The Land of Enchantment

May 13, 2006

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) flight test over the skies of the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico was successful this past week. The THAAD successfully integrated its self-contained and independent system made up of launcher, interceptor, radar and fire control. Moreover, the THAAD applies kinetic energy (non-explosive) to make the intercepts, similar to our sea-based (SM-3) and ground-based (GBI) defensive missiles, that is, using only the force of a direct collision to totally destroy the hostile missile. This developed capability will be able to protect large areas of land, air and our coastlines from short – and – medium range ballistic missile attacks.

In today’s world environment, with the reality of future proliferation, this land – based missile defense system is important and a needed element to our overall strategy as part of a robust layered missile defense system. It may be possible for a small number of THAAD systems to provide the capablity to protect the continental United States from short to intermediate-range missile attack by placing less than a half-dozen THAAD batteries on each of our coasts. Of equal importance, this defensive system can be placed aboard U.S. Air Force transport planes and airlifted anywhere in the world THAAD is needed to protect our troops, our allies and friends particularly in the Middle East and northeast Asia. We at MDAA support the continued testing and development of the THAAD and urge all those that take part in it to expedite the deployment of this system.

Riki Ellison, President of MDAA with Colonel John A. Daniels, Director of the Airborne Laser Program The skies of New Mexico are home to another one of our prominent future missile defense technologies and platforms: the Airborne Laser Program (ABL). The ABL is being developed out of its program office in nearby Kirtland Air Force Base. MDAA hosted the Albuquerque “Breakfast of Champions” in New Mexico with local community and civic leaders, including representatives from Senator Pete V. Domenici and Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s offices. Colonel John A. Daniels, USAF, Director, Airborne Laser Program, Missile Defense Agency, was the guest speaker.

As a state with bi-partisan representation, New Mexico participated in the 301 House votes made up of

80 Democrats and 221 Republicans who overwhelmingly defeated and rejected House Roll Call Vote 142

HR 5122 on a proposed House amendment to restructure, reduce and restrict missile defense last week.

In the land of bi-partisanship and throughout the skies of New Mexico – whose home includes Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Kirtland Air Force Base and the White Sands Missile Range – it is fitting that the state be known as “The Land of Enchantment”.

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