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The USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) departs Naval Station Mayport, Florida to its new homeport at Naval Station Rota, Spain on March 21, 2020. (Photo: DVIDS - U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan T. Beard)

As China threatens the United States on international transit in the Taiwan Straits and President Putin justifies the strength and superiority of Russian power over the Western liberal democracies, it is clear that the near peer competitors are seeking to take advantage of the effects of Coronavirus.

In this critical time for the United States of fighting the pandemic while assuring our national security and that of our allies, the USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) left Mayport, Florida to homeport in Rota, Spain, becoming the first Aegis Baseline 9 ship permanently assigned to Europe and joining three other U.S. Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) ships already stationed there. Aegis Baseline 9 represents a complete missile defense capability from in space down to the surface of the sea in enabling Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) that will be able to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptor, short-range (SRBMs) to intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) with the SM-3 Block IB, maneuverable and complex hypersonic cruise missiles with the SM-6, and with the force multiplying capability to use engage-on-remote (EOR) on all of these interceptors with remote sensors from other ships and on Aegis Ashore sites in Romania and in the future operational Poland site. This tremendous capability exponentially adds to the BMD of Europe and denies area access to the Russian threat as the mobile sea-based capability can be best positioned on the seas around Europe to compliment the current and future Aegis Ashore sites in Europe, in best defending the population of Europe. In the near future, all four and now possibly six, U.S. Aegis BMD ships homeported in Rota, Spain will be all Baseline 9.

“It’s precisely in line with our request for two additional destroyer and what I’m also proud to report is with the support of this committee we’ve been in a position to improve and mature the infrastructure at Rota. If you ask me to accept 2 more destroyers tomorrow, we actually possess the infrastructure at Rota to be able to house those two additional destroyers, a reflection of the value of the funds for deterrence.” – General Tod Wolters, Commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on “United State European Command United States Transportation Command” on February 25, 2020.

The undercurrent driving the U.S. maritime surge to Europe is the growing threat from Russia to NATO that aligns with the 2018 United States National Defense Strategy. Of which the 2019 Missile Defense Review (MDR) tasked the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy to make all U.S. destroyers in the fleet BMD capable.

“The Navy and MDA will jointly develop a plan to convert all Aegis destroyers to be fully missile defense capable, including against ballistic missiles, within 10 years. This plan will be delivered to USDA&S, USDR&E, and USDP within six months of the release of the MDR.” – 2019 MDR Task 4.

There are 67 U.S. Aegis destroyers and 38 of them and five U.S. Navy cruisers are BMD capable, but are operating on three different Aegis Baselines (4.2, 5, and 9) and only 16 of these destroyers have the most current and capable Baseline 9 to allow simultaneous air and missile defense from space to sea and EOR. There are currently four destroyers undergoing modernization to be refitted with Baseline 9 and a plan to have two to three modernized per year of the remaining ships. Additionally, the new Aegis Flight IIA destroyers are being constructed with Baseline 9 at a rate of one to two a year at Pascagoula, Mississippi and Bath, Maine. What remains for some of these Baseline 9 selected ships is to upgrade their SPY-1 radars with a Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) plus software adjustments to keep them paced with the continually emerging threat as recent testing shows SPY-1 remains capable and relevant. In 2023, the first Flight III ship, the USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), will be commissioned with a new Aegis Baseline 10 and the new SPY-6 radar that will then become the standard of all new Aegis destroyer ship construction. It is of importance to note that all of these Aegis Destroyers are working testbeds for machine learning and artificial intelligence that is evolving to the future generational dominance of the United States Navy and its Allies.

“What makes ours the world’s greatest and most effective navy is the fact that we act in concert with our NATO allies and partners. It is only in this way that we, and all like-minded allies and partners, maintain peace—by unmistakably and constantly deterring Russian aggression.” – Admiral James Foggo III, now Commander of United States Naval Forces Europe, and Alarik Fritz in the June 2016 U.S. Naval Institute article “The Fourth Battle of the Atlantic.

As Russia and China continue to become more aggressive and assertive in their challenges to world order around the globe, it is vital for the U.S. to maintain and grow the most capable and strategically asymmetrical naval force that can surge and deter with dominance. The Aegis BMD destroyers are a key component to the U.S. having a strong Navy to meet these challenges around the world since they are globally deployable and anchors for our own A2/AD to prevent near peer aggression. Having all the U.S. Navy’s destroyers BMD capable in ten years exponentially increases the commonality for better integration and stronger defenses. Yet, the proposed cuts in the U.S. Navy’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal to the life extension programs for the oldest destroyers and five less Flight III Aegis destroyers will greatly reduce the Navy’s capacity to meet these global challenges.

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.