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Riki Ellison hosting the "Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe" virtual discussion from the MDAA office in Alexandria, Virginia on July 20, 2022.

“We’ve had a phenomenal trip last week, and having drawn discussions on what the challenges are for NATO, for our services, for our partner nations, and there’s no question. The biggest gap in capability capacity is missile defense for NATO, for our services, and for the partner nations. It is still a shock that over 5,000 civilians have died because of missile attacks over the last several months. Russia has fired 3000 missiles into Ukraine, and the military casualties are much more than that. So we have a real combat situation that’s killing lives still today, yesterday, that we have not resolved and putting a solution in place to defend that, to deter it and to stop it.”

“We also see Ukraine with very minimum capabilities of MANPADS, Stingers and Russian S-300s. They have enough to keep them in the fight with Russia. That’s also a vital ingredient for their survival. So today, it’s not about recognizing the gap. The gap is there.”

“So today’s discussion is to look at what are the near term solutions right now to defend civilians and our troops forward. And what is the vision? What is the vision for NATO, for our country in having a solid missile defense architecture that’s effective? That is what we are discussing today, and we’re able to bring you the experts and we’ve balanced it from the Navy, from the Air Force, USAFE, from the Army and from NATO. It’s important. Our President has put in the same system that he has in the United States capital for cruise missile defense to NASAMS and he’s put that in Kiev. That’s a movement, and that’s not a program or record. For our Army, we have got to look at some of the realities here of what has to be done quickly.”

Mr. Riki Ellison, “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

“I grew up in a world where I thought of integrated air and missile defense constrained by my organic radar or my organic effector, and that is no longer the world that we live in today. Just as integral to being able to close the fire control solution across the joint force is the sensors, the effectors, but it is that architecture that is able to bring us together and provide an uninterrupted track. We are all constrained from either geography, curvature of the earth, topography, weather, it affects us all. And so we have to take that into account and leverage the totality of capability across the joint force in order to bring together the holistic solution.”

“When you walk into the air operations center or the AIRCOM operations center, and you look at the integration of those fights, that migration is happening. We’re moving in that direction, Riki, and I’m heartened by that. It’s just that we are constrained by legacy acquisition processes across the services and components that is being addressed, I think, within the department, both from an endorsement of the JADC2 construct as it moves forward and matures, but then also demand signals for capabilities that are outside of the EUCOM AOR. When I think of either defensive Guam or NORTHCOM’s requirements, as they are articulated in public hearings. So we’re moving in the right direction. It’s just the accelerant by which to get there as quickly as we need.”

CAPT Jonathan Lipps, Commander Task Force 64, U.S. Navy “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

“We have capacity challenges internal to the United States Air Forces in Europe, and a lot of that’s due is just the changing theater structure from the 1990s to today. Like you said, we don’t really need to talk much about the threat. The threat’s changed over the last 10 years. And just some things that we’ve seen recently, like you highlighted, were interesting capabilities that Russia has developed and things like the Skyfall Nuclear Cruise Missile that’s unique, those different ones. Some of the hypersonic cruise missiles they’re using against Ukraine, like you highlighted, those are unique challenges as well. So we’ve got to make the best of the capacity we have now.”

“One of the other opportunities we see is with Sweden and Finland joining NATO. As that starts to progress forward, we’re looking for opportunities to ensure that we can share and, let’s say, share data. And it’s not the collective data about who owns my data. It’s about what value and benefit do you see in sharing the data, so we can see fused information that gives us, I’d say, a better, a more accurate picture of the air domain. And that’s something we all need real-time. And it’s playing out for us front and center with Russia and what they’re doing against Ukraine. And we’re learning exactly what that layered approach needs to look like in the future.”

Brig Gen Jason Hinds, Director of Plans, Programs, and Analyses, USAFE “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

“The days of slow pitch softball are long gone. And President Trump demonstrated that with that TLAM strike on Aleppo a few years ago. And that’s what we need to be prepared for, 58 TLAMs coming at one location. How do you defend against that? And so it is through multi joint and combined exercises. It is through massive joint and combined live fire exercises over a large battle space.”

COL (Ret) David Shank, “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

“One of the things that I’d like to do to get us going from the bottom up, what you were saying is important from the top down if we can do it, and I know we can do it, it’s just a matter of having the will, but it’s to start with let’s pick a level of ambition just out of thin air, it could be more, it could be less, one battery, one week, every two months, is going to deploy forward, set up in a remote location, and it’s going to connect, integrate, and then exercise with actual air assets against those air assets. Airplanes, whatever we can get out there, drones, and then pack back up and go home.”

Mr. Thomas Goffus, Assistant Secretary General for Operations, NATO “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

“Tom and his team have done a good job over the last few years and we have five NATO countries with NASAMs, or four NATO countries. Spain, Norway, Lithuania, and the Netherlands, and then of course Finland joining has NASAMs. The Brits have Sky Saber, the French and Italians have SAT-T. I mean everyone but the United States has something to bring to this dance. Those are words that you almost never hear inside NATO.”

“It’s certainly not a principal war fighting need, so the United States does need to get working there. I like the idea of the exercise, I’m not sure I’d even have to … Not every one of them would have to be a road game. I would actually just exercises bringing those seven countries and their systems, one a month, through Ramstein. Make them integrate with the Patriot systems, make them communicate back and forth to the air battle manager and the ABC and make sure that each one of them can seamlessly move in and out of the systems. To me, A, that would keep the costs down a little bit since they would be hosted almost immediately.”

“The other one I would suggest on this is we probably want to find one of these beautiful warehouses we’ve built with $14 billion worth of US armored wheeled and tracked vehicles, with the European Deterrence Initiative money they’re spread from Poland to Belgium, including Germany and the Netherlands and even Luxembourg a little bit. We need to defend these things, so having one of these systems go there and just see what the problem, some of these warehouses are near a lot of other airfields and communication systems. Because you have not had US cruise missile systems ubiquitously moving in and out there is a reasonable expectation that there will be some challenges to operate there. You don’t want to find those challenges out in a crisis, you want to find them out during an exercise.”

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery, “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

“I would say, Tom, the emperor has clothes in the closet, maybe in the sock drawer, but he hasn’t got them on and we got to get them on. There are capabilities today that are in Europe right now that need, even if you can just put on your feet, to be delivered, and Ukraine, it’s the moment. It’s where you’re going to turn. It’s where you’re forcing capabilities and you’ve got to continue to bring them awareness. People are dying every day because of not having the missile defense capabilities we talked about today.

Command and control, I think, is critical big decisions at the highest levels to get that right, to filter it down, and to move current capability. Mark was right. There are countries, they got NASAM capability, the only thing the world right now that does cruise missile defense 360. Why isn’t that being integrated into all our systems and getting this thing forward while we wait for IFPC, while we wait for IBCS, while we wait for LTAMDS and all the other stuff coming. They’re great, but right now we don’t have anything. The clothes are in the closet, man. Get them out of the closet and get them on our emperor.”

Mr. Riki Ellison, “Missile Defense of NATO and Partners in Europe”, July 20, 2022

Click here to view the roundtable discussion
Click here to read the full transcript


Mr. Thomas Goffus
Assistant Secretary General for Operations

Brigadier General Jason Hinds
Director of Plans, Programs, and Analyses

CAPT Jonathan Lipps
Commander Task Force 64
U.S. Navy

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery
Former Deputy Director for Plans, Policy and Strategy

COL (Ret) David Shank
Former Commander
10th AAMDC

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.