Archive for the ‘Obering’ Category

US general urges Obama to keep missile defense

November 13, 2008

The Air Force general who runs the Pentagon’s missile defense projects said Wednesday that American interests would be “severely hurt” if President-elect Obama decided to halt plans developed by the Bush administration to install missile interceptors in Eastern Europe.

This 2008 handout image courtesy of the US Missile Defense Agency ... 
This 2008 handout image courtesy of the US Missile Defense Agency (USMDA) shows a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) being launched off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The Pentagon’s missile defense chief Trey Obering said Wednesday he looked forward to reporting to Barack Obama that the US anti-missile system is “workable,” and to setting the president-elect’s mind at ease.(AFP/HO USMDA/File/Ho)

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency, told a group of reporters that he is awaiting word from Obama’s transition team on their interest in receiving briefings.

During the campaign, Obama was not explicit about his intentions with regard to missile defense. The program has tended to draw less support from Democrats over the years, particularly during the Reagan presidency when it was seen as a “Star Wars” effort to erect an impenetrable shield against nuclear missile attack from the Soviet Union. More recently the project has been scaled back, although it has again created an East-West divide by stirring Russian opposition to the proposed European link.

Obama has said it would be prudent to “explore the possibility of deploying missile defense systems in Europe,” in light of what he called active efforts by Iran to develop ballistic missiles as well as nuclear weapons.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant-General Henry ... 
U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant-General Henry Obering is seen during the Czech Republic – U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Industry Research and Business Seminar in Czernin Palace in Prague in this January 16, 2008 file photo.REUTERS/David W Cerny/Files

But Obama expressed some skepticism about the technical capability of U.S. missile defenses. He said that if elected his administration would work with NATO allies to develop anti-missile technologies.

Obering, who is leaving his post next week after more than four years in charge, said in the interview that his office has pulled together information for a presentation to the Obama team, if asked.

“What we have discovered is that a lot of the folks that have not been in this administration seem to be dated, in terms of the program,” he said. “They are kind of calibrated back in the 2000 time frame and we have come a hell of a long way since 2000. Our primary objective is going to be just, frankly, educating them on what we have accomplished, what we have been able to do and why we have confidence in what we are doing.”

Asked whether he meant that Obama or his advisers had an outdated view of missile defense, Obering said he was speaking more generally about people who have not closely followed developments in this highly technical field.

A key question for the new president will be whether to proceed with the Bush administration‘s plans to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic. That system is on track to be ready for use by 2014, Obering said. It is strongly opposed by Russia, which sees it as an unwelcome military threat close to its borders; the Bush administration says it is needed to defend European allies against an emerging missile threat from Iran.

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US interested in Czech missile defense radar even without interceptors in Poland

April 2, 2008

WASHINGTON – The United States would still be interested in installing a radar in the Czech Republic even if it should fail to reach a deal with Poland on the other main part of its planned European missile defense system.

The director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Henry A. “Trey” Obering, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday that the radar could serve multiple functions within the global U.S. missile defense system.

The United States and the Czech Republic have said they are nearing a deal on the radar, but talks with Poland about building a site for 10 interceptors have lagged. Poland has been demanding that the United States include military aid as part of any agreement.

Obering said that while the United States still expects to complete the deal with Poland, the radar would be useful even without the interceptors.

“The radar itself is a tremendous capability,” he said, and information gathered from the radar could be used for U.S. and NATO missile defense assets other than the planned European system.

The U.S. plans in the two Eastern European countries have been a source of tension with Russia and are expected to be a major topic in talks between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet on Sunday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Satellite Shot Down: Lucky or Excellence?

March 16, 2008

16 March 2008

(CBS) Last month, we were treated to a space spectacular – not a shuttle launch or moon landing, but the shoot down of a crippled intelligence satellite by a missile launched from a U.S. Navy ship. It was a test of the country’s missile defense system, a system that was conceived over 20 years ago by President Reagan. And it worked. Was it a lucky shot, or is the nation’s missile defense a reason for Americans to feel secure? National Security correspondent David Martin has some answers.

single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an SM-3 missile being launched from the USS Lake Erie warship on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2008. The Pentagon says the missile successfully intercepted a wayward U.S. spy satellite orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, about 133 nautical miles over the Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/US Navy)

It was 25 years ago this month, in a presidential address from the Oval Office, when Ronald Reagan asked this question:

“What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reach our own soil or that of our allies?”

President Reagan never used the words, but this will forever be known as the “Star Wars” speech, a term of gentle derision for his vision of battle stations in space destroying Soviet missiles with lasers.

It never happened, but today there is a scaled-down version of Star Wars, not in space but on Earth – interceptors to defend not against an all-out Soviet attack, but against a handful of missiles launched by North Korea or Iran.

“If you want to call it Star Wars lite,” Lt. Gen. Trey Obering told CBS News correspondent David Martin, “I have no problem with that term.”

Obering is the man in charge of building a system that can shoot down incoming ballistic missiles – the proverbial “hitting a bullet with a bullet.”

“I was a big fan of the ‘Star Wars’ movies,” Obering told Martin, “and when you think about what that was involving, it was, I think, the force of good versus the forces of evil in the universe.”
A ballistic missile streaks across the sky during a test for ... 
A ballistic missile streaks across the sky during a test for the US missile defense program in 2001.(AFP/File/Mike Nelson)

Obering’s forces of good include a giant radar floating on an oil platform in the Pacific Ocean; nearly two dozen interceptor missiles in underground silos in Alaska and California; and still more interceptors on Navy cruisers. One of those blew up that out-of-control satellite a few weeks ago – the first real shootdown by a system that to date has cost $115 billion, but which most Americans don’t even know exists.

Martin asked Obering straight out if the U.S. currently has a missile defense system.

“Yes sir,” he answered. “We have a missile defense system today.”

“As we’re speaking,” Martin pressed him, “someone is sitting at a screen watching for that North Korean missile?”

“Yes sir, that’s a fact. We have crews on alert.”

“This may be one of the best kept secrets in Washington,” Martin told him.

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US briefs NATO allies on missile defense plans

March 6, 2008

(AP)BRUSSELS, Belgium – The United States briefed NATO allies Wednesday on the latest developments of its plan to station anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, head of the US Missile Defense Agency, was joined by senior State and Defense Department officials in a meeting with envoys from the 26 NATO allies.

The talks come between visits to Washington by Czech and Polish leaders to discuss the plans.

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Japan, U.S. Complete “Historic” Missile Defense Exercises

December 18, 2007

Rear Admiral Katsutoshi Kawano, of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and Lt. General Henry “Trey” Obering III, Director of the United Stated Missile Defense Agency, announced today the successful completion of the cooperative Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) intercept flight test, conducted off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii.

The event, designated Japan Flight Test Mission 1 (JFTM-1), marked the first time that an allied navy ship successfully intercepted a ballistic missile targe using the midcourse engagement capability provided by Aegis BMD including the SM-3 missile.

The JFTM-1 test event verified the new engagement capability of the midcourse Aegis BMD configuration of the recently upgraded Japanese destroyer, JS KONGO (DDG-173) weapons system. 

At approximately 12:05 pm (HST), 7:05 am Tokyo time on Dec. 18, 2007, a ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. JS KONGO crew members detected and tracked the target.  The Aegis Weapon System then developed a fire control solution and at approximately 12:08 pm (HST),
7:08 am Tokyo time, the crew of KONG launched a Standard Missile -3 (SM-3) Block IA.

Approximately 3 minutes later, the SM-3 successfully intercepted the target approximately 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean.  FTM-1 marked the first live-fire SM-3 launch and intercept by a ship of Japan’s navy, a major milestone in the growing cooperative program on ballistic missile defense between Japan and the U.S.

Japan previously participated with its warships tracking, testing communications and data links and collecting data and training opportunities during U.S. ballistic missile defense events. 
 Media contacts: Pam Rogers, MDA Public Affairs, at  (808) 335-4740/8020 (PMRF),
(256) 503-3726 cell and Rick Lehner, MDA Public Affairs, at (703) 697-8997.  Photos are available at (MDA and Navy Visual News) websites.  Post event video will be available at 4:00-5:00 p.m. (HST), 9:00-10:00 p.m. (EST), Satellite Digital Feed, AMC 3, Transponder 8A, FEC 3/4, Data Rate 5.5, DL Frequency 11845V.  Symbol Rate 3.9787.  Analog Feed AMC 3TR8, DL Frequency 11860 V.  Trouble uplink 678-313-6001.  Video also available from DVIDs and Navy Visual News Streambox.

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED

(Parts of this U.S. Government release were re-written by Peace and Freedom due to grammatical errors)

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense will have new building commissioned

October 20, 2007

October 20, 2007
The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)

A new building for the military’s Missile Defense Agency will be commissioned Monday at the Naval Support Facility at Dahlgren in King George County.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering III, the agency’s director, will officiate the ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. at Building 1505 on Fourth Street.

The new facility will house the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, a command that was moved to Dahlgren under Base Realignment and Closure plans. Several hundred military and civilian contractors will work in the building.

Missile Defense Works

October 9, 2007

By James T. Hackett
The Washington Times
October 5, 2007

The successful intercept of a ballistic missile high over the Pacific Ocean last Friday should quiet the critics who keep saying missile defense doesn’t work. But don’t count on it.

Stubborn opposition dies slowly.

Arms-control activists and some congressional Democrats keep calling for “operational testing” of the national missile defense system, implying that current testing is inadequate. Critics, including many in the media, routinely write that missile defense “doesn’t work,” and then call for more flight tests. When Congress cut funds for a missile defense site in Poland, one of the reasons given was that more operational testing of ground-based defenses was needed.

But consider what happened last Friday. A ballistic missile launched from Kodiak, Alaska, flew thousands of miles southeast before being struck and destroyed some 100 miles over the ocean by an interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast. It was an operational interceptor, same as the nearly two dozen now in silos in Alaska and California, launched from an operational site, using operational command and control, manned by operational crews and tracked by the operational radar at Beale AFB, Calif.

If that is not an operational test, what is? It was as realistic as possible within safety constraints. A similar successful test by an operational interceptor was conducted from Vandenberg a year ago. Both were challenging end-to-end tests, demonstrating all components of a very complex system work together effectively. Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency, notes there now have been 22 successes in 23 attempts of missile defense tests since 2005.

Critics say this mixes tests of long-range and short-range interceptors. But the point is that the basic technology, which is similar in both, works as intended. There always will be test failures, but that is how problems are identified and fixed. Overall, the missile defense test program has been highly successful.

In last week’s test the satellite-based missile warning system detected the launch, the Beale radar acquired the target and tracked it, and data was passed to the fire control and communications unit, which launched the interceptor. The kill vehicle separated from the booster rocket, received target data from the Beale radar, and then pointed toward the target and homed in to destroy it.

An Aegis ship in the Pacific and the sea-based X-band radar successfully tracked the target. In the next flight test early next year, data from Aegis and X-band radars will be used to direct the interceptor toward the target. The X-band radar then will be the primary engagement radar, which will provide a huge increase in capability. Transportable X-band radars also will be used in future tests.

Critics claim the defense can be overcome if the incoming missile deploys decoys or other penetration aids. But the emerging missile defense system includes an extensive network of land- and sea-based radars. With a variety of sensors tracking the target, the chance of distinguishing warheads from decoys is greatly improved. The X-band radar, working in conjunction with the interceptor’s on-board sensors, is especially good at such discrimination.

Past flight tests include five successful intercepts in which penetration aids were used, and more of these tests will be conducted in the future.

A frequent complaint is that there have not been enough flight tests of the ground-based missile defense system. Some would delay the deployment of defenses until more tests have been completed. But Charles McQueary, head of the Defense Department’s Office of Operational Test and Evaluation, has endorsed two flight tests per year.

Mr. McQueary told Congress the flight test program is viable, explaining it is important to leave enough time between tests to analyze the data and make sure nothing went wrong. Besides, at a cost of some $85 million for each intercept test, it would be expensive and wasteful to do more than necessary.

Launching target missiles from Alaska toward the continental United States has made the tests more realistic than launching westward from California. Future tests against salvos and penetration aids will add even more realism. Yet, critics continue to claim the tests are not sufficiently realistic. Some purists will not be content until North Korea launches a missile at this country, providing the ultimate in reality testing.

But two outstanding intercepts in 12 months by an operational missile defense system should quiet even the most severe critics.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

Russian radar in Azerbaijan is unacceptable, missile defense chief says

September 19, 2007

By Thom Shanker
International Herald Tribune
September 18, 2007

American technical experts spent Tuesday inspecting a Russian radar station in Azerbaijan, but the director of the Pentagon’s missile defense program emphatically stated that the Soviet-era early warning system was incapable of replacing an antimissile tracking radar proposed for the Czech Republic.

The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, pressed the Kremlin to drop its objections to American proposals for 10 antimissile interceptors in Poland and for a radar in the Czech Republic. In a speech here, the general urged Moscow to link its radar in Azerbaijan to the American system in Central Europe to assist collective security.

The visit to Azerbaijan by a high-level delegation of missile experts was a response to a proposal from President Vladimir Putin of Russia that the United States drop plans for the new construction in Central Europe and to use instead the Russian radar in a system to defend against a future Iranian threat.

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