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MDAA Press Release: The international demand on U.S. Patriot Missile Defense Battalions is exhausting American Air Defense Soldiers and hindering much needed upgrades and modernization to the Patriot Systems, said Riki Ellison, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance in a statement on Wednesday. The U.S. Army has 15 Patriot Battalions stretched thin by ongoing deployments to Bahrain, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, South Korea, Turkey, the UAE and Qatar.

“These deployments provide tremendous pressure on a very limited number of U.S. Missile Defense Patriot batteries and soldiers manning these systems so much so that deployment lengths for missile defenders currently stand at 12 months, from the normal nine-month tours for the U.S. Army.” Said Ellison.

The shortage in equipment and manpower has also forced the Army to “[consume] an important ‘test’ battalion as part of the rotation.” Withdrawing a battalion from the rotation for testing, Ellison points out “puts even more strain on the limited U.S. Patriot Battalions that logically cannot reduce its 12-month deployments for its Soldiers to nine months anytime soon.”

Such upgrades include radar enhancements, Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) software upgrades and incorporation of the new Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Interceptor.  These enhancements are vital, says Ellison, “or else these systems will not remain effective against the growth and sophistication of the air and ballistic missile threats.”

To alleviate the shortfall, the MDAA Chairman says that the United States should increase the number of its Patriot Battalions and encourage greater allied contributions to the regional BMD missions. The United States has to enable partner countries to become more self-sufficient in their air defense by “giving them the air defense tools, the training, the capability, and most of all the information to be true partners.”

Until the Patriot shortage is addressed, Ellison concludes, “our U.S. Soldiers in the Air Defense Artillery Branch will need to continue sacrificing under these long deployments until relief arrives for this mission deemed so critical by our combatant commanders and allies.”

“The demand is high and growing, the supply is limited. Something has to give – and it should not be our Soldiers.”

Read Riki Ellison’s Full Statement

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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.