Missile Defense Agency May Go in New Direction With New Chief, Advocate Says

August 8, 2012

The Obama administration's nomination last week of an admiral to head the U.S. Missile Defense Agency has issue observers wondering if new leadership could lead to new operational focuses for the organization (see GSN, Aug. 7).

The timing and the choice of Navy Rear Adm. James Syring, currently the program executive officer for the service's Integrated Warfare Systems program, to replace Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly came as a surprise to Riki Ellison, a well-connected advocate of missile defense programs.

"I think it's a shock to a lot of the community," said Ellison, who founded and chairs the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. "We've never had a Navy head of the Missile Defense Agency. ...This is a big culture change for a lot of people." 

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