ANCHORAGE, 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."
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."
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."
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."
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."