We as a nation are confronted by an extremely complex and escalating threat to our way of life. We are facing a probable nuclear deal with Iran that will provide it with both the incentive and funding to multiply their ballistic missile forces. We see a deliberate increase in Russian short-range missiles and area-denial threat to NATO eastern Europe and the Baltic States. We find North Korea once again escalating tension with rapid developments in mobile land-based ballistic missiles, and submarine launched ballistic missile capability that could be coupled with miniaturized nuclear weapons in the near future, along with an agnostic but very capable and growing ballistic missile threat from China that threatens all of the United States and its allies.
We as a nation – our President, our Military and our Congress – do not have a clear overarching comprehensive policy on missile defense to confront, deter and win against the accelerated escalation of ballistic missiles and threats from around the world today. Our current policy, laid out in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) put forth by President Obama and the Department of Defense, is outdated and not applicable to the current trends that our nation faces. The premise of President Obama’s 2010 BMDR was based on a “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations, and contained both concessions and limitations of the missile defense systems being deployed, developed and invested in terms of quantity and capability.
As a result, we now have in place a flat lined acquisition driven missile defense policy, rather than a comprehensive missile defense strategy that is current, forward-looking, and capable of winning and deterring against escalating threats. Indicative of the current inefficiency and deep frustration of this acquisition driven policy that it has become, two of our highest ranking military officials, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jon Greenert, and the U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno, sent a memo to then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in November 2014. Defense Secretary Hagel answered the memo, saying he would look into it just prior to him leaving office. As of yet, it has been not been addressed by the current Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. In the reality of Presidential election cycles and lame duck administrations, it would seem that a serious missile defense policy shift to match the shift of direction of the increasingly complex strategic environment should be above politics, instead of being ignored. This shift of policy will have to be addressed at the highest levels of our country, and would not be in the best interests of our national security nor reasonable to those that these missile defense systems protect to have to wait for a new administration to change this policy.
A new policy is needed now, and it would need to both withdraw from some of the non-essential deployments of our regional missile defense systems, increase joint capacity and build-up networks of interoperability, capability and trust with our allies.
A new policy should enable the full spectrum of the capability of the systems currently deployed, rather than limiting their capabilities. We need a policy that enables generational advances in technology, and the application of those advances into the field to reduce cost of engagement and shot doctrine, increasing the reliability and confidence in the systems. We need a policy that looks into both increasing the volume, lowering the cost and capacity of kinetic and non-kinetic intercept means, as well as discriminating sensors on survivable platforms to fill all existing sensor gaps. This policy should look at the forward basing of mobile long-range interceptors, multiple and common kill vehicles, directed energy, space-based, cyber, hypersonic interceptors, along with integrated networks that enable using the best shooter with the best sensor. Most of all, it should enable full integration of our defense with our offensive force structure and weapon systems to provide the best deterrent.
It is about winning against our threats in both the near and long-term, being efficient and technologically ahead to maintain a deterrent in both capability and intent. Too much is at stake to defer, concede and placate the threats we are facing.
Let us lead from the front, and win.
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.