His words on this important milestone are as follows:
"On the last day of April this year, in a small sleepy southern shore side town in Virginia on the banks of the Potomac River, Admiral Robert Willard lead the establishment ceremony of the U.S. Navy Air and Missile Defense Command (NAMDC) at Dahlgren, Virginia declaring the U.S. Navy's newest center of excellence as a critical core mission for our nation, the U.S. Navy and the joint service.
'We're on a quest to field a Naval capability that is equally adept servicing National Missile Defense of The United States, regional missile defense for our allies and friends abroad, and theater defense for our forward fighting forces, this capability must fold seamlessly into the joint force and accommodate both U.S. and foreign command and control protocols,' remarked Admiral Willard."
"Joining Admiral Willard was the Commander of the 3rd Fleet Vice Admiral Samuel Locklear, III who together recognized and officially recognized that 'In our Navy, there was only one perfect choice to develop and lead this center of excellence.
His brilliant work as a Program Director for the Missile Defense Agency, combined with his renowned experience as an Air Defense Commander have made him indispensable, and the Navy's foremost uniformed authority in air and missile defense, RADM Brad Hicks was the unanimous pick by Navy three and four star leadership, across the board,' to be the first Commander of the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command."
"This Command will join the two other U.S. Navy centers of excellence and knowledge in Nevada and California on core missions of strike and underwater warfare that are commanded by one and two star Admirals. This new command will weave air, cruise and ballistic missile defense together to develop and provide the best excellence of knowledge that would support our nation's need and requirement of missile defense systems to defend and protect the American Public, our Armed Forces and our allies."
"The Navy and Air Missile Defense Command will take the U.S. Navy to a new unprecedented level of incorporating missile defense into the strategic and tactical fabric of their service. '...Ballistic Missile Defense is going to be a core mission in the United States Navy and we are seeing that capability and capacity in greater demand than we ever have before,' Admiral Gary Roughead Chief of Naval Operations said."
"This new Command was stood up in three months and under President Obama's Administration where Secretary Gates has requested an additional $200 million for 6 new Aegis ships and an additional $700 million, of which a majority would be allocated for additional sea-based missile defense interceptors (SM-3s) in the 2010 DOD budget.
"There will be over 22 Aegis ships, both Cruisers and Destroyers, this year that are completely ballistic missile defense capable to track, discriminate and intercept short and medium-range missiles. On February 21, 2008, the Aegis system on the U.S. Lake Erie intercepted and destroyed a harmful satellite that was faster and higher in altitude than the recent North Korean tapeo-dong missile that was launched on April 4.
For the protection of Japan and South Korea from North Korea, the protection of Israel and the Arab Gulf States from Iran, Aegis ballistic missile defense ships perform a vital role today and the future for extending U.S. deterrence and stability in these regions."
Ellison concluded his remarks with this comment: "We at MDAA endorse and commend the decision to establish the U.S. Navy's Air and Missile Defense Command and the selection of Rear Admiral Brad Hicks to be the first commander, as this will make our nation and our world a safer place."