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News | Feb. 28, 2020

Army SMDC commander discusses integration in space, missile defense

By Mikayla Mast U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

The Army’s senior air defender discussed current and future developments in space and missile defense during the 25th annual Air, Space and Missile Defense Association luncheon Feb. 25.

Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, delivered the luncheon’s keynote speech, addressing the importance of space and missile defense capabilities and furthering them through integration of systems and staff.

“You can’t start any discussion if you don’t talk about the threat first,” Karbler said. “Our adversaries are challenging us in the space domain, so we’ve got to be able to address the threats that are out there, that the adversaries have presented.”

Karbler talked about recent threats from near peer adversaries, saying they made USASMDC more pertinent than ever.

“Never more in my 32 years of knowing about the Space and Missile Defense Command has this command been more relevant,” Karbler said. “The threats are out there. The adversaries are out there. They’re contesting us in different domains. We’ve got to be prepared to take them on.”

From Karbler’s perspective, preparation means integration.

“The key is integration,” Karbler said. “Integration not just with the systems being able to communicate and work together, but also different staff actions and staff processes that have to take place. When we optimize integration, it’s the best sensor paired with the best shooter.”

Karbler champions the idea of getting away from the joint kill chain, a sequential way of engaging a target where information collected from Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System-enabled sensors moves in linear pathways of legacy networks and air defense artillery systems, and moving toward what he refers to as the joint kill web.

“The joint kill web is not this serial process,” Karbler said, “but is instead an integration combining all those capabilities that are out there, whether they’re sensor capabilities, command and control capabilities, or ultimately the effectors out there to be able to defeat or destroy those threats that we’re facing.”

Using the joint kill web allows information from the IBCS-enabled sensors in theater across all domains – a 360-degree mesh of capabilities, rather than the linear pathway the joint kill chain provides. The joint kill web creates an interconnected complex overview that provides a comprehensive picture to leadership at all levels.

Obtaining the comprehensive integrated picture involves the space domain and space-enabled capabilities.

Karbler said space is a domain where adversaries are frequently challenging the U.S. The standup of U.S. Space Command and the establishment reflect the increasing importance of the space domain.

“The Army is on board with making sure that we support the Space Force,” Karbler said. “We recognize the fact that Army maneuver formations can take advantage of the tactical space layer through the Army’s work with Space Command and the Space Force.”

Karbler closed by talking about what he said was the most important part of the command: the people.

“The talent pool that I see, and the dedication of the SMDC team is so incredible,” he said.

During the luncheon two USASMDC teams were recognized by ASMDA for their work. The Technical Achievement Award in the Team category was awarded to both the Assured Position, Navigation, and Timing, Cross Functional Simulation Analysis Support Team, and the Technical Center Air and Missile Defense Directorate’s High Energy Laser Lab Research Team. The High Energy Laser Lab research team was recognized for providing vital independent research in technology areas that support and lead the way to the next generation of High Energy Laser Weapon Systems. The APNT CFT Simulation Analysis Team was recognized for creating an innovative modeling and simulation approach to support the APNT CFT Mounted APNT System purchase decision.