Indo-Pacific Command Leader Underscores Need for Stronger Missile Defense on Guam (excerpt)
(Source: Stars and Stripes; published Sept. 18, 2020) By Seth Robson
By Seth Robson
Guam urgently needs an Aegis Ashore missile defense system to protect vital military assets from an increasingly aggressive China, according to the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

“There are billions of dollars in defense capability on Guam,” Adm. Phil Davidson said Thursday during an online forum organized by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. “There needs to be some investment in defending that.”

The U.S. territory is home to air and naval bases and serves as a launching point for strategic bombers. The Navy is also building facilities to house a Marine Corps air-ground task force to accommodate a planned drawdown of Marines on Okinawa.

Aegis Ashore is a land-based version of the short- and intermediate-range missile defense system deployed on dozens of U.S. and Japanese navy cruisers and destroyers. NATO and the United States deployed the first ashore system in Romania in 2016. Japan scuttled plans for an Aegis Ashore installation earlier this year due to worries about rocket boosters falling on populated areas.

China’s rapid development of the world’s largest rocket force is a concern, Davidson said during the forum.

The force could strike U.S. forces on Guam and in the Far East with everything from ballistic missiles to maneuverable cruise and hypersonic missiles, warned the commander of 380,000 troops and civilians responsible for an area of operations stretching from the U.S. West Coast to India.

Coincidentally, China’s air force on Saturday released a video of a hypothetical missile strike on Guam…

China’s ability to launch missiles from submarines ranging farther from shore means Guam needs the 360-degree protection that Aegis can provide, he said. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Stars and Stripes website.


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