Iron Dome in Guam


The Guam media reported that Iron Dome operated by the U.S. Army has been deployed to our island for the past several weeks. Iron Dome is a military air defense system, funded in part by the United States and developed by Israel. Iron Dome is being tested in Guam to assess how its vertical mobile unit interceptor system would work against an actual cruise missile attack.

Iron Dome is intended to defend against long and medium range attacks from planes, drones, missiles, and rockets as one response to the significant military threats that could be used to destroy American forces on the ground in Guam. Iron Dome has the wherewithal to identify and track missiles, employ a fire control system, and operate several launchers for approximately 20 missiles for each Army battery.

U.S. Army personnel and organizations from Japan, Guam, Alabama, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and elsewhere have been working on qualification, training, and testing aspects of this project. This Guam-based operation represents one instance of the U.S. Army seeking to reconstitute its overall ability to provide air defense measures from a short-range air defense vantage point.

The Army remains involved in ongoing deliberations regarding Iron Dome because it is viewed as an interim approach to providing the military with weapons that could intercept incoming missiles.

Pressure from Congress to both purchase and deploy Iron Domes has resulted in the U.S. Army establishing two organizations called batteries, consisting of up to roughly 200 soldiers in each battery, to specifically work on Iron Dome products.

What the US Army is trying to accomplish

The U.S. Army is trying to find ways to remain relevant and contribute to America’s greater military focus throughout the western Pacific and Asiatic region. The Army competes for resources, attention and media coverage with the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.

The Army is attempting to find ways to prove that it can protect American military interests abroad and Iron Dome is one expression of this thinking.

Guam serves as a vital testbed location because of how many military assets are already in place and concentrated on our ancient Chamorro Pacific Islander home. The Army cannot afford not to try new things in Guam because of the overall focus and thrust of increased militarization in and around our island chain region.

The Army has an official program of record under which the Iron Dome effort resides; it is called the Indirect Fires Protection Capability program, which in turn is part of the Missiles and Space’s Cruise Missile Defense Systems program.

Congressional and Pentagon macarena: A short- and long-term dance routine that may be out of beat

In American imperial politics, especially politics that relates to money and jobs, both Congress and the Pentagon can have the oddest of relationships. The Iron Dome is one such entity where Congress is telling the Army what it will purchase.

What’s at stake is upwards of $5 billion or more for war profiteering companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other firms, including foreign ally defense industry partners from Israel. What’s at stake is finding the most effective and useful way to produce and launch interceptors and to build the right kinds of interceptors that can destroy incoming missiles.

What’s at stake is now the Army is creating new official programs of record revolving around directed energy resources and the laws of physics to take out land-based weapons of war, further enabling the Army to remain relevant in winning future wars.

The Chamorro people remain ‘naked’ and exposed in this massive superpower race to train, prepare, pay, and conduct war on top of and in our collective backyard

Not one island in the Marianas chain has a nuclear bomb shelter system in place for villagers to go to should our insular homes be attacked.

If any of our islands were attacked, our people would perish instantly from the sheer magnitude and force of massive missile attacks.

Both the Guam and CNMI congressmen have not introduced authorization bills to pay for a study on how much it would cost Congress to build a nuclear bomb shelter system in Guam, Saipan, Tinian, or elsewhere.

The Guam and CNMI congressmen do not sit on any of the Armed Services subcommittees. This alone is a travesty and should be reexamined now.

Mission set omissions: How about our Chamorro people and their collective safety and wellbeing?

While the Army seeks to integrate its Iron Dome assets into the much broader community of integrated air and missile defense command and control operational activities that it operates, our Chamorro villagers have a host of needs that are simply not expressed, understood, or appreciated.

We should wonder just how much of the Pentagon’s efforts will truly protect our island civilization despite existing defensive system in place to provide some layers of protection.

With China already practiced in hypersonic weapons testing and the release and associated successes or partial successes of hypersonic glide vehicle impacts, our Chamorro civilization should be asking if all these activities currently being conducted by the Pentagon in Guam are somewhat futile.

We can’t ever forget that hypersonic weapons travel several times the speed of sound and cannot be detected by existing radar configurations in a way that will enable military leaders to understand, assess and respond to a potential attack against Guam in real time.

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Rick Perez used to serve in the U.S. military and has work experiences in public policy research and public affairs. He is passionate about national security and geopolitics and runs a newsletter called Guam Affairs at guamaffairs.substack.com. For questions or comments, contact Perez at rickp7839@gmail.com.

RICK PEREZ Special to the Saipan Tribune

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