Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Chairman Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham, Founder
High Frontier . . Building Truly Effective Defenses . . Reagan’s Vision Lives!
E-Mail Message 121223
High Frontier Plans and Priorities for 2013
December 23, 2012
This is High Frontier’s first email report intended to keep folks up to date on the important issues of the day regarding America’s efforts to build effective missile defenses. We intend to send weekly emails in the future.
We chose today for our first email message because we survived the “end of the world”that some thought might attend the last day of the Mayan calendar. But there really is an existential threat—all too real—that could lead to the death of 60-90 percent of all Americans following an entirely plausible ballistic missile attack. More in a moment after a bit of background that led High Frontier to enter the “social media” world.
This email emphasizes that we are bringing our webpage (www.highfrontier.org) up to date and giving you our priority plans for the coming year. We seek your feedback, particularly your views on our plans, breaking events and how we might improve our efforts to inform the grass roots, as well as the powers that be in Washington.
Our new webpage, still in an unfinished Beta format, emphasizes High Frontier’s heritage. It began with Army Retired Lt. General Daniel O. Graham playing a key role in initiating the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), as recounted by President Ronald Reagan in his telephone conversation with Danny on High Frontier’s tenth anniversary. High Frontier still pursues Reagan’s vision for an effective defense against ballistic missiles.
We join our efforts seamlessly with those of a number of other conservative organizations in an activity called the Independent Working Group (IWG)—and each of us plays an important role in informing the powers that be on the strengths and weaknesses of current U.S. programs in meeting the threat of ballistic missile attack—which is growing.
The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis hosts our regular meetings and publishes our key reports reflecting many hours of joint drafting and editing, e.g., see our comprehensive report, Missile Defense, Space and the Twenty First Century, and key Questions and Answers. Some members, such as the American Foreign Policy Council, focus on key special interests such as the growing nuclear-armed missile threat from Iran and North Korea. Two IWG members, the George C. Marshall and Claremont Institutes, developed and maintain animportant webpage describing this threat, related current events and articles and the state of ongoing missile defense programs. The Heritage Foundation includes our missile defense agenda in many of its activities, publications and conferences—e.g., watch a video of an important roundtable discussion of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat.
High Frontier’s top priority next year is to leverage these resources and others, and to take our message to grass roots America, especially to those who live around the Gulf of Mexico. I laid out our case in the first article of our new webpage, An Open Letter to Citizens of the Coastal States around the Gulf of Mexico.
Many short range ballistic missiles are already in the hands of Iran and North Korea—which sells to anyone with money. Terrorists could purchase and launch a single such missile from a vessel in the Gulf. If they detonate its nuclear weapon 80-100 miles over the U.S., the resulting Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) could immediately halt our entire just-in-time economy—in effect, returning us to a nineteenth century existence without indigenous agriculture and little electrical infrastructure and associated transportation systems upon which our existence relies. See our second webpage article.
North Korea already has nukes, and Iran may be only months away—we have little time to address this serious deficiency. See the articles on our current webpage.
Fortunately, we have an affordable answer—requiring no research and development beyond already funded Pentagon programs—to protect all America from this looming threat: Deploy at several military bases around the Gulf Coast the same defenses the U.S. is funding for deployment in Romania (2015) and Poland (2018).
This defense would consist of the Navy’s “Aegis Ashore” system, a land-based version of the missile defense components now at sea on 24 Aegis ships around the world—growing to 32 by 2015.
These Aegis ships are often in transit on the East and West Coasts, and can provide a defense against sea-launched Scuds during such passage. But they do not go into the Gulf of Mexico—which leaves us vulnerable to this threat.
The Aegis missile defense system has the most impressive testing record of all U.S. missile defense programs; and, based on that record, can provide effective defenses whether at sea or on land. The land-based components of this system would cost on the order of $300 million—an amount that might double to support deployment activities. This is not a lot of money to the Federal Government, which is charged “to provide for the common defense” by the Constitution.
Next year, we will be building on last year’s efforts in Mississippi to explain to the grass roots this threat and possible solution. We were well received by the faculty and engineering students at Ole Miss, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors and the Governor—and they would be delighted to support such a deployment in Pascagoula, where our Aegis ships are built, if only Washington would get the message and do its job.
We also intend to go to Florida, beginning with folks in the Panama City area—near Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Bases, either of which could be excellent locations for an Aegis Ashore site. We shall see how the local folks feel about the problem and the possible solution mentioned above—and we’ll take that message to the powers that be in Tallahassee and Washington.
Subsequently, we will be seeking possible sites on military bases in the Florida Peninsula and in Texas to round out possible locations around the Gulf of Mexico—hopefully staying ahead of the threat.
As Israel’s Iron Dome recently demonstrated by intercepting Hamas’ rockets from Gaza, defenses are very important in the modern world. The naysayers observe that it is easy to intercept relatively slow moving rockets in their flight path of 3-25 miles. This is true if one knows they are coming one at a time—but not if there are salvos and the timing is unknown.
Literally, Iron Dome’s command and control system assessed the attack and decided whether to launch a defensive interceptor in seconds. Such requirements lead inevitably to a defensive system that is authorized to do its thing and can be terminated—but otherwise is entirely automated to fight the battle.
Israel’s success was important for those advocating space-based missile defenses—indeed for any defense seeking to destroy attacking missiles in their boost phase, before they release their warheads, decoys and other countermeasures.
As in the Iron Dome case, timing is everything—shooting down slow-moving boosting ballistic missiles is as easy as was the case for slow moving Hamas rockets. But one must get into the battle early—and that requires an highly autonomous command and control system as we understood and designed during the SDI era before the Clinton administration killed the space-based defense programs. That concept is now “battlefield tested” and it succeeded with flying colors. We at High Frontier and other IWG members will continue our advocacy of such space-based defenses this coming year.
If you are considering year-end giving, I urge you to help us pursue this agenda. Help us escape the existential threat of nuclear armed ballistic missile attack—as it appears that providence has deferred the “end of the world”—at least for now. We hope you are enjoying a happy holiday season—a Merry Christmas, if we may, and a Happy New Year.
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