Our Armed Forces are in combat in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan today, they are joined by Allied Armed Forces to defeat and negate state sponsored and organic global terrorism at the roots of their power, support, and recruitment. One of the most effective powerful mediums being used by this Allied coalition is the projection of force and power in supporting the ground fight through the air in intelligence, targeting, and precision bombing. As the two dominate air powers, the United States and Russia, in this region that has destroyed and shrunk ISIS forces in a vast area to now a very small area, where conflicting air space is more apparent and more a reality, accidental escalation between Russia and the United States is a serious concern. Furthering that escalation potential is a Russian and Assad race to capture oil fields on their path on the Euphrates to destroy ISIS. This could bring a difficult and politically challenging post conflict resolution by President Trump and President Putin to carve out post ISIS spheres of influence in this region.
Air power projection of the United States Air Force and its Allied partners including Russia against global terrorism comes from their forward air bases in their Allied partners territories and relationships that reside around the Middle East. These extremely valuable air bases located in the Middle East, including the Russians in Syria are all defended by the sophisticated ground based ballistic missile and air defense missile systems. For the United States and its Allies, it is the U.S. Army Patriot missile defense system and for Russia in Syria it is their S-300 and S-400 air defense system.
The United States Army 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) and its 11th, 69th, and 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigades with their Patriot Battalions, are deployed forward in continuous nine month rotations from bases in Texas and North Carolina. The U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Brigade Command representing the 32nd AAMDC for these U.S. Patriot Brigades and Battalions in the Middle East, resides in Qatar with the U.S. Air Force Commander for CENTCOM. In parallel, each of the Arabian Gulf Allies to the United States have their own Patriot missile defense systems with the exception of Bahrain. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) today also has a Terminal High Altitude Defense (THAAD) system. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in the midst of purchasing the THAAD system in high numbers with the UAE also looking to get another THAAD Battery. The Arabian Gulf Allies, the Gulf Coalition Council (GCC) with the exception of Yemen and Bahrain are also attaining the latest upgrades to their Patriot systems and the higher range missile interceptor, the Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE), that is currently being deployed in Korea by U.S. Forces. Aegis Ashore is also being considered in Qatar.
The Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, traveled to Qatar yesterday (Link) and the President of the United States wants the GCC to bear more responsibility, more capability, more capacity, and most of all more integrated defense to defend together with their combined assets the Arabian Peninsula and the Arabian Gulf. Driving this massive demand for increased defensive capacity and GCC team play is Iran’s growing ballistic missile force and the active combat use of ballistic missiles by Iran backed Houthis, that are launching missiles into Saudi Arabia from Yemen. There have been over 150 ballistic missile combat intercepts by Saudi Arabian and UAE Patriot missile defense forces that are in combat today defending Saudi Arabia. No other countries in the world, including the United States and Israel, have intercepted more ballistic missiles in combat than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The ballistic missile is a weapon of power projection choice for Iran that is proliferated, developed, tested, deployed, and put in combat in the Middle East. With Iran’s established relationship and co-development of ballistic missile technology with North Korea, Iran will continue to extend, modernize, and develop advanced ballistic missiles in range, effectiveness, and power projection that has nuclear implications to threaten and strike the Arabian Peninsula and the GCC.
Each of the members of the GCC acting alone with the most advanced missile defense systems are and will always be overmatched by Iran’s capacity of ballistic missiles to defend their national borders. The only way the GCC can negate and deter Iran’s influence, intimidation, and use of ballistic missiles is to play as a team together and fight together being more efficient utilizing their joint capacity which requires trust, sharing of information, and missile defense exercises together. MDAA was honored to host with UAE its 3rd GCC Defender of the Year yesterday in Abu Dhabi recognizing the team integrated missile defense approach and excellence of leadership of the countries and missile defense war fighters within the GCC team. It is the same team fight the GCC does together with its oil production and exportation. They know how to do it and they know how to do it well.
Secretary Mattis no doubt strongly encouraged their team play and cooperation in his visit to Qatar, as well as North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile proliferation.
North Korea has broken the threshold and precedent of a “rouge nuclear nation” that has ballistic missile capability to deliver nuclear weapons in power projection. Iran will be soon to follow. The nations on the Arabian Peninsula have to have an integrated “team” layered missile defense, like Europe and the United States, from the reality of acceptance of nuclear rouge nations in the world order.
If there is to be a 2018 supplemental request, the extra money seems likely to receive support from defense-focused lawmakers (Link)
A $416 million reprograming (Link) with an outdated policy, though a nice political gesture, is not nearly enough to better defend our nation, our allies in the Pacific, our allies in the Middle East, and our allies in Europe. We need a new approach, a new vision and significant surge in budget over ten years which policy enables that puts forth game changing technology that is all missile defense inclusive in a cross-domain capability with capacity. As General Lori Robinson stated best ‘When do we transition some of the capabilities to space?’ (Link)
“We need it; we need it; we need it for missile defense,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters Wednesday.
Masaa el kheer from Abu Dhabi