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Cover page for the MDAA "Missile Defense - Roles and Responsibilities" report released on April 12th, 2022.

“This is a report that we spent over a year on. And the intent is to make our world a safer place by putting forward a defining historical report on the history of what we did with air missile defense and really where it’s gone off balance. And I’ve been involved, like I said, since 1980, where a lot of these decisions on that paper have been made. And yes, we stepped back and we took the best of the best from those were relationships all the way back to the eighties and seventies, and sixties to contribute to this paper. And yes, we went out to all the services, all the services, and asked for their input and reflection. Including the agencies, including Congress, including the experts to really refine this paper to be the best we could possibly do to start the discussion and the debate that this country has to have to get this right. And we have a great team. I’m a big believer in teams and the diversity of thought in our missile defense team here at MDAA is exceptional in this.”

Riki Ellison, “U.S. Missile Defense – An Overview of Past, Current, and Future Roles and Responsibilities”, April 13, 2022

“We simply need to recognize this is the trend in modern warfare and respond accordingly. If we did a little analysis of our budget or focus of our services, we would not find that placed in that kind of central role or it would be undervalued. So the second thing I’d point out that’s recommended in the MDAA report is we need to substantially increase the funding from missile defense in the U.S. budget. I will say the current funding requested by the administration and this budget request last month is a bit misleading in that billions of dollars of long range strike systems and other areas are called missile defense, which I think mischaracterizes the amount of funding devoted to missile defense. I like long range strike programs, but they are that they’re long range strike programs. They’re not missile defense per increase.” 

“We also recommend that the DOD prioritize missile defense as a core mission. For too long parts of the U.S. Military have neglected this mission. To reverse this, we call on the Secretary of Defense to direct each of the services to treat this area of missile defense as a core mission area and fund it accordingly. Unfortunately, we still see too many arguments that are, as mentioned in the study of the history of this, where people would say, ‘Well, gee, it’s cost imposing on the United States to pursue missile defense.’ And that’s been proven false in terms of an argument by history. If you look at the amount of cost imposition that missile defenses have imposed on Russia as an example, in China, other U.S. adversaries, where they are investing in capabilities like undersea transoceanic torpedoes, other methods to evade, and try to counter U.S. missile defenses in other ways, we’ve really had a cost imposing effect on others.”

John Rood, “U.S. Missile Defense – An Overview of Past, Current, and Future Roles and Responsibilities”, April 13, 2022

“We just don’t have the capacity to do whatever we need to do with cruise missile defense. So we absolutely, positively have to get a short range, cruise missile defense system out there. The Congress noted this four years ago now, almost five years ago. Told the Army to do it. Recommended the Army, go buy a system called NASAMS. The Army was smarter and bought a system called Iron Dome And then very quickly realized the Iron Dome doesn’t do cruise missile defense. So, we went through a game there, spent quite a bit of funds, and ended up with nothing.” 

“I’ll give you one good example. What we saw from the Russians was their ability during this attack to hit warehouses and storage units that held Ukrainian military goods. Well, we did a fantastic job during the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations spending nearly $26 billion in the European deterrence initiative to place about $14 billion worth of tracked and wheeled vehicles all over Europe in what are basically undefended storage units because we don’t have the missile defense systems surrounding them to keep them protected in the early stages of a conflict. So the idea is our forces would fly over and within 72 hours fall on all this equipment. But that doesn’t work if in the first seven hours, the adversaries are slamming all these warehouses with cruise missiles. So we obviously need to get cruise missile defenses into the field rapidly to protect the Army’s significant investment in the stowed gear in Europe. Why we have to explain this to the Army is beyond me. It is just jaw dropping that this hasn’t been part of their planning from the very beginning, but it clearly hasn’t because they have put IFPC to the side, while they develop M-SHORAD. So all the MHO ad vehicles stored in Europe will be taken out by the cruise missiles for which they did not build their IFPC system.” 

“The first thing I want to say is, I want to answer one part of your question, how fast can they do it? The missile defense, the issue of restoring MDAs acquisition, rapid acquisition authorities could be done in a week, honestly. Now, as John would say, that takes a political will that may take a year, or two years, or never. But the actual process is a week. Some of the other things we recommend in here take years, maybe a half a decade, but that’s one that could be fixed immediately. And probably of all our recommendations would have the most powerful impact. It was a bad process decision probably arrived at through the observation of some poor practices, but instead of fixing the practices, they altered the process. And what we need to do is get a good, effective MDA process in place.”

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery, “U.S. Missile Defense – An Overview of Past, Current, and Future Roles and Responsibilities”, April 13, 2022

“Let’s remember though, particularly in the long list of opponents who have high volume precision ballistic and cruise missile fires, they’re probably going to be launching them from where? Their homeland. Okay. So now going back to the perspective that I approach this with is from those two particular jobs you mentioned. Joint employment, especially in a role as an area defense commander and a combined force air component commander. Yeah, you’re going to want to hit those things and you may even have the capabilities, but you’re not likely to have the authorities, particularly at the beginning of the fight. So I want to deconstruct a little bit and John didn’t assert it, but anybody out there who was saying, “Oh yeah, if you just take care of long range strike, you’ll get everything left of launch and life is good. You don’t need active missile defenses.” I don’t agree with that. And I don’t think the evidence suggests that we’re going to be able to use those early on in a conflict, because we won’t have the authorities. Mark’s point about capability, which we have some pretty good capabilities, but we don’t have the capacity is so, so important.” 

“Want to talk a little bit and non-kinetics and make sure that we know that the report calls out that distinctly and calls for MDA as part of their solutions that they develop for missile defense architecture, that they focus and leverage the work that the service has done on directed energy, particularly lasers and high power microwaves. Which the magazines that come with that type of technology, we all know, are theoretically unlimited only by the power that you can put into the system. And so for the cases where we can address the threat that way, that may be the optimal solution and the lowest cost, to defeat some of the cost curve questions. So I think that’s really important that the report calls that out.”

Lt Gen (Ret) Jon Thomas, “U.S. Missile Defense – An Overview of Past, Current, and Future Roles and Responsibilities”, April 13, 2022

“It’s a remarkable report and we are 100% going to drive this. We are 100% going to put this in play to make this happen or to force the debate. That has to happen. Our country, people at stake around the world have to have this change. We’re the leader. We’re the leader of the civilized world. Sustain world order to sustain deterrence, this has to be fixed. We’re going to drive it with everything we got and everybody we know, we’re going to bring it to make it what our mission is, making this world and our nations safer with the deployment and development of missile offenses.”

Riki Ellison, “U.S. Missile Defense – An Overview of Past, Current, and Future Roles and Responsibilities”, April 13, 2022

Click here to watch the complete roundtable
Click here for a printable version of the transcript
Click here for the full length MDAA “Missile Defense – Roles and Responsibilities”


Mr. John Rood

Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Department of Defense

Rear Admiral (Ret) Mark Montgomery

Former Director of Operations

U.S. Pacific Command

Lieutenant General (Ret) Jon Thomas

Special Advisor on Integrated Air and Missile Defense

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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.