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Sunday's upcoming test will determine future of U.S. missile defense

Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA),, issued a statement yesterday concerning the upcoming CE-II Ground Based Interceptor test scheduled on Sunday, June 22, 2014. Ellison is the chairman and founded of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance based in Alexandria, Virginia. He is also one of the top lay experts in the field of missile defense currently in the world. His comments are below:

Mr. Ellison countered recent claims that CE-II two test failures in 2010 were caused by rushed deployment in 2004, saying "The responsibility of the failures and lack of annual testing of the CE-IIs is not due to the rush to deployment in 2004. It is directly related to misguided leadership by the previous MDA director and the lack of investment from the President's budget into this system since 2008."

Mr. Ellison called out poor decisions such as canceling the Multiple Kill Vehicle program in 2009, crafting industry contracts to "incentivize cost cutting rather than increased reliability and confidence in the system." Mr. Ellison also pointed out the steep funding cuts from "$1.4 billion to $761 million towards the development and research of these interceptors" beginning in 2009.

Ellison stated: "These leadership decisions and lack of adequate funding over this time period impacted confidence, reliability, maintenance and modernization of the entire GBI fleet and the system as a whole."

In regards to GBI testing, Mr. Ellison pointed out that "None of the GBI interceptor tests have ever been operationally realistic because they just fire one interceptor at one missile." He went on to say that "this system was never designed to be reliant on one shot; it operates by firing multiple interceptors at one missile thereby mathematically increasing confidence of reliability to intercept above 95 percent."

In response to critics to claim the GBI tests are unrealistic because they are scripted, Mr. Ellison said that "we clearly know where the North Korean launches start from, what their exact speeds and trajectories are to strike the United States and what the most likely warhead configuration and countermeasures on their missiles will be. Of course we should be conducting scripted tests against those exact specifics within the limitations of our test ranges over and over again. This is what increases confidence in the system protecting the nation."

Mr. Ellison concluded his statement by emphasizing the importance of Sunday's test, saying it will "define the future for GMD, its investment, and its leadership."

"Our ground based missile defense system represents the very best of our technology, requires the very best engineering and is the only system our nation has to defeat long-range ballistic missiles."

Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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