Following up on our virtual roundtable The Missile Defense “Must Do” List for the FY-24 NDAA where we discussed Guam, we were interviewed from Guam by K57 guest co-host Ginger Cruz on live radio to talk about missile defense policy on Guam. Here are some excerpts from the discussion this morning on why we are defending Guam.
“I wanted to invite you on because there have been a couple news briefs lately who quoted you as saying that ‘the United States news to hurry up and invest more because as far the current plans go, we don’t quite have enough in place to defend the island of Guam’. Can you tell me about that?” – Ginger Cruz, May 22, 2023
“The driving threat for that is China’s possible takeover of Taiwan and that threat looking at possibly 2025 and through the 30s. That has been established with intent and you’ve seen the Chinese have doubled the illegal flight incursions around Taiwan to 1,700 this past year. And that movement’s there. So, our ability to deter China from taking Taiwan is a lot to do with Guam because Guam is the furthest western US homeland position and it’s the ability for us to, if necessary to deter and stop that takeover. So, to be able to defend US homeland territory against China is number one priority as that China would most likely look to take out Guam prior to a Taiwan invasion. So that is where that impetus is coming big time and making a system in Guam to deter China from making that decision and extending that past into the 2030s and beyond to do it. The country, the national security, the President, the Secretary of Defense, and Congress is given about $8 billion to create a defensive architecture for your island in Guam and that is where we’re at today. And that first implementation of a first part of that defense is being put forward in the NDAA, in Congress, this week to finalize, to make that sharp movement in doing that.” – Riki Ellison, May 22, 2023
“First off, we’re not going to test the nuclear threshold, that’s not in any interest of China or us to do that. So it would be a conventional strike, just like Ukraine. Secondly, this is more about deterrence than it is defense. We’ve got to put this in place to slow them down, to change their calculus, to delay that aspect of it. And as you were in Iraq, you knew the first thing they’re going to do is take out the sensors. Because if you can take out the sensors, everything else is moot. That’s why the sensors in Guam are going to be mobile, and have to be able to move around the island to give them more survivability. So again, this is deterrence, we’re not talking about conflict yet. We’re talking about an initiative by the United States to demonstrate that we’re going to defend our U.S. homeland from you. And we’re going to defend our projection of power, and we’re going to have a legitimate capability here, so you better rethink your decision of taking Taiwan or striking Guam.’ – Riki Ellison, May 22, 2023
“Well, I think the people of Guam gotta recognize and want to be recognized as part of the US homeland. They can’t be seen separately. That they’re not Hawaii. They’re not the 50 states. Because that’s a vulnerability that China will expose. And China thinks that, right? China doesn’t think that you’re part of the whole group. So, we have to protect you, like we protect the rest of the fifty. And this is why this is so important that you are protected and this is a defensive system. It is not an offensive system. It is for the defense of your infrastructure, look and I would, I would caution and tell your citizens, look at what they’re doing to Ukraine. Look at what Russia has done with Ukraine on missiles. That could happen here in Guam if we do not have an integrated layered missile defense system in place by 28’. That’s how serious this is and this is how important this is. Hawaii doesn’t have it. Alaska doesn’t have it. California doesn’t have it. You’re going to be the first one. You’re the first one to have an integrated layered missile defense capability all the way down from cruise missiles skimming the seas to all the way up to space and hyper. And it’s pretty neat that you are the first one and it is about deterring China from going to war with us.” – Riki Ellison, May 22, 2023
Listen to the full interview here.