US military is moving forward with 360-degree missile defense system for Guam
Stars and Stripes May 2, 2023
The Defense Department is planning to install a 360-degree missile system on Guam to defend the strategic military waypoint in the Western Pacific against attacks, Guam’s acting governor said Tuesday.
The 360-degree Enhanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense System is a response to perceived threats from potential adversaries like China and North Korea, including ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles.
The 360-degree system is expected to combine Army and Navy defensive missile systems with improved radar, Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said during a press briefing on March 14.
Joint Region Marianas, the installation management command on Guam, notified the island government Tuesday of its plan to erect the system on the island, Guam Acting Gov. Joshua Tenorio said in a news release.
A notice of intent, published by the Missile Defense Agency, opens a 30-day window for public comments on the project’s environmental impact statement, a requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. Public comment is open from Wednesday through June 2.
Installation of a “360-degree, persistent, air and missile defense” system is the “most important action we can take to increase the joint force’s lethality,” now retired Adm. Philip Davidson, the former head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2021.
“This system is critical for defending the homeland, including our most important American operating location in the Western Pacific,” he said, according to a transcript.
The 360-degree system is a collaboration between several Defense Department agencies, including the Missile Defense Agency, the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The project is expected to include a new version of the AN/TPY-2 radar system, the AN/TPY-6, alongside the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, or IBCS, and a command suite, Hill said in March.
“So, it really is a combined, at the simple level, Aegis and IBCS working together on the island,” he said, according to a transcript, referring to the Aegis Combat System commonly deployed on Navy guided-missile destroyers.
The notice of intent will also begin the “scoping process,” in which the missile agency and Guam residents can “define the range of issues and potential alternatives” addressed in the environmental impact statement.
The scoping meetings are scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the University of Guam Fieldhouse on June 14, Okkodo High School on June 15 and Southern High School on June 16.
“Our administration will closely examine their plans as soon as they are made available, and the relevant government agencies will provide the appropriate responses,” Tenorio said in the release. “We also encourage the public to participate in the upcoming scoping process and provide public input.”
Representatives of Guam’s Governor’s Office and Joint Region Marianas did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.