"In any event, don't lose too much sleep that we have not yet fortified our grid. We are getting closer to having a good defense against the Norks. That is, if we can catch everything they might throw at us."
I think I have mentioned this before. While in the Naval Reserves, I also had a civilian job. The first 25 years of that civilian career was working in the Defense/Aerospace Business. And the majority of that time was spent working on either the AEGIS Program or the VLS Program which fed off the AEGIS weapon system. Truthfully - it was quite a ride.
It started in the late seventies, when I worked on the AN/UYK-7 Standard Shipboard Computer at Sperry Univac. One of the applications was this new whiz-bang thing called "AEGIS". Although not on any ships at that time, it was being developed at an RCA facility in Moorestown, New Jersey. This sleepy little town about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia had a mock up of what a AEGIS Class Cruiser would look like (from the superstructure up), a Cruiser. And they plunked it down in the middle of a corn field. Many back then called it the "Cruiser in the corn field".
My career progressed and I was hired by Control Data. Control Data built the AN/UYH-3 for the AEGIS combat information control system. As luck would have it, in 1982 I picked up RCA as a customer. They were the prime contractor for the combat information system which our product was part of. I had the chance to travel to Moorestown a few times to see the now famous "cruiser in the corn field". And I toured it more than once.
Some might read this and ask, "So what? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?" Not much however. But I would respond this way - it might have a lot to do with the price of victory in North Korea.
Back to AEGIS for a moment. Life went on. The AEGIS weapon system was put on the USS Ticonderoga and then more and more Cruisers and the new class of Destroyers. The Vertical Launch System was employed into the system and fit together with AEGIS like peanut and butter. The 80's passed, the 90's passed, and the new millennium took roots. All the time, the AEGIS/VLS system became better and more capable. And now today, we have a system which can do just about everything.
Thus enter the AEGIS Ashore Program. Rather than building a new platform on a $22B Zumwalt Class Destroyer, we can put the weapon system in a clearing at a fraction of the cost. In other words, we are back to the Cruiser (or Destroyer) in a corn field approach.
So what the heck is the AEGIS Ashore Program? In short, it is a return to the corn field. It is AEGIS without the ship. It is the AEGIS System which is tied into our GBMD Program. That would be our Ground Based Missile Defense Program. The Navy is taking the best of the AEGIS Program, tying it in with our nation's GBMD Program, and letting that be part of the grid which protects us.
Will it work if the North Koreans decide to launch? I sure hope so. After working on the HOE (Homing Overlay Experiment), I know we have many layers of protection. My biggest fear however, is the North Koreans could get lucky. And if they do, we get unlucky - and fast.
But every month which goes by without a launch, we become better prepared. We have lasers almost ready to do, rail guns almost ready to go, AEGIS Cruisers and Destroyers which are ready to go, as well as our already established GBMD Program.
In any event, don't lose too much sleep that we have not yet fortified our grid. We are getting closer to having a good defense against the Norks. That is, if we can catch everything they might throw at us. If one gets through and our grid is porous, it will be Good Night Irene - for a long, long time.