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Cavin: Yesterday's Patriot Falls Short of Today's Requirements

MEADS meets the Army’s AMD Strategy requirements and provides the advanced capabilities our forces so desperately need. Each MEADS element is lightweight and truck-mounted. Its rotating radars provide 360-degree capability, and all components are designed to be networked using open architecture software and with plug-and-fight capability — exactly the characteristics all future systems must possess. A MEADS battery provides eight times the defensive coverage of a Patriot battery and slashes airlift requirements so the U.S. can get to the fight. MEADS does more with fewer vehicles and fewer personnel — and can generate enough manpower savings to pay for itself.

Our Army faced the same kind of decision in 1973 when critics argued that Red Eye and Chaparral were good enough. Those same critics argued that these systems were widely adopted by our allies and therefore we should stay with the old technology. But the threat changed and modern warfare changed — Patriot was needed. Now the threat and the global environment our Army must fight in have changed. We do not have the luxury of time to modify an existing system whose valiant service no one would argue with. The capabilities required for a modern Air and Missile Defense are clearly defined in the AMD Strategy.

Our nation and our partner allies have invested billions in scarce resources to accomplish what many said could not be done: protection against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other stressing air-breathing threats attacking from any direction. We can do no less for our men and women in uniform than to complete the MEADS Design and Development contract and move forward. Harvesting mature, network-capable MEADS assets is the quickest and most cost-effective way for the U.S. Army to achieve its integrated air and missile defense strategy.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Dennis D. Cavin, former commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss, Texas, and a former Lockheed Martin executive

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