12 June 2013
East Coast Missile Defense Site
MDAA Alert


Ground-Based Interceptor Launch at the West Coast missile defense site in Vandenberg, CA

Dear Members and Friends,

Our House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, in fulfilling its constitutional right to check and balance the President of the United States and the Department of Defense, is challenging the defense and protection of our nation against long-range nuclear ballistic missiles launched from Iran by requiring an estimated expenditure of three billion dollars to build a missile defense site located near the East Coast of the United States.  This site is to be operational by 2018 and hold up to 20 Ground-Based Interceptors. The additional United States missile defense site would be in place and operational to deter and defend against the projected Iranian long-range nuclear ballistic missile threat.  This threat has been stated by United States intelligence agencies, before Congress, to become a reality as early as 2015. The United States House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services approved House Resolution 1960 that authorizes appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the Department of Defense and includes Section 232, sponsored Representative Michael Turner from Ohio.  The House Resolution still requires approval by the entire United States House of Representatives, United States Senate, and final approval by the President of the United States.

With a real missile threat from North Korea and a projected forthcoming missile threat from Iran that could threaten and hold the United States Homeland hostage, the Department of Defense through the leadership and foresight of President George W. Bush put forward two operational missile defense sites with Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) that are deployed in Alaska and California and the have capability today to defend against limited long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). President Barack Obama oversaw the completion of the missile fields in Fort Greely, Alaska and deployed an inventory of 30 total GBIs (26 at Fort Greely Alaska and 4 in Vandenberg Air Force Base, California). That number of 30 GBIs was reduced by President Obama from the 50 GBIs that President George W Bush had requested.

There are two generations of GBIs within the deployed total of 30. The first generation of GBIs have had a successful intercept test record of three hits out of five tests in operational configuration tests with the last test and successful intercept test in 2008 and an upcoming intercept test next month for this first generation GBI. The second generation GBI has not yet achieved a successful intercept test and has had two operational configured tests, the last intercept test was in 2010. A non-intercept test of the second generation GBI was completed earlier this year and a projected third operational configured intercept test for this second generation GBI is scheduled later this year. Each Ground Based Interceptor is estimated at the cost of 80 million dollars apiece.

All of the GBIs in Alaska are capable of protecting the entire United States homeland with a maximum of one shot opportunity on parts of the East Coast to a minimum of more than four shot opportunities on the Western United States. A shot doctrine administered by the military would require at least two GBIs being fired at each incoming missile, however, the reliability and confidence of the current GBI first generation testing record would require a higher shot doctrine and a much greater one for the second generation GBI. With this high shot doctrine, the United States is very limited in its protection against multiple ICBM missile attacks by both the inventory and reliability of these GBIs to defend the homeland particularly with parts of the Eastern United States.

Having an additional forward-based site to supplement existing missile defense protection for the United States from Iranian ICBMs on the East Coast, as proposed by Representative Turner or as President Bush and President Obama previously proposed in Europe that were both canceled, is not the best nor is it the most urgent solution required by our nation today to defend against an upcoming Iranian ICBM threat with our current missile defense inventory and capabilities. Reducing our military's shot doctrine and increasing our reliability on all of the current GBIs to ensure high probabilities of intercepting the incoming ballistic missile war heads is without a doubt the most important priority and funding measure that needs to be addressed and fulfilled by the United States Congress and the President of the United States. Attaining the proven real capability of launching a GBI at an incoming warhead and determining if the warhead was successfully destroyed to provide that information instantly to a second GBI in flight or even a third GBI to make the needed adjustments exponentially increases the reliability and confidence of the system to defend all of the United States Homeland thereby reducing todays inefficient shot doctrine and increasing exponentially effective shot opportunities. This is called a shoot look shoot doctrine.

With today's missile defense inventory and proven capabilities, this top priority of shoot look shoot requires kill and hit assessment from forward-based X-Band sensors that need to fill in the existing gaps of flight paths from Iran towards the United States and between North Korea and the United States. For the United States homeland defense, the next priority is to fix, test, and prove the current second generation GBIs that are deployed today and, the third priority is to fund and deploy President Obama's request for 14 additional GBIs to increase the inventory in Fort Greely, Alaska to 44 GBIs. When these three top priorities for the missile defense of the United States homeland are addressed, funded, and implemented, an additional site on the East Coast of the United States or a forward-based site outside of the United States with additional proven GBIs would increase the battle space and shot opportunities to better protect the Eastern United States, should be funded and deployed.


Riki Ellison

Chairman & Founder
Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

Global Network