MDAA was honored last week to tour the area of responsibility of the Central Command (CENT COM) with the Department of Defense as a member of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC). Enclosed is a brief summary.
Last Monday, October 17th, 2006, MDAA began the trip at the Pentagon with discussions with the Secretary of Defense and the Vice Chairman of JCS, Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr. Leaving that day, we flew into Manama, Bahrain and were briefed by Vice Admiral Patrick M. Walsh, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Commander, Combined Maritime Forces. The following day we landed on the USS Iwo Jima while performing exercises with LCATS and Marine Harrier Jets in the Persian Gulf and met with the Commodore of the Strike Group, Commander Captain Sinclair M. Harris, as well as the Captain of the Ship, Michael A. Walley. At the end of the day, MDAA was flown into the forward operating bases of Dagger and Sword in Northern Kuwait to meet with Lt. General R. Steven Whitcomb, Commander of Third Army, US Army Central Command. The next day we flew into Doha, Qatar and meet with Lt. General Gary L. North, 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Combined Air Forces and then on the final day, we flew to the Horn of Africa, Djibouti, and were briefed by the U.S. Special Forces and reviewed humanitarian support given by our Military forces based there. Marine Major General Ghormley, Chief of Staff US Central Command was our escort.
During this remarkable experience, MDAA was humbled and inspired by interacting with many young soldiers, airmen and sailors of the Marines, Coast Guard, Navy, Army and Air Force as they discussed their experiences and thoughts. There is no doubt that the United States military forces are doing the job required of them in Afghanistan and Iraqi.
On behalf of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, I have established relationships with those in command which have allowed me to have a unique perspective of what the war-fighter needs in terms of ballistic missile defense and a clearer understanding of the threat from missile proliferation in the Middle East which includes Iran. Currently, the U.S. forward operating bases in Kuwait and the US Air Base in Doha are vulnerable to ballistic missile attack and do not have missile defense protection. The current Patriot-3 Missile Defense units are needed and must be forthcoming as the Army channels over 600,000 troops annually and the majority of supplies through a small area in Kuwait and over 10 billion dollars of United States aircraft are located at the Air Base in Qatar. Equally important, is the need to dissuade and deter Iran for its continued allocation of resources on their offensive missiles by deploying one or more of our Aegis Missile Defense equipped ships in the Persian Gulf.
MDAA now more then ever believes that missile defense is critical for the Middle East for stabilization, deterrence/dissuasion and protection of our troops and assets. MDAA is motivated to drive for missile defense deployment at the highest levels as our young soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors are vulnerable to the proliferation and threat of missiles in the Middle East.