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MDAA Responds to Los Angeles Times Report on JLENS

Industry: Non Profit

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance published its response to an article released by the Los Angeles Times which labelled the JLENS a 'zombie program'.

Alexandria, VA (PRUnderground) October 14th, 2015

On October 13, the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance published its response to an article released by the Los Angeles Times which labelled the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) a ‘zombie program’. MDAA Chairman Riki Ellison responded to this report by referring to the decision to deploy JLENS as, “purely threat-driven and clearly in the best national interest…as the proliferation of cruise missile production around the globe is unchecked and growing rapidly.”

According to Ellison, the Russian launch of cruise missiles into Syria provided a peek into a world of accelerating proliferation of cruise missile and UAV threats. In response, he pointed out that the United States has prepared to test and exercise the JLENS system in the National Capital Region to defend against cruise missile and “low and slow” air threats. MDAA argued that the system has proven itself over testing at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah, successfully providing tracking and firing data for intercepts using a variety of missile defense platforms. Ellison emphasized the importance of JLENS’ 360-degree view of hundreds of miles of territory from an aerial position less inhibited by natural and man-made barriers. Through this, JLENS promises to remedy current gaps in coverage of American airspace, and provide essential sensing capability for forward deployed troops, according to Ellison.

MDAA alleged that the article relied on outdated information to discredit the important role of the JLENS system in America’s national security. The most recent indicator of the failure of JLENS cited by the article was its failure to track the gyrocopter of a Florida postal worker on April 15, 2015 when it landed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Ellison argued that this concern was addressed clearly by Admiral William Gortney, the commander of NORTHCOM, in his testimony on the incident when he stated that JLENS was not operational on that day because its testing period was not scheduled to start until the fall. To support the effectiveness of the JLENS program, Ellison cited the fact that it has passed 395 out of its 400 requirements before operational testing even begins.

Ellison further argued that software issues have been resolved in tests that integrated JLENS with multiple platforms to perform intercepts of UAVs and simulated cruise missiles, allowing the system to complete integration with NORAD’s Battle Control System-Fixed this year. Ellison responded to criticisms of the system as inflexible and vulnerable to poor weather by pointing out that, “(s)ince April 2015, JLENS has achieved 80 percent operational availability, growing to 90 percent in four of the past six months.” He concluded that, “JLENS has the potential to “catch the arrows,” providing a vital capability for defending our nation against emerging air-breathing threats and to our warfighters around the globe.”

Click here to read MDAA’s full response to the Los Angeles Times article.

About Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.

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