August 17, 2007
By Riki Ellison
President of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, MDAA
In Huntsville Alabama this week, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the space and missile defense for our country, the 10th Annual Space and Missile Defense Conference took place.
The conference brought together those responsible for developing, deploying and using our nation’s missile defense systems. Generals in attendance included General Kevin P. Chilton, Commander, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC); Lieutenant-General C. Robert “Bob” Kehler, acting Commander, United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM); and Leiutenant-General William G. Webster, Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
All attendees presented their positions and thoughts on the current and future state of missile defense.
I observed that from the collective Generals’ viewpoints presented, our National Security and that of our Allies is dependent on Global Deterrence with Allied participation aimed at threatening nation and non-nation states. Global deterrence, according to Lt. Gen. Kehler, is applying and deploying tools that encourage restraint, deny benefits and impose costs to those nations and non-nation states that threaten the United States and its allies.
An integrated missile defense to include cruise missile defense made up of seamless layered missile defense systems in each and every Command Region around the world is a valuable tool for global deterrence.
Adding missile defense to our nation’s strategic offense enhances greatly our deterrent force and allows many more options than those of eras long ago which depended on Mutual Assured Destruction where the only defense, deterrent and option was a nuclear strike.
The commanders recognized the value of our current and future evolving missile defense systems especially in their sensor capabilities. For having exact information or ‘situational awareness’ on your opponents in all mediums — land, sea, air and space — allows for strategic opportunity to deter and to dissuade. Assuring space, the most critical medium of communication and awareness, allows sharing of critical information to inform so that better decisions are made. In this manner assuring space is a critical strategic objective of which all are in agreement.
Amongst the military presenters were two of MDAA’s Board of Advisors; Ambassador Robert Joseph and retired Lieutenant-General Ron Kadish. Ambassador Joseph spoke on the current threats as he stated ‘that there is no greater threat to the United States then Iran’s race to Nuclear Weapons as they are more complex, more dangerous, more regional and more global than any other nation.
Ambassador Joseph further remarked that it is in the United States self interest to defend against Iran which includes the deployment of the European Missile Defense Site in Poland and the Czech Republic. Fellow MDAA advisor Ron Kadish’s presentation was on missile defense testing and the absolute necessity of having testing as he outlined four fundamental points:
— Testing schedules cannot be scheduled to a political schedule or that
of outside pressure.
— Testing is expensive; the alternative to not testing is much worse and
— Testing cannot be too threat specific, design a system to defend
against all threats.
— Testing is about predictability and confidence, the more we test the
more confidence we have.
Ellison ended his observations of the conference by concluding “The exchange of ideas, visions and determination of developing and deploying missile defense amongst those that were in attendance in Huntsville helps our nation become safer.”
From Peace and Freedom: Our very special thanks to Riki Ellison, MDAA.