Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler assumed command of the Space and Missile Defense Command and the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense from Lt. Gen. James Dickinson during a change of command Friday in the Von Braun III auditorium.
During the ceremony, Gen. James McConville, Army chief of staff, placed a Superior Unit Award streamer on the SMDC colors before accepting them from Dickinson and then passing them to Karbler. He then thanked Dickinson and his wife, Angie, for all they have done for the Army and the command.
“Giving up the colors is never easy,” McConville said. “But thank you for your steady hand and leadership of SMDC. I know the community here is sad to lose you and Angie, but we are all excited that such a great team will be moving over to U.S. Space Command. I know the command there will be better for having you both.”
McConville then welcomed Karbler and his wife, Leah, and challenged him to build upon the SMDC legacy.
“I have full trust and confidence that SMDC is in good hands,” McConville said. “You have the skills and experience this command needs. We look forward to seeing you and Leah lead the SMDC team going forward. I know the community here will wrap its arms around you both and I have no doubt that SMDC is better for your leadership.”
The Army chief of staff also took a moment to talk about the impact of the command and the role SMDC Soldiers, civilians and family members have in maintaining peace around the world.
“I want to thank all of you for what you do every single day to make us the world’s greatest military,” McConville said. “Today’s ceremony is really about more than just passing the colors, it’s a chance to recognize this command and the men and women who make it great. Winning matters in our profession. When we send the United States Army somewhere, we don’t go to participate. We don’t go to try hard. We go to win. There is no second place or honorable mention in combat.
“In providing missile defense and space capabilities, not only to our Army but to the joint force and our allies and partners around the world, SMDC is a key part in making sure we can do that and that we can win. SMDC deploys missile batteries, satellites, computers and sensors to enable warfighters to win, and that is what it is all about. It is our people in the Army here at SMDC who make us strong and make us special. In our Army we don’t man equipment, we equip people because our Army is people. All of you define SMDC and your hard work is what makes this command great.”
After placing a Joint Meritorious Unit Award streamer on the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense colors, Navy Adm. Charles “Chas” Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, presided over a change of command where Karbler took the helm of JFCC IMD.
The SMDC commander also serves as commander for JFCC IMD and provides USSTRATCOM commander with synchronized missile defense plans, conducts ballistic missile defense, operations support and advocates for missile defense capabilities to deter adversaries and defend the United States, deployed forces and its allies against ballistic missile attacks.
Richard then thanked Dickinson for his service to the nation and those who serve at SMDC.
“I could not be more proud of what Jim Dickinson and this command have done,” Richard said. “He solved very difficult problems with Army can-do and SMDC know-how, and that is what I am always going to remember about him and this organization.”
SMDC serves as the Army service component command to USSTRATCOM, as well as supporting USSPACECOM, and conducts space and missile defense operations and provides planning, integration, control and coordination of Army forces and capabilities in support of missions of strategic deterrence, integrated missile defense, space operations and cyberspace operations.
Richard congratulated Karbler and said he looks forward to serving with him.
“Dan, I know you are going to crush it here. I am indeed very proud of you, and I look forward to working with you,” Richard said. “I am confident you are up for the challenge and will continue to do great things.”
Dickinson, who is assuming the position of USSPACECOM deputy commander, reflected on his time at SMDC and thanked everyone for his success during his three years at the command.
“I need to thank my wife, Angie,” Dickinson said. “Thanks for being here today and always being by my side and taking care of the families and taking care of me at the same time.
“Dan, I couldn’t be more proud to pass these colors to you today. You’ve got the absolute right background and right leadership skills to take this unit and organization to the next level. The interest could never be higher in both missile defense and space.
“This has been the absolute best job I have ever had in the United States Army,” Dickinson added. “There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t thank God that I got this job and was able to do some of the things we were able to do as an organization.”
During the change of command, Karbler thanked everyone for their kind words and said he and Leah look forward to working with the SMDC team.
“To Team Redstone and the greater Huntsville area we appreciate the warm welcome we have already experienced,” Karbler said. “We look forward to being a part of this terrific community.
“To the SMDC team, we are humbled and honored to lead SMDC. At no other time in my 32-plus years have I seen this command so relevant to the complex challenges that face us today and tomorrow. Twenty-first century strategic deterrence is more than just nuclear deterrence, it demands we provide world-class support to space, missile defense, high altitude, and emerging counter-UAS missions. In the face of adversaries who are ever-adapting, we must move fast, innovate and be willing to accept risk.
“What we do is critical to warfighting readiness and ensures our Soldiers can shoot, move and communicate on the complex battlefields of not only today, but also tomorrow,” Karbler added. “We are grateful for the privilege to lead the SMDC team and for the opportunity to become key members of Team Redstone and the Huntsville community.”