Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jay Johnson announced today the formation of a new office on his immediate staff, the assistant chief of Naval Operations (ACNO) for Missile Defense.
The ACNO for Missile Defense will have oversight of all policy, planning, budgeting, funding, requirements definition, test and evaluation, deployment, training, operational doctrine, tactics and employment of Naval missile defense systems, including area and theater-wide theater ballistic missile defense (TBMD) as well as overland cruise missile defense. The ACNO for Missile Defense will coordinate all missile defense-related programs and initiatives throughout the Navy.
"As we begin testing in earnest and prepare to deploy theater ballistic missile defense at sea," Johnson said, "we must pull together all the different pieces and organizations into a more focused team. This will significantly improve the Navy's ability to deliver effective missile defenses."
Johnson designated Navy Rear Adm. Rodney P. Rempt as the first ACNO for Missile Defense. Rempt is currently serving as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Theater Combat Systems.
"Adm. Rod Rempt is our expert on missile defense and this will put him in the driver's seat for Navy TBMD," Johnson said.
The objectives behind the establishment of the new ACNO for Missile Defense include:
- Clarifying the lines of authority to the CNO and assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition with regard to naval TBMD.
- Expanding naval focus on doctrine, joint coordination, interoperability and international cooperative initiatives.
- Providing a single point of contact within the CNO staff for all Missile Defense matters.
- Strengthening coordination with the Defense Department, Ballistic Missile Defense Office, and the other Services.
In addition to the creating this new office, the Navy announced that USS Lake Erie (CG 70) has been designated the Navy's theater-wide test ship for the AEGIS Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile intercept flight-test series.
"The Navy theater wide test efforts are too important to the nation to risk frequently shifting test ships," Johnson said. "We need a ship and crew to focus full time on this effort."
For the next two years, the USS Lake Erie will be dedicated to conducting these critical tests.
The USS Lake Erie's homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, makes the ship's participation in tests at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai cost-effective. The Navy anticipates the ship will not deploy operationally again for about two years.
Johnson made it clear that the Navy's first priority remains to develop and deploy effective area and theater-wide defenses at sea.
As the Navy begins testing in earnest and preparing to deploy TMBD at sea, it is necessary to dramatically improve the Navy's posture to deliver effective missile defenses. The changes announced today are intended to strengthen the Navy's TBMD organization and reduce the complexities of coordinating operations, testing and deployment.
Johnson added, "Navy missile defense is critical to the future of our Navy and the security of our nation. We must succeed in rapidly deploying our evolutionary systems in order to maximize the payoff to the nation inherent in this revolutionary new capability. The steps I have taken today give us the team and the focus to ensure we do just that."