Riki Ellison, Founder and Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA), has made some comments on the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing
held on Capitol Hill Wednesday. The purpose of the hearing was to
receive testimony on ballistic missile defense policies and programs in
review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2011.
Ellison is one of the foremost lay experts in the field of missile
defense. Ellison's comments include the following statements:
the past week, Congress held three public hearings on missile defense
plans for 2011 and beyond. Hearings were held by the Strategic Forces
Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, the Senate Armed
Service Committee led by Chairman Carl Levin
(D-MI) and the Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) on Tuesday and most
recently the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations
Committee led by the Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) on Wednesday.
"During these hearings, the testimony of President Barack Obama's
appointees in the Department of Defense and the Director of the Missile
Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, exposed five fundamental
elements of the administration's missile defense plan:
recent Congressional hearings on missile defense have made it
abundantly clear to the American public that a gap exists in the
missile protection of the U.S. homeland against Iran.
It is also apparent that the administration's plans to develop and
deploy a hedge to fill that gap have not adequately been addressed. The
administration needs to move forward with urgency for a robust testing
and deployment plan of the two-stage GBI on or before 2015 to ensure
full protection of the U.S. homeland from Iran.
- Iran, with foreign assistance (North Korea), could have the ability to strike the U.S. homeland with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by 2015.
- In the current administration's plan, the Phased Adaptive Approach (PAA), there will be a second shot capability based in Europe
to defend the U.S. homeland from an Iranian ICBM in 2020. This is
dependent on the development, testing and deployment, of a new SM-3
Block 2B missile and the integration that allows for early intercept by
launch and engage on remote sensors including basing Aegis Ashore
platforms in Europe.
administration's current missile defense plan for the defense of the
U.S. homeland is to rely on 30 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI's), 26
based in Alaska and 4 in California
until 2032. They would provide protection against a maximum of 15
incoming ICBMs, using two GBIs per ICBM with a shoot, look, and shoot
doctrine. Due to distance, parts of Eastern United States will not have the same confidence of protection as the remaining U.S. Homeland from an ICBM threat from Iran.
- There is a gap of protection and vulnerability against an ICBM launched from Iran
at the U.S. homeland, especially to significant parts of the east
coast, for a minimum of 5 years in the President's plan for missile
defense, provided that Iran acquires ICBM capability by 2015.
- In regards to a hedge for the existent gap in protection from an ICBM attack from Iran against the U.S. homeland, Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly presented three options:
- Fully outfitting missile field 2 in Fort Greely, Alaska with GBIs adding 8 more GBIs to the existing 30 GBIs,
- Testing the two-stage GBI, the missile in June of this year, the same missile system intended to be deployed in Poland for the canceled 3rd site of the previous administration.
- Having additional shot opportunities, against an ICBM from Iran, with two-stage missiles.
protection of the U.S. homeland from ballistic missiles is the declared
and stated number one priority of President Obama's administration
missile defense policy."