Today, along with other members and staff of the Joint Armed Services Committee, I toured the Missile Defense Complex at Ft. Greely, near Delta Junction, Alaska. We flew up to the missile site in an Alaska National Guard C130 from Kulis Guard Base in Anchorage. I have been a legislative member of the Joint Armed Services Committee since 2002.
The Missile Complex is operated by our own Alaska National Guard, and forms a successful and critical part of America’s defense. Basically, several launch missiles are in underground silos. At the end of each missile is a maneuverable “bullet” that separates from the launch vehicle, and guided into a collision with an incoming enemy missile. There are no explosives involved. Basically, we hit a “bullet” with a “bullet” and defeat the enemy attack. Impressive indeed.
Currently more than 20 nations have ballistic missile capability. The future’s unpredictable, but common sense tells us we can expect technical and political surprises from adversaries. North
Korea, China, and Iran all have increasing missile capabilities, and some are known to proliferate their capabilities to other potential adversaries. There were practice missile launches from North Korea in 2006, plus a nuclear test. As stated in yesterday’s Blog, we live in a very dangerous world.
The mission of the Missile Defense Agency, which operates the missile complex at Ft. Greely, is to maintain and sustain an initial capability to defend the United States against attacks from missile capable nations such as North Korea and China. Missile defense has three segments: the initial or boost segment, Midcourse Segment, Terminal Segment. The Missile Defense Complex at Ft. Greely is responsible for intercepting enemy missiles during the midcourse segment. The prime contractor for the Missile Defense Complex, launch missiles, and intercept technology is The Boeing Company.
In 1967 and 1968, during my Air Force military career, I was one of seven Air Force officers selected to participate in the Air University “Education with Industry” program, conducted at The Boeing Company in Seattle. The year long program was considered by the military to be similar to a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. As part of the program, I worked alongside Boeing people on projects including the Supersonic Transport, 747 and 737 airliners, AWACS programming, air launch cruise missiles, and the Minuteman ICBM. It was interesting to come full circle in Alaska with Boeing missile technology 39 years later.
We can be proud of the job our Alaska National Guard is doing at Ft. Greely. I support their work, and their missile defense mission.
The top photo shows members and staff of our Joint Armed Forces Committee, and the "bullet" kill vehicle that's launched into space from a missile silo.