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<p class=MsoNormal style='text-align:justify'><span lang=EN-GB>The Difference Between a Good and Great Officer Is About Ten Seconds</span></p>


The Difference Between a Good and Great Officer Is About Ten Seconds


Remarks by The Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England at the National Missile Defense Conference, Ronald Reagan Center, Washington, D.C. March 22, 2004. Source: Navy Office of Information, Washington D.C.


My thanks to General Ron Kadish, an "old" friend.. Speaking after lunch, the worst possible time - other than speaking before lunch - especially with technical personnel!


Decided to make this "lite fare," easily digestible and, therefore, will begin by referring to Einstein and his Theory of Relativity! In overly simplistic, plain language: time is not constant and the universe is not constant. What you observe depends on your reference frame. This is a segue to understanding the premise for missile defense. In secular terms, the events in the world today also need to be viewed in a relative context. New dangers across time and distance pose new challenges to freedom and our way of life.


President Bush has great clarity of vision in understanding the threat to America and to our friends and allies and great resolve in its defeat. He therefore is a proponent of your efforts, and I completely support his view. Here's why.

  • 1st Ism was Facism - WWII ended successfully - new governments in Japan and Germany.

  • 2nd "Ism" - Communism from Korea till the Wall came down in 1989 in Berlin. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) - bomb shelters.

  • Now, 3rd "ism" - Terrorism is the worst ism and threat.

Why? Consider 9-11, about 3000 killed, last week about 200 killed in Spain - use reference - would terrorists have killed 3M if given the opportunity? MAD still effective against rational enemies but not against irrational regimes, irrational terrorists.


· Almost to this day … on March 23rd, 1983, 21 years ago … President Reagan addressed the Nation and announced the concept of a missile defense program to be carried out by the end of the century. Although that vision has ebbed and flowed under other administrations … and designs and timelines have shifted over the last two decades … today, we stand on the brink of achieving a significant milestone in our Nation's security.


And, in fact, his "Star Wars" initiative held the potential to negate the MAD standoff to the advantage of the U.S. and was therefore quite likely instrumental in the eventual downfall of the Soviet Union. At the macro level, the objective of today's missile defense program is to provide a stable environment in which our people and our allies can flourish. Security and economic development are two sides of the same coin. Security is necessary for economic development, and, in the long term, economic development is needed for security. In all cases, security comes first, and that is the fundamental objective of not only the National Security Strategy … but a Missile Defense System as well. Peace and prosperity are not ordained … but earned.


This is one of the reasons the President, in his National Security Strategy, wrote, "History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action."


This post 9/11 age of uncertainly is no time to be cutting corners on national security or wishing away a threat. No one understands this better than the President who, like many before him in times of war, faces a historic challenge to reassess our national security policies.


A few weeks ago, on Meet the Press, the President stated, "I don't think America can stand by and hope for the best …it is essential … that, when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It's too late if they become imminent. It's too late in this new kind of war."


In 2002, President Bush made two significant announcements that thrust the Navy into the forefront of missile defense development. First, the withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty … which had prohibited sea-based ballistic missile defense systems … opened new doors to the Navy in testing and deployment of NMD capabilities. Our threats today are no longer grounded in a Cold War architecture and, therefore, our defenses shouldn't be either. This was the first step in achieving this transformation.


Second, in late 2002, President Bush accelerated plans and called on the Missile Defense Agency to have an initial deployment capability by the end of 2004, to include sea-based assets. This, too, brought greater emphasis and focus to the Navy's existing technology and its worldwide mobility. Quite simply … Missile Defense of our homeland is a priority to the President and to our national security and, therefore, a priority to the Navy. I am proud and pleased to be leading the Navy in this vital role and participation.


Given my convictions on the importance of Missile Defense and the significance of the work that you all do on a daily basis … I'd like to turn now to some specifics about the Navy's role in the current vision of Missile Defense.


Fundamental to this role is to project power and influence from the sea - an enduring and unique contribution of the Navy toward national security. Navies fight away games - it doesn't matter if it is 10 or 10,000 miles offshore. We're the first defense so that the last defense may not be needed.


On the subject of technology … our efforts in missile defense are not simply theoretical. Aegis BMD employs currently operational forces and a proven development approach that follows the guideline: "build a little, test a little, learn a lot".


As part of the President's directive to accelerate the fielding of a BMD Initial Defensive Operations capability … the Navy will deploy in the Sea of Japan, beginning this September and on a virtually continuous basis thereafter, a guided missile destroyer to serve as a Long-Range Surveillance and Tracking (LRS&T) platform.


This means that in just 6 months, we will have queuing and target data from this region of the world that can be instantaneously shared with command and control and ground based elements of our layered defense system.


This is just the first increment in a three-phased approach by the Navy to achieve full missile defense capability. The second phase - preliminary engagement capability - is to be deployed in 2005 and will include outfitting of an Aegis BMD cruiser with SM-3 blk 1 missiles to counter both short and medium range ballistic missile threats.


The third and final phase will be more robust engagement capability, to be achieved in spring 2006. At that time … just two years from now … the Navy will have 10 DDG's and one CG fully configured and capable of carrying out BMD operations against a wide variety of missile threats from virtually anywhere in the world.


The Navy is also evaluating the benefits associated with developing a Sea-based Terminal Missile Defense capability. A viable regional and terminal sea based ballistic missile defense system is important to ensure the safety of U.S. forces and the flow of those forces through foreign ports and airfields when required.


The bottom line is that we need to get forces ashore under the threat of ballistic missiles during a crisis … or even during actual missile strikes … and a sea-based missile defense system can help make this a reality.


Since 2002, Navy BMD has successfully tracked ICBM's, passed and shared command and control data, and made 4 of 5 engagements in operational testing. Today, we continue to refine our capabilities and hone our resources toward an integrated missile defense system and stand ready to meet our objectives.


The most telling difference in the new reference frame for missile defense is the timeline. We are no longer compelled to pursue a 100 percent solution that's been totally perfected before it's deployed.


Instead, the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy are moving to rapidly deploy missile defense capabilities which will provide not only the military, but also the Nation, with a mobile, sustainable, globally accessible and highly capable layered defense deterrent force to defend against world-wide ballistic missiles and potential weapons of mass destruction.


Our goal should not be the mere avoidance of another 9/11 2001, but also a freedom from fear of another 9/11 anywhere in the world. This is what's at the core -- the strength -- of a future Global Missile Defense System. This is our battle, and together with our friends and allies, we can prevail.


The legendary forefather of the Captains of the Navy ships that will soon conduct the first missile defense patrols…the indomitable Arleigh Burke … once said, "The difference between a good and great officer is about ten seconds". Like Einstein, President Bush understands that time is not constant - it is relative. We cannot wait as danger gathers.


Ours is a path of action. Missile defense is a new and vital mission that is our reason for being - to defend America and our friends and allies. In closing, let me affirm the Navy's contribution to National Missile Defense … we are fully engaged and rapidly creating a reality for the sake of our security and prosperity. I also want to add that we have no "service imperative" in missile defense. Our sole objective is to support General Kadish to meet the President's objectives.


Thank you all for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today. I am proud to stand with each of you in protecting and defending our way of life.


God bless all of you, and God bless America.




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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).