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Missile defense experts coming to Guam to spell out the scope of flight tests

Updated: Jun 28


By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

Missile defense experts will come to Guam next month to explain the scope of the proposed flight tests designed to assess the suitability of the tracking and interceptive system on island, a military official said.


“This is a system that is going to be unique for Guam. It’s a tried and true piece of equipment that we’ve used before but we're modifying it to operate here on Guam,” said Rear Adm. Gregory Huffman, commander of the Joint Task Force Micronesia.


The task force will assume command and control of the Guam missile defense architecture planned by the Missile Defense Agency.


“For the test, it's really just to ensure that all the systems are working and that they can accurately employ the missile,” Huffman said during a presentation before the Rotary Club of Tumon Bay on Tuesday.  

The MDA is proposing to launch the initial flight test of Guam’s missile defense system in the first quarter of fiscal 2025, which would be followed by annual tests in the next 10 years.

Military official saluting
Gregory Huffman

According to the MDA’s environmental assessment released early this month, the proposed action would include up to two flight tests or tracking exercises per year. They would be deployed from Andersen Air Force Base or at sea from a U.S. Navy ship.


“A flight test represents a target missile flight, an interceptor missile flight, an intercept of a target missile, or a test of sensors independent of missile flight,” states the proposed action.


The proposed tests, MDA said, aim to validate the interoperability of multiple sensors and interceptor systems from the MDA, Army and Navy that could become part of a missile defense system developed for Guam.


“It's going to be launched from Andersen at a target that will be hundreds of miles offshore that is going to be launched from an aircraft,” Huffman said. “And so that target will then follow a ballistic missile profile and no danger hitting the island or anything.”


Officials said access to select private properties on the boundary of AAFB

would need to be restricted during flight test events to ensure public safety. 

The MDA has extended the public comment period through Aug. 2. The comment period was originally set to close on July 2 but the MDA agreed to extend it for another 30 days in response to local leaders’ request.


The Proposed Final EA/OEA and Proposed Finding of No Significant Impact is available for download at or visit theDededo or Nieves M. Flores Memorial public library to view a printed copy.Public comments may be submitted at the open house, by email to, or by postal mail to: ManTech International ATTN: GuamFlight Test EA Project Support, PMB 403, 1270 N. Marine Corps Dr., Suite101, Tamuning, Guam 96913-4331.

According to a press release from the Joint Region Marianas, the MDA will hold an open house on July 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p,m. at the Dededo Community Senior Center.


Huffman said the MDA will also brief the governor’s office and the legislature on the proposed flight test. “That'll be an opportunity again to have these experts explain what's going on, what the scope of the test is and what they are hoping to accomplish with that,” he said.


The missile defense test plan was among the topics discussed by the Civil-Military Coordination Council during a meeting this week.

"The CMCC remains a crucial platform for maintaining ongoing discussions and cooperation with our military partners," said Gov. Leon Guerrero. "Our focus remains on finding a balance between adapting to the changing circumstances and safeguarding our people and assets, all while upholding the nation's defense capabilities."

Often nicknamed "the tip of the military spear," Guam is at the forefront of the Pentagon's deterrence strategy in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of growing threats from China.

The MDA has marked 19 locations on island as possible host sites of the mobile components of the Guam missile defense architecture.

The council also discussed the Department of Defense’s Guam Master Plan, which will outline the future use of defense lands on Guam; the potential shared use of the Navy fuel pipeline, which would provide fuel to the A.B. Won Pat International Airport; and Guam's capital improvements projects list.

"As your regional installations commander, it's a priority of mine to ensure cohesion with our local support services, so that the resiliency of our military bases also translates to the resiliency of the greater community," said Rear Adm. Brent DeVore, the new JRM commander, who attended the council meeting for the first time. "We are one Guam, and there is no better representation of that than this council."

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