Wayne Meyer, Early Advocate of Comprehensive Missile Defense
The Wall Street Journal published an article about Wayne E. Meyer, who died last week. Meyer was a rear admiral who commanded America’s first naval anti-missile system during the Cold War.
Those who understand the importance of missile defense know that a comprehensive system is the key. Meyer was such a man. Launching missiles from ships was the easy part. Meyer worked to solve the problem of defending against incoming missiles. If you watched old WWII footage of Japanese airplanes-turned-missiles crashing into American ships, you understand the enormity of the problem.
Solving the problem led to the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, designed to intercept ballistic missiles after the boost phase and before reentry. Although Meyer faced “fierce initial opposition” for his idea, the Aegis system became a reality. A long and expensive project, the building of this system provided the U.S. with comprehensive protection against potential Soviet missile attacks.
John F. Lehman, a former secretary of the Navy, said, “We had the forward strategy to get into the Soviets’ face in the Norwegian Sea and around Vladivostok, to demonstrate we could handle the best shots. Aegis was the keystone of that air-defense system and still is.”