Wilsbach: Army Must ‘Step Up’ to Protect Guam, Pacific Air Bases Against New Threats

June 22, 2022

Air Force Magazine:

Guam is just a speck in the vast Pacific Ocean, 30 miles long by 12 miles at its widest point, but its location in Micronesia in the South Pacific makes Andersen Air Force Base a crucial hub for fighter and bomber aircraft. The Army’s base defense mission is, therefore, paramount to protecting it as a forward position for re-arming and repairing strike aircraft.

Joint Region Marianas commander Navy Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson said “the potential for a Guam defense system” is now the big news on the island. Such a defense would answer the call by the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino for 360-degree radar and missile defenses to protect the island from the ballistic, cruise, and hypersonic missile threats.

Today, the base depends on the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, which has been in Guam since 2014, when it was deployed in response to North Korean threats.

The THAAD battery “gives us protection from ballistic missiles, and some of the other missiles as well, but it is somewhat limited in scope,” Nicholson said. “The new system will provide a more comprehensive ability to defend the island from all threat axes and a larger group of missiles. That’s in the works. There’s still a lot of work to be done on where those parts and pieces will go…”

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