U.S. Missile Defense Soldiers Overburdened, Under Resourced

December 15, 2014

Ft. Bliss, Texas – December 15, 2014 – MDAA Chairman and Founder Riki Ellison, who recently visited with soldiers of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), released a statement on Friday concerning the unequal burden these troops are forced to shoulder. Mr. Ellison said that this inequity stems from the “constant demand” for U.S. missile defense forces around the world, combined with the “limited system capabilities” the United States currently possesses.

“There is no other component of the U.S. military that is so overburdened with its mission,” than U.S. missile defense forces, said Mr. Ellison.  The 32nd AAMDC operates 11 out of the 15 Patriot batteries in the U.S. arsenal, and all four U.S. THAAD batteries.

This burden is so great, says Mr. Ellison said, that these troops are required to fulfill “12-month deployments rather than 9-month deployments…taking them away from their families and loved ones.”

The Patriot and THAAD units in the 32nd AAMDC currently experience regular deployment rotations to seven different countries (Bahrain, Guam, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, UAE). This does not include the units stationed in the United States, which Mr. Ellison says must also “maintain readiness…to mobilize anywhere in the world at short notice.”

“Further unlike the norms for deployed combat soldiers,” the MDAA Chairman went on to say, “(t)hese air and missile defenders have no two-week leave, no combat pay bonuses, and receive no combat patches for these deployments.”

Mr. Ellison concluded by saying that Congress and the DOD have a “responsibility to address this inequity.”

“We as a nation must provide more air and missile defense capability, increase the efficiency of that capability, and increase true partnership capacity in air and missile defense with our allies that we are deployed with to reduce the sacrifice of those that serve this mission and make our world safe.”