his outstanding service of excellence to our nation throughout his 37 years of self-sacrifice for the good of our nation and its people in safe keeping our freedoms.
We congratulate Admiral Gortney for taking on this tremendous responsibility of command to defend our nation. We too congratulate Dr. Ash Carter for his nomination as the Secretary of Defense and his superior background in regional missile defense systems. We also recognize our outgoing Secretary of Defense, Charles Hagel, for his support of Gen. Jacoby in his command and his leadership of the Ground Based Missile Defense system.
There are many that play the game at the highest levels, but there are very few that can change the momentum of the game. They are the “game changers.”
We are very fortunate and honored to have General Charles Jacoby be a “Game Changer” for Missile Defense.