Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, China, and Dr. Andrew Erickson

On his blog site, Dr. Andrew Erickson of the U.S. Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) reviewed our forthcoming Naval War College Review article, Brad Hicks, George Galdorisi, and Scott C. Truver, “The Aegis BMD Global Enterprise: A ‘High-End’ Maritime Partnership,” Naval War College Review, 65.3 (Summer 2012). So what’s the connection?

Dr. Andrew Erickson is an Associate Professor in the Strategic Research Department at the U.S. Naval War College and a core founding member of the department’s China Maritime Studies Institute. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most renowned experts on China, he has written and published widely on China matters as well as taught and lectured nationally and internationally on China. He is, in many respects, CMSI’s spokesman on China.

His review of “The Aegis BMD Global Enterprise: A ‘High-End’ Maritime Partnership” speaks volumes of the importance of ballistic missile defense writ large, and Aegis BMD specifically. Without “naming” China, he connects Aegis BMD with the U.S. “Pivot to Asia,” and the overarching military capabilities of China. As he points out:

“National BMDS has morphed from President Reagan’s original vision of a system to deter and, if necessary, defeat Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to one focused on deterring or defeating shorter-range ballistic missiles fired at the United States or its allies and friends by rogue nations or terrorist groups. So too the “pillars” of the national BMDS have changed. As other air, ground, and space pillars have advanced in fits and starts, and as related programs have been initiated and, sometimes, canceled, the seaborne component of national BMDS has become an increasingly central component of U.S. regional ballistic-missile defenses. Aegis BMD is now moving toward a role in the defense of the American homeland as well.”
“As more countries—many with hostile intentions toward U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe—have acquired the requisite technologies during the past three decades, many U.S. friends and allies have been obliged to contend with the threat of ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction (WMD)…Given the well-publicized demand for these assets, Aegis BMD unquestionably is becoming an increasingly important component of BMD planning and operations of the unified commands’ combatant commanders…This potential is already manifest in the Asia-Pacific region in the close working relationship between the United States and Japan. Korea and Australia could well join this Aegis network soon, giving the four governments the means to address not only territorial BMD but also coordinated BMD of fleet units operating together.”

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