The leader of Space and Missile Defense Command explained how the command is ensuring space and missile defense for the Soldier, the Army and the nation at the 22nd Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Aug. 6.
Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, SMDC commander, updated those in attendance on how the command is supporting national defense through Army space and air and missile defense, and how that directly corresponds with the symposium’s theme of “Space and Missile Defense Preeminence in a Multi-Domain Environment.”
“Most of us here are working for the thousands of warfighters who are deterring adversaries around the world and fighting our wars, as well as the many deployed civilians and contractors who support them, and all of their families serving at home,” he said. “We are working to give them the best possible advantage today and in the future, whether we develop concepts, plans or the capabilities they use to accomplish their missions.”
“For the many sacrifices they make, we can do no less to make sure they can fight and win, and come home safely.”
Dickinson discussed the Army’s personnel and capabilities with regard to space.
“Whenever we shoot, move and communicate, we use space,” he said. “The Army is the largest military user of space. We use space for missile warning; command, control and communications; friendly force tracking; situational awareness; and positioning, navigation and timing.”
The Army is working to ensure that space is integrated throughout the force, he said.
“At the tactical level, all Soldiers must be trained to recognize when they are in a denied, degraded and disrupted space operational environment and what they can do to mitigate it.”
After speaking of numerous space operations and projects the command is involved with currently and in the future, Dickinson then turned to the command’s astronaut corps.
“In the Army we’re proud that one of our astronauts is currently on a nine-month deployment 250 miles above the Earth, serving on the International Space Station,” he said. “Col. Drew Morgan is a flight engineer for Expedition 60 and 61. He launched on July 20th, the historic day that the United States put the first humans on the moon, and he is scheduled to return in spring of 2020.
“Col. Morgan took the place of his fellow Army astronaut, Lt. Col. Anne McClain, who returned from the ISS in June after a total of 204 days in space. Col. Morgan and Lt. Col. McClain are exceptional Soldiers. He is an Army emergency physician with a remarkable career of serving with special operations units, and she is a senior Army aviator and test pilot with more than 2,000 flight hours in 20 different aircraft and has flown more than 800 combat hours.”
Turning to missile defense, Dickinson said plans for the future include multi-mission air and missile defense battalions that may contain multiple capabilities such as both Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot, both Patriot and the Indirect Fire Protection Capability, or both IPFC and Maneuver Short Range Air Defense.
“Tailored force packages will be available to meet mission needs,” he said. “We will have offensive and defensive integrated fires, across domains, regions and missions, using multi-mission, high-demand, low-density assets. Our future architecture will be layered and integrated, utilizing space, cyber, electronic warfare, land and air sensors. We will match the best shooter with the best sensor.”
Air and missile defense forces routinely collaborate with allies and partners across the globe. He said that it is a critical warfighter priority that the Army is interoperable and integrated with allies and partners to the greatest extent possible.
“Our active defense capacity is finite,” Dickinson said. “To maximize our lethality we must integrate our allies and partners into a common and mutually supportive architecture.”
In conclusion, Dickinson said that in both space and missile defense, SMDC is making progress in its concepts, organizations, capabilities and path forward to the future.
“The Army is positioned with the necessary expertise to support U.S. Space Command, and is moving forward with science and technology efforts to bring space advantages to the warfighter,” he said. “Army air and missile defense is on the right path to realize the Army’s Vision for 2028 and support our national strategies. As we go forward, we will continue to proactively strengthen ties with our allies and partners, working toward greater interoperability and integration.”