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Tag Archives: Missile Defense


Proposed Defense Merger Puts National Security at Risk

By George LandrithNewsmax

aerojet rocketdyne logo on a computer screen

Lockheed Martin has announced a plan to purchase Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Often mergers are natural responses to market forces that produce a more capable competitor in the marketplace which can benefit the economy and consumers generally. But sometimes, mergers simply kill off competition and end up creating dependence within the marketplace upon a single provider for certain products or services.

This is the problem with the proposed Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne merger — it will give one company virtual monopoly power over any military technology that involves missile propulsion.

Before this merger goes through, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must complete a review of it and approve it. If they look at the facts and learn from history, they will realize how truly problematic the proposed merger is.

In 2018, Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK. This merger left Aerojet Rocketdyne as America’s last independent solid rocket motor provider. That reduced competition by causing major defense contractors to drop out of competitions because they couldn’t get the cooperation needed from the newly acquired rocket motor provider.

This proposed merger would only exacerbate the problem.Aerojet Rocketdyne has partnered with many of the major defense contractors, including: Lockheed, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon. Right now, when the military seeks proposals for missile defense systems, it can go to all of these companies and others and ask them to compete on cost, capability and technology.Each of the competitors could go to Aerojet Rocketdyne for subcontracting help on the rocket propulsion portion of the contract. There isn’t enough high-tech missile rocket propulsion work to justify numerous competitors.

But if one of the major competitors owns the sole remaining rocket propulsion company, the other competitors will be effectively locked out. It wouldn’t be in the interest of the new larger monopolist to allow the rocket propulsion portion of the company to help a competitor win the prime contract.

Even if the DoD and FTC require that the new company not use its monopoly power to its advantage, it will. That’s simply how it works. We’ve already seen that.

The DoD and the FTC have ordered other companies to not use the monopoly power that they acquired in a merger, but that doesn’t actually stop them. It just means that they can’t be too obvious about it. They can still give themselves certain competitive advantages in price and cooperation levels.

This limits competition, harms innovation, soaks the taxpayer and in the end endangers our national security.

When it comes to national security matters, buying foreign technology isn’t a smart move and often isn’t even legal. So there is no reason to allow a merger that will reduce competition and give one defense contractor the ability to gain the upper hand in any defense project that involves missile propulsion.

On January 19, 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warnedthat among the weaknesses in our defense sector is “a reliance on sole or single source suppliers, reliance on foreign sources (including adversarial sources) and vulnerabilities to predatory and adversarial capital investments…”

If approved, this merger would only increase the need for prime contractors to look overseas for missile supplies — which is a dangerous direction for national security reasons, and it puts the American taxpayer at additional risk as well. As we saw during the COVID pandemic, being overly dependent on adversarial powers for basic needs is a dangerous place to be.

Additionally, President Biden signed an executive order calling for the federal government to use more U.S.-based suppliers for products. Nowhere is that more important than in the area of defense and national security.

Some defend the merger on grounds that it would increase competition in the space sector. But that is a red herring. This merger is not really about space competition, which is fairly robust with a number of capable players.

Instead, this merger is primarily about hypersonic technology and missile defense. Aerospace industry analyst Andrew Penn came to the same conclusion. This merger is about securing a monopoly.The nation’s security cannot afford a monopoly when it comes to missile defense. The Russians and the Chinese are developing hypersonic missiles that could evade our current defenses.If we want to keep our competitive advantage and protect the nation from the threat of hypersonic missile attack, we will need our best defense companies competing in a robust fashion to come up with innovative and cost-effective solutions. This merger does not make that more likely — in fact, it makes it very unlikely.

Let’s hope the DoD and FTC are paying attention. It isn’t often that a proposed merger could lead to missile attack vulnerabilities, but this is precisely that case.


Missile Defense: More Innovation, Not Less

By George LandrithReal Clear Defense

In this highly divided era, it is worth noting that missile defense enjoys strong bipartisan support not only in the halls of Congress but also among the American people. The reason is clear — the world is a dangerous place, and our enemies are pursuing missiles with greater range, greater speed, and greater maneuverability. Iran, North Korea, China, and other nations are developing weapons designed to avoid interception, deploy better decoys, and jam defensive technologies. Missile defense is what stands between those efforts and devastating attacks and destruction, and America’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) is a highly capable defensive system against intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missile attack. 

But because our enemies are constantly trying to improve their ability to attack us, we must constantly improve our ability to defend ourselves. The current GMD system is quite impressive, but if left unimproved, it would become outdated over time and leave us vulnerable to attack. Thankfully, the Department of Defense (DoD) has continued to be as committed to improving GMD as our adversaries are to improving their offensive missile systems.

Unfortunately, the DoD is considering a strategic mistake that may undermine its commitment to missile defense: taking over the engineering, development, and integration of the GMD program from private industry. This would reverse decades of successful American innovation, replace private sector innovation with government bureaucracy, and put our nation and allies at risk.

Historically, the DoD has defined the goals and objectives of various defensive weapon systems — whether it is fighter jets, bombers, missile systems, high tech radars, or the GMD program. But the DoD has not actually done the engineering, development or integration of those technologies. Instead, DoD has harnessed the innovation and know how of America’s best and brightest engineers and rocket scientists to do the actual work of developing, designing, and integrating. 

This is the approach that NASA used to go to the moon and bring our astronauts safely home again — something that even 50 years later, no other nation has done. This is the approach that the DoD has used to build the world’s best fighter jets and bombers, the world’s most capable naval ships and submarines, and virtually every other impressive and complex technology that our warfighters use to keep our nation and our allies safe.

DoD’s proposed change would put the government in the position of being the primary engine of innovation. Government is important and performs many crucial functions to our civil society, but innovation is not typically its strong suit. The government has overcome its innovation deficit by harnessing the innovative expertise of America’s best and brightest engineering minds. There is a lot of complex engineering and a great deal of innovative energy that integrates the various component parts of missile defense. There are multiple stage rockets, multiple radars, other tracking systems, and a highly complex “kill vehicle” that includes very precise tracking technology as well as rocket technology to steer the vehicle to the exact spot that will vaporize the incoming warhead. This is no small feat as our system hits and destroys the incoming missile at a closing speed of more than 15,000 miles per hour. 

The DoD cannot do this job nearly as well as Boeing, which has been innovating GMD since the program’s inception. Boeing has been primarily responsible for GMD system-level performance and integration, which includes development, fielding, testing, systems engineering, integration, manufacturing, training, operations, and sustainment. The DoD should not willingly undercut and lose that experience and expertise. 

To be blunt, if DoD takes over this role, we can almost certainly count on a less robust, less effective missile defense system. The DoD didn’t design and build the planes that won World War II or the nuclear deterrent that has protected America since the 1960s. The DoD didn’t build and design the radars that protect our troops or the ships and submarines that protect our nation. Many private firms responding to the DoD’s request for innovative approaches did all of that. And we didn’t land on the moon because NASA designed and built the Saturn V rocket or the lunar module, or the Apollo space capsule. Again, a large number of private firms did that at the request of NASA and with government defining the mission and goals. 

Our national defense strategy has historically combined the goals of government with the innovation of the private sector, and the results have been the world’s most robust and capable defensive system. There is no good reason to abandon what works and replace it with the national defense equivalent of trying to put a square peg into a round hole. With missile threats growing, we can’t make careless mistakes that put millions at risk.


Missile Defense Too Important to Leave to Chance

By George LandrithNewsmax

Missile Defense Too Important to Leave to Chance
An unarmed Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (USAF via Getty Images)

The Pentagon is wisely examining future risks of missile attack and making plans to prevent them. These plans will take at least 10 years to develop — maybe even longer, as everything often does not go as planned. In the meantime, we have our current generation Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) protecting America. While waiting for the next generation missile defense to be developed, we must keep our current generation defenses up-to-date and fully capable.

This is where there is troubling news. To afford the next generation system, the Pentagon is planning to use the funding for updates and improvements to our current GMD system to pay for the development of a future system — effectively limiting our defenses and placing America a greater risk over the next 10 years.

Our enemies are pursuing more capable missiles — greater range, greater speed, greater maneuverability to avoid interception, the ability to deploy better decoys and the ability to jam defensive technologies to effectively blind them. So it is very risky to forgo improvements to our current defenses while we work on a future system that won’t be ready for at least 10 years!

I wholeheartedly endorse the need to develop a next generation missile defense system. But the idea of leaving us exposed to a devastating missile attack in just a few short years and then leaving us even more exposed for the balance of the next decade is completely insane. The Pentagon is effectively saying that it will trust in the goodwill of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and in the kindness of the Communist Chinese dictator, Xi Jinping — who actively hid the truth from the rest of the world and lied about COVID, making the pandemic more deadly and the economic impact devastating. Imagine the insanity of trusting in the goodwill of the Iranian Mullahs? Even Russia, while no longer our chief geopolitical rival, still poses a significant risk.

We must always outpace the evolving threats. Thomas Jefferson wisely warned Americans that the price of liberty is “eternal vigilance.” And George Washington counseled that “to be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” These words should ring loudly in our ears. To fail to be vigilant on something as important as nuclear missile attack is worse than stupid, it is suicidal!

Our layered missile defense includes elements that protect our troops around the globe wherever they may be, and the vast American homeland. GMD defends America’s vast homeland. Patriot, Aegis and THAAD are designed to protect American warfighters, bases and ships from missile attack. Their coverage zone is far too small to effectively protect the vast US homeland.

For example, Aegis as impressive as it is, defends an area that is 14 times smaller than GMD, based on material recently presented by VADM Jon Hill, Director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. And THAAD’s area defended is less than half that of Aegis and neither gives a second shot intercept opportunity.

To defend the vast American homeland, we have GMD. And that is the system the Pentagon wants to significantly upgrade in about 10 years. Eventually, the plan is for GMD to employ the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI). But neglecting our current GMD system — killing off all upgrades, zeroing out all improvements, and refusing to increase the number of interceptors we have available will only benefit our enemies and place Americans at risk until the day the new system is available — at least 10 years from now.

Without the ability to test the system and keep our defenses sharp, we would simply be hoping for good results. Hope isn’t a serious strategy when it comes to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

To be blunt, leaving the current system without incremental upgrades for the next 10 years while announcing a major system upgrade that will hopefully be ready in 10 years, sounds like an invitation to attack before the new system is in place and while the current system has grown outdated and less capable. We shouldn’t be sending that sort of invitation to the world’s dictators.

The President and many in Congress on both sides of the aisle want to upgrade our current defenses and also develop the needed next generation defense. Americans of all political stripes should want to prevent America from suffering a devastating nuclear missile attack.

We need Congress to provide sufficient funding for missile defense so that we can keep our current defenses strong, and so that we can develop even better future defenses to meet the growing risks. To do less than this is reckless and courting disaster. And those who are willing to recklessly court disaster should never again be trusted to serve the American people.


America Must Defend Against Current Missile Threats

By George LandrithNewsmax

misslile china

There is no doubt that China’s communist regime made the COVID-19 pandemic much worse across the globe by hiding the truth and affirmatively lying to the world about it. The totalitarian regime’s mendacity is highlighted by the fact that while it lied about the virus, it was collecting medical materials to deal with the pandemic.

Another impact of the pandemic is that it has distracted us from some other very dangerous and troubling things that the communist regime is doing. For example, China is conducting secret and illegal nuclear weapons tests. Likewise, China is developing a new generation of missiles that put Americans at much greater risk. And they’ve been acting provocatively on top of it all. If COVID-19 can fundamentally disrupt and destabilize American society, imagine what Chinese missiles could do.

We live in a nation of great research and development capabilities. At this very moment, the Pentagon is working with thousands of contractors to develop the next great development in defense weaponry on planet Earth.

Research and development are key to our survival and we should rest easy that we are the best at it in the world. As long as we are vigilant, we will keep ahead of the threats. But we cannot afford to set our eyes so far into the future that we fail to see the now. Puzzlingly, that is the exact situation our leaders are putting us in when it comes to our homeland missile defense capabilities.

As the global threat of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) is growing, the Pentagon recently committed to developing the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI). We have come a long way from President Reagan’s “Star Wars” and have developed reliable technologies and weapons to literally “intercept” and destroy a warhead in the air.

The NGI promises to not only address current threats we face from rogue actors like North Korea and Iran to world-power enemies like China and Russia, but will evolve with both enemy and American technologies.

Like any government initiative, the details are in the timeline. The NGI is estimated to be operational by 2026. We all know the Federal Government’s ability to miss deadlines, but we will give them the benefit of doubt on this one and say that America’s new missile defense to protect all of us will be operational in 2026. But some experts are speculating the technology will not be ready for as many as 12 years.

The possible mistake I foresee is the sacrifice of the “now” for the “next.” The gap between now and 2026 or perhaps 2032 is an unacceptable risk.

America has spent billions of dollars, tested and retested, and ultimately placed our homeland missile defense in our current Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) technology and infrastructure. Currently, the United States only has 44 interceptors in our arsenals based in Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

As Russia and China invest heavily in their military abilities, is it really in America’s best interest to leave the entire Eastern portion of our nation vulnerable and undefended? Sure, possibly in 12 years we can see a scenario where the technology can make up for that lack of defense, but to not place it there in the meantime?

It is purely American to desire a better technology than what we currently have, but it would be negligent to take funding and emphasis away from the proverbial basket in which we have placed our homeland defense. Actors like North Korea are not attempting to meet the technology we may or may not have in a decade, they are attempting to come up with ways to get around our current systems that we have in place.

Let’s think back to late last year when America was on the brink of war with Iran. We were not able to intercept the missiles that we knew were coming, targeting bases we have occupied for over a decade. That should sound alarm bells that we need to focus on beefing up our current GBI technologies across the board. The whole situation should offer mainland Americans a cold shiver when it comes to thinking about our current vulnerability.

Our desire to invest in building the better mouse trap should be met with equal investment in our current technologies and infrastructure. America does not have to choose between investing in current technology and charting a new future for missile defense.


Pentagon Conducts Successful Missile Defense Intercept Test

By Bill Gertz • Washington Free Beacon

Two U.S. Ground-based Interceptor missiles destroyed a target in space during a successful test of the Pentagon’s strategic missile defense system on Monday.

The interceptor missiles were fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In the first salvo-launch against a target intercontinental missile launched 4,000 miles away at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The first GBI destroyed the target missile’s reentry vehicle and the second interceptor zeroed in on debris and blew up the largest piece in a precision kill, the MDA announced.

MDA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves called the first multiple-interceptor test a critical milestone for advancing the missile defense system.

“The system worked exactly as it was designed to do, and the results of this test provide evidence of the practicable use of the salvo doctrine within missile defense,” Greaves said.

Continue reading


Putin Unveils Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missiles, Drone Submarines for Attacking U.S.

By Bill Gertz • Washington Free Beacon

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in language suggesting the start of a new Cold War, revealed Russia is building nuclear-powered cruise missiles, drone submarines, and other strategic arms designed to attack the United States.

During an annual address, the Russian leader boasted the new cruise missile was tested in December and utilizes small nuclear reactor technology recently developed by Russian weapons designers.

Videos shown during the speech showed a model of the new missile and other high-tech arms, including one that simulated a Russian nuclear strike on the United States. Continue reading


Pentagon announces plan to expand nuclear arsenal in face of Russian threat

By Lucas Tomlinson and Jennifer Griffin • Fox News

The Pentagon plans to develop two “low-yield” nuclear warheads to be launched from ballistic-missile submarines and warships, to send a message to Moscow — which the Trump administration accuses of amassing a stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons.

The new plan is outlined in Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s Nuclear Posture Review, released Friday afternoon.

“Expanding U.S. tailored response options will raise the nuclear threshold and help ensure that potential adversaries perceive no possible advantage in limited nuclear escalation, making nuclear weapons employment less likely,” the new review said.

The Pentagon says Russia’s buildup of similar “low-yield” nukes is the reason it must match the threat.

“The United States would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances,” said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan. “Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” he added without offering specifics.

Continue reading


Missile Defense Is Needed More Now Than Ever

By George LandrithAmerican Military News

About 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan and U.S. Senator Malcolm Wallop shared breakfast at U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt’s ranch. Virtually no one knew that this meeting took place or understood how important it would be to America’s security. As friends shared breakfast, Wallop explained the need for a robust missile defense — including developing a space-based defensive system. Once elected to office, President Reagan made it a national goal to develop effective high-tech defenses against missile attacks. That policy objective was an important factor in the U.S. winning the Cold War. Simply stated, even before missile defense was able to shoot down a missile, it was helping America defeat the Soviets.

During most of the last decade, missile defense was de-emphasized. It was a self-evidently foolish policy decision even though some offered misguided defenses of it. But now, given recent news from North Korea, few could argue that the Obama Administration’s disdain for missile defense has served America’s interests. Kim Jong Un has pushed North Korea’s nuclear program to develop nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach our West Coast. Pyongyang intends to threaten not just the West Coast, but all of America. Iran is headed in the same dangerous direction as North Korea. Continue reading


Trump Needs to Fix Obama Mistake on Missile Defense

By Peter Roff • The Jackson Sun

It’s true the U.S. government invented the Internet — but it took the private sector to make it ubiquitous. Left in the Pentagon’s hands we’d probably all be online but we’d still have to use external modems using a dial up connection to get there.

The private sector operates very differently from the government. In case there’s any doubt, that’s a good thing. Most all the great innovations we’ve seen over the last 100 years, if not longer, have been the result of private initiative backed by private capital financing private creativity that have produced breakthroughs that added to the public good.

The government, on the other hand, is bureaucratic and by design moves slowly. It is not a place where innovation is the order of the day, certainly not any done on the relative cheap. Moreover, it is constrained by rules and hidebound by layers of authority to such a degree it’s a wonder anything ever gets done. Continue reading


Intelligence Report Warns of Growing Missile Threats

by Bill Gertz • Washington Free Beacon

The United States faces a growing threat of ballistic and cruise missiles from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, according to a military intelligence report.

“Ballistic and cruise missiles present a significant threat to U.S. and allied forces overseas, and to the United States and its territories,” states the latest report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center in Ohio.

The report warns that both China and Russia are expanding their force of strategic nuclear missiles with new multi-warhead weapons.

North Korea now has three intercontinental-range missiles and is moving ahead with a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Continue reading


Op-Ed: Missile Defense is needed now more than ever

By George LandrithAmerican Military News

About 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan and U.S. Senator Malcolm Wallop shared breakfast at U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt’s ranch. Virtually no one knew that this meeting took place or understood how important it would be to America’s security. As friends shared breakfast, Wallop explained the need for a robust missile defense — including developing a space-based defensive system. Once elected to office, President Reagan made it a national goal to develop effective high-tech defenses against missile attacks. That policy objective was an important factor in the U.S. winning the Cold War. Simply stated, even before missile defense was able to shoot down a missile, it was helping America defeat the Soviets.

During most of the last decade, missile defense was de-emphasized. It was a self-evidently foolish policy decision even though some offered misguided defenses of it. But now, given recent news from North Korea, few could argue that the Obama Administration’s disdain for missile defense has served America’s interests. Kim Jong Un has pushed North Korea’s nuclear program to develop nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach our West Coast. Pyongyang intends to threaten not just the West Coast, but all of America. Iran is headed in the same dangerous direction as North Korea. Continue reading


The Missile Defense Imperative

As nuclear threats grow, the U.S. needs more advanced protection.

By George LandrithWall Street Journal

Liberal opposition to missile defense has persisted since the 1980s, but the politics may be changing with technological progress and the rising threat from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons. Congress has an opportunity this summer to notch a rare bipartisan deal that enhances U.S. security.

Kim has already overseen more nuclear and missile tests than his father and grandfather combined, and the Defense Intelligence Agency warns that “if left on its current trajectory” Pyongyang will develop a capacity to hit Japan, Alaska, Hawaii or even the U.S. West Coast. The Trump Administration is pleading with China to stop the North, but Chinese leaders never seem to act and they’re even trying to block regional missile defenses in South Korea.

Meanwhile, the U.S. last month successfully tracked and shot down a mock intercontinental ballistic missile, akin to a bullet hitting a bullet. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)—first fielded in 2004 but untested since 2014—has a success rate of nine in 17 intercept trials. But even the failures show the GMD is increasingly effective. Continue reading


Missile Defense Now

By Peter Roff • Townhall

The Trump administration budget document recently released projects an increase in security and defense spending of more than $50 billion. It’s a needed shot in the arm, provided it’s spent wisely and on things actually necessary.

It’s important the defense community realize the days of blank checks are over. There’s no problem in government that can be solved just by throwing more money at it. This includes the vital functions performed by the Pentagon, the service branches, and the Department of Homeland Security. They too need to understand they have to find ways to do more with less just like every other part of the federal government even if the Congress and the president are willing, at the start, to give them more.

The higher number in Trump’s initial budgeting is due not just to the threat posed by ISIS but by the increasing belligerence of rogue states like North Korea (which is consistently testing missiles they argue will go farther and farther once in the air) and Iran. Continue reading


Air Force: Hypersonic Missiles From China, Russia Pose Growing Danger to U.S.

by Bill Gertz • Washington Free Beacon

The United States is vulnerable to future attack by hypersonic missiles from China and Russia and is falling behind in the technology race to develop both defensive and offensive high-speed maneuvering arms, according to a new Air Force study.

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons (HSMWs) that may endanger both forward deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States itself,” an executive summary of the report says.

“These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities.” Continue reading


The Lessons of Hiroshima: Reducing Nuclear Dangers

by Peter Huessy

Following the President’s visit to Hiroshima, nuclear weapons and their enduring usefulness in protecting America and its allies has become an increasingly important focus of debate especially the degree with which United States security policy should embrace the goal of zero nuclear weapons.

The debate centers on three major themes. They are: (1) whether the value of these weapons includes deterring not just nuclear threats but conventional and other threats to the United States and its allies; (2) the degree to which the United States is leading an “arms race” while modernizing its remaining but much reduced nuclear deterrent; and (3) how the twin goals of further nuclear reductions and greater strategic stability interact, particularly with respect to the early use of nuclear weapons in a crisis, maintaining a hedge capability should geostrategic conditions deteriorate and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new nuclear powers. Continue reading


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