The Great White Fleet

April 3, 2007

On Monday, April 2nd, 2007 the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, which includes the cruiser Princeton and the destroyers Higgins, John Paul Jones, and Pinckney, left the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego, California. One of the Aegis Destroyers in the battle group has the long range surveillance and tracking ballistic missile defense capability. This substantial show of force heading into the Pacific represents a deterrent to those that may question, or would test our resolve, and demonstrates strong support for our allies that border the Pacific Ocean.

Of particular note is North Korea who, in less than two weeks from today, is scheduled to turn off its nuclear facilities as agreed to during the six-nation talks. This agreement was signed by the six nations bordering the waters of and around the Pacific Ocean: China, Japan, Korea, North Korea, Russia and the United States. We are fortunate that the United States and the country of Japan have deployed and developed missile defenses throughout these talks and will continue to do so. For if North Korea does not choose to abide by the agreement in the next two weeks, or withdraws from the agreement at a later time, our deployed forces and the population of Japan will be defended. Not only has missile defense been instrumental in supporting this agreement from its conception, it is the critical piece to ensure stability and prevent further coercion from North Korea. Missile Defense provides our nation and that of Russia, China, Japan, Korea another option rather than preemptive military action.

It is with reassurance that our country and that of Japan have the ability to shoot down short, medium and long range ballistic missiles, specifically from North Korea. Today, the United States has Patriot-3 battalions and a forward based radar in Japan, and four Aegis Missile Defense engagement ships carrying multiple Standard Missile-3’s stationed in the surrounding waters, a floating Sea-Based X-band Radar in Alaska, 17 Ground Based Interceptors and long range radars in Alaska and California.

MDAA had the privilege and honor to be in San Diego this past weekend to tour one of the Aegis Destroyers in the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group during its preparations, and delivered a presentation to representatives from seven international countries Japan, Canada, India, South Korea, Norway, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, and Singapore on Sea Based Missile Defense at the ComDef West Conference.

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