News | Aug. 10, 2021

SMDC offers unique perspective on space, missile defense convergence

By Jason Cutshaw U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

The leader of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command said during the 24th annual Space and Missile Defense Symposium that his “People First” team ensures space and missile defense capabilities for the Soldier, the Army and the nation.

Army Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, said Aug. 10 because the command occupies strategic key terrain that lies at the nexus of integrated deterrence between three combatant commands: U.S. Space Command, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Northern Command, it has a unique perspective on the convergence of space and missile defense in multi-domain operations and the role it plays in integrated deterrence.

“We also have a distinct view of Army air and missile defense forces and capabilities that operate across the globe,” Karbler said. “That is especially important given the challenges we face in today’s complex and rapidly evolving security environment. Our adversaries’ missile systems continue to increase in quantity, complexity, range and accuracy.

“At the same time, our adversaries are persistently contesting our dominance in space by trying to neutralize, deny or limit our space-based services,” he added. “These capabilities include kinetic anti-satellite and directed energy weapons, as well as electronic warfare systems to deny, degrade and disrupt GPS signals and satellite communications.”

Karbler said USASMDC’s plan to realize a vision of space and missile defense integration is centered on the Army Integrated Air & Missile Defense program.

“By fusing sensor data to support both offensive and defensive fires, Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System will bring together these previously independent entities into the foundational elements of integrated deterrence,” Karbler said. “We’ll be able to use this integrated deterrence approach to simultaneously deny benefits to, and impose costs on, our adversaries with attack left-of-launch operations to prevent the launch of adversary missiles, active missile defense to intercept them in flight and send credible messaging to our adversaries.”

Karbler said that in his 34-year career he has never seen USASMDC more relevant than it is today.

“Our missile defense and space capabilities are highly sought across our joint, service, multinational, interagency and commercial partners,” Karbler said. “Whether we’re talking about space exploration or SMDC’s core mission of Army space and missile defense, we must always keep our eyes on the horizon, looking ahead to what comes next. We are preparing to fight and win, today and tomorrow, by integrating space and missile defense to support integrated deterrence across and through all domains.”

The USASMDC team comprises 2,800 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians in 22 locations around the world.

“They and their families are far and away our greatest strength and most important weapons system—their service and sacrifice are what make winning possible, Karbler said. “That is why, in the Army, we put ‘People First.’”

Karbler said the Army is investing to develop ready and resilient warfighters who will make up future space warfare formations.

“Even in degraded or contested environments, they will still contribute cross-domain fires to allow maneuver and provide support to all warfighting functions during large-scale combat operations, whether we are in competition, crisis, conflict or change,” Karbler said. “They and the critical capabilities they will provide to the joint force are what will enable us to become multi-domain operations-ready and achieve our objective of defeating threats.”

Karbler said that in both space and missile defense, USASMDC is making progress in its concepts, organizations, capabilities and path forward to the future.

“We’re working today to be ready for what’s ahead, whether we’re talking about people or capabilities,” Karbler said. “With competition now our steady state, our sights are set far into the future.”