Dear Members and Friends,
As United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, to discuss their cooperation and unity against the North Korean threat, MDAA hosted a Congressional Roundtable at the United States Capitol on the “Cooperating with Japan on Missile Defense.” Rear Admiral (RDML) Johnny Wolfe, Program Executive of the Missile Defense Agency’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, and Mr. Shuji Maeda, Political Counselor of the Japanese Embassy, who covers the Japan- U.S. Alliance management for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Link to video of the roundtable)
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson – “In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required. Part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach.”
Foriegn Minster, Fumio Kishida – “Japan recognizes threats from North Korea’s provocations have entered a new stage”
Political Counselor of the Japanese Embassy, Shuji Maeda – “It’s getting common to say, at least in Japan, that this threat of North Korea has reached a new level, we are really concerned with this new threat.”
Today, the United States and Japan cooperation in ballistic missile defense (BMD) that began with President Ronald Reagan, they have developed and deployed, with full operational capability, an Aegis BMD system on 11 ships – both American and Japanese – that defends all of the 127 million people of Japan from North Korea with high confidence.
Riki Ellison – “Those ten or eleven ships today, high-confidence can completely defend 127 million people in Japan against the current threat that is sitting in North Korea.”
RDML Johnny Wolfe – “So the threats we are designed against, absolutely Riki, we have absolutely high-confidence, if you look at the success of the Aegis ballistic missile defense program, high-confidence absolutely.”
The Aegis BMD system is the best engineering solution and the most capable system in the world today to defend the islands of Japan from the North Korean ballistic missile threat. The Aegis BMD platform provides multiple layers of defense with multiple interceptors and the SPY-1 radar, that can engage and launch organically or off remote of other Aegis BMD sensors. Aegis BMD provides a multi-layer with multiple shot opportunities between North Korea and Japan.
RDML Johnny Wolfe – “So we have U.S. Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) ships in Yokosuka and of course as we evolve this Aegis BMD program over time, we have various computer baselines and we have various Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) weapons that we put on those. We have got a mix of SM-3 Block IAs, which is the first really Standard Missile-3 variant that we built for ballistic missile defense. We’re starting to put what is the next variant, which is called the Standard Missile-3 Block IB, which is more capability, it’s a better seeker. Then we will eventually have the [SM-3 Block] IIAs. In the latest computer baseline that we have got, it is called Aegis Baseline-9, and what that computer baseline does is, it allows you to do multi-mission, air and missile defense. So that means that a ship can be in an AAW (Anti-Air Warfare) mode and at the same time in a ballistic missile defense mode, and they can cover multi-missions at the same time. In Japan, they have the older variant baseline as they bought through foreign military sales for their Aegis ships, so they’ve got ballistic missile defense capability with the SM-3 Block IA. So their plan is, and I’m not going to speak for how or when they are going to do it, but as part of the cooperative element, they will eventually buy the SM-3 Block IIA, which will then go into their newer Aegis BMD ships. Which will give them comparable capability to what our latest baseline has as well. So they will get to the point where they have to rely less and less on the United States and they will have the capability to completely protect themselves, as we then play backstop for them, as we help them do that coverage”
On February 4th of this year, in the waters off Hawaii, the United States and Japan demonstrated the first intercept of its newest, longer range interceptor – the SM-3 Block IIA – a pivotal interceptor that can intercept off of Aegis BMD ships and Aegis Ashore sites much further than the current SM-3 Block IA and IB. This provides a much earlier engagement and an exponential larger area defended.
RDML Johnny Wolfe – “This is truly a cooperative development program. It was really driven by the need to have a more capable Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) family, that could help us extend the battlespace as our regional threats continue to grow, as we continue to look at what capabilities are needed, this weapon as we go through development truly does what I call expand the battlespace. It gives us more reach, it gives us more capability to go against some of these advanced medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missile regional threats. It will allow both of our navies to truly have a new capability, reach out further, get out there quicker and go against some of these more capable threats.”
Political Counselor, Shuji Maeda – “In the context of such a comprehensive security strategy we have been pursuing the development of our ballistic missile defense capabilities and the SM-3 Block IIA is one of the leading model cases for a cooperative project with the United States and actually that joint study has been, not only an example in the missile defense field but also the entire bi-lateral joint enterprise for Japan and the United States.”
It is this phenomenal partnership that both partners have invested billions and billions of dollars together to develop, test, and deploy together a common ballistic missile defense system that is second to none in the world and is providing the necessary defense, with high confidence, for the 127 million people in Japan.
Riki Ellison – “There is nobody that’s invested more money and more support in ballistic missile defense than Japan and it is the example to the world. I don’t believe it is within the president’s perspective on which countries are not contributing, it’s the opposite, it’s the leader and you saw President trump say 100% support behind Japan and the investments that we have done, over billions of dollars and they have contributed that amount too, signifies that is the example of the partnership that we want to have with our allies in defending these regions around the world.”
We recognized the alliance partnership with Japan on BMD as the best example around the world in sharing the costs of development and deployment together, to field a capability to defeat and deter a common regional threat.
As we go forward into a different approach with North Korea, as Secretary of State Tillerson clearly explains,
Tillerson – “So we have 20 years of failed approach… That includes a period where the United States has provided $1.35 billion in assistance to North Korea as an encouragement to take a different pathway.” and “In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required. Part of the purpose of my visit to the region is to exchange views on a new approach.”
Ballistic missile defense for Japan is the top priority to be deployed with increased capability and increased capacity to defend and protect against the potential repercussions of a very real North Korean capability.
“Our two nations may spring from separate pasts; we may live at opposite sides of the Earth; but we have been brought together by our indomitable spirit of determination, our love of liberty, and devotion to progress.” President Ronald Reagan, Nov 11, 1983.