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Chairmen and Founder, Riki Ellison (top left) joined by board members Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jon Thomas (top right) and RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery for the "Cruise Missile Defense U.S. Homeland" virtual roundtable discussion on June 15th, 2022.

“And our first responsibility is to defend the Homeland. This is the defense of the Homeland. It is a priority.”

“There have been nine combatant commanders of NORTHCOM and every one of them has advocated and asked for more missile defense, more cruise missile capabilities. And it is a vast mission. And the world today is seeing a country that doesn’t have a cruise missile defense system capable of defending its population. Our near peer, Russia as of Monday has launched 2,606 missiles into Ukraine, and they come from launch points on the sea, in the air and from the land. It is a driving factor in why Congress wants our country to be adequately defended. Our near peers have demonstrated their cruise missile capabilities in the Arctic around our national borders. It is a relevant, important capability that we must address and we must defend against.”

Riki Ellison, “Cruise Missile Defense U.S. Homeland”, June 15, 2022

“If I were the deputy secretary of defense and I want to unfence my travel money, I’m going to name the lead architect the MDA. I think what I have heard and I think Ty agrees, too, with the Guard is something that you develop into, rather than say it, then have Congress immediately go approve it, and then General Hokanson spends the next like three months in a circular vortex, trying to prove why he could do this manpower wise and everything. I think you name MDA, because MDA can prove why they’re the right people. They can say, ‘Let me introduce you to my research and development team. Let me introduce you to my acquisition team. They can go to my test and evaluation team.’ MDA is ready to be the lead system architect for this. Name them, move out, and then take a few months to do the proper studies.”

“There is not a magic organization out there that can do architecture plus be the operator of a system. We don’t have that anymore. That capacity or capability is gone from our forces. So let me argue about the architect. We, the three of us, were all significant contributors to a MDAA Roles and Responsibilities Report that laid out clearly our belief that the Missile Defense Agency is the premier missile defense systems architect. It should not be a surprise to anybody. It’s where most of the engineers sit. A lot of the engineers sit. It’s where our successful long term acquisitions have been run out of. And we said very specifically, MDA should develop, acquire and field the missile defense system architecture required to prepare for existing and emerging missile defense threats. Now, look, we were thinking in this about the hypersonic threat. I don’t want to give us too much credit here. Really, I think when the three of us were talking about this a lot with John Rood and others, we were really thinking about the hypersonic glide vehicle and some other things that have us very nervous. But the reality is what Ty and I have just described is that an emerging missile defense threat. The adversary seeing that we had no capability has stepped up their game.”

RADM (Ret.) Mark Montgomery, “Cruise Missile Defense U.S. Homeland”, June 15, 2022 

But if we were to say right away, ‘Oh, boom. This is the lead service board in addition to MDA.’ We are going to miss the fact that at the end, we’re still going to be a joint effort and all of these various elements of the architecture are going to have to link together. So I think if I were to give some advice for the DepSec as they make the announcement would be to say, MDA is going to lead the architecture, the acquisition and procurement of these systems. And we are going to have services that are all elements, that are responsible. There’s going to be one that’s probably the biggest and if she’s willing to say yes, but otherwise defer that decision until later. But make the point at the very beginning that missile defense is a joint enterprise, it’s also layered and that drives some of the jointness as well. And then let the development effort go and the fielding go forward.” 

“We’re talking about large-area air defense, in this case, the continental United States, okay? And that whole effects chain, as it has to occur in order to consummate an engagement, a successful engagement with the inbound target, requires space effects, requires air effects, requires land domain or maritime domain effects. All those things have to come together to have a successful engagement.” “You always need good leadership, you need a decisive leadership. But this is particularly a time on missile defense and cruise missile defense, because it’s one thing about acquisition procurement, it’s another thing about employment and sustainment. And if those that are responsible for employment and sustainment of a capability, aren’t doing it, something needs to change. And often that can only come from the Secretary of Defense giving guidance direction and if necessary redirecting resources. So I hope that that comes with the momentum that’s been created here with the support of the Congress.”

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jon Thomas, “Cruise Missile Defense U.S. Homeland”, June 15, 2022

“This is huge, as we go forward with the defense of the US Homeland. We’ve got to get that 2% of the budget, instead of the one and a half percent. And rather call this the Department of Defense, the department of our Homeland and this is where the resource is, I think the populations of our country want this. This is undeniable from the public support for this. We haven’t had this opportunity to get this done, and that is huge for all of us. So I congratulate the Department of Defense for getting urgency on this decision. And certainly we know the NORTHCOM commander is 100% behind getting his requirements done through this.”

Riki Ellison, “Cruise Missile Defense U.S. Homeland”, June 15, 2022

Click here to watch the full roundtable discussion

Click here to read the entire transcript of the event

Click here to read the MDAA “Missile Defense Roles and Responsibilities” document


Rear Admiral (Ret) Mark Montgomery

Former Director of Operations

U.S. Pacific Command

Lieutenant General (Ret) Jon Thomas

Former Deputy Commander

U.S. Pacific Air Forces

Mr. Riki Ellison

Chairman and Founder

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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.