U.S. Reliant on Long-Range Missile DefenseANCHORAGE, Alaska, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org, visited the Missile Defense Site of the Ground Based Interceptors stationed at Fort Greely, Alaska. Ellison is one of the top lay experts in missile defense in the world. His comments and observations are below:
"Over the past few days, MDAA has been in Fort Greely, Alaska touring the Ground Based Midcourse Interceptor Fields and visiting the U.S. Army Soldiers stationed here, including the 49th Battalion, 100th Missile Defense Brigade."
"The missile fields at Ft. Greely are currently populated with Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) which are the only defense against long-range ballistic missile threats for the United States homeland, particularly from North Korea. Ground-Based Interceptors are, and will always remain, the last line of defense for the American Public; hopefully they will never be used. These mid-course interceptors can engage the extremely high speeds of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). This capability means they remain a critical part of a robust multi-layered defensive system and currently provide the last land-based layer of defense for the United States homeland. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that homeland defense is the first priority of our nation's missile defense systems in the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, released February 1st."
"Future proposals for missile defense research and development, as well as the President's phased adaptive approach, include introducing forward layers of U.S. homeland defense by 2020 so as to not rely solely on the GBIs. This would also provide early in-flight engagement options for the post-boost phases of ICBMs. The withdrawal of the proposed missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, which would have added an additional layer of defense for the U.S. homeland by 2017, leaves the United States completely dependent on the GBIs here in Fort Greely until at the very earliest 2020; provided that future systems are developed, tested and deployed. Remarkably the only system in the U.S. inventory that is proven to destroy ballistic missiles in the boost phase of flight and could have added a forward layer to U.S. homeland defense, the Airborne Laser (ABL), has been canceled and turned into a test bed for future experiments by President Obama and Secretary Gates. If proven, the future proposed early intercept defense programs would greatly enhance and supplement the GBIs by providing an inherent capability to defeat countermeasures before being deployed, as well as leaving interception debris over the launched territory."
"Until these concepts are proven out, deployed and paid for, our nation is completely reliant on the precision and confidence of the deployed GBIs against the growing threat of Iran and current threat from North Korea. Furthermore, Secretary Gates has made the decision to limit the number of GBIs to 30 thus requiring even more confidence in the reliability of these missiles. The GBIs must be tested more than they are currently and there must be modernization support for the continued enhancement of the kill vehicle mounted on top of the missile interceptor for our nation to have confidence in the reliability of fewer GBIs. The GBIs are the most expensive defensive missile in our nation's inventories, currently costing upwards of $60 Million per missile. Thus, the viability of the system also has a cost efficiency factor that can only be reduced through more production and/or adding multiple kill vehicles instead of one kill vehicle on top of the missile."
Ellison closed his comments with: "It has been a true honor to spend time with the brave young men and women of the 49th Missile Defense Battalion as they serve our country performing their duties in extreme weather conditions; unheralded and unnoticed."
Riki Ellison is available for on the record interviews. Contact Barbara Maxwell at 703-299-0060 to schedule.
Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
Posted: February 22, 2010
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