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News | June 19, 2020

SMD School earns fully accredited status from TRADOC

By Dottie White U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense School recently earned the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s fully accredited status.

The Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence’s school, a component of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, hosted the U.S. Army Accreditation Team from TRADOC in Colorado Springs Feb. 3-7, 2020.

Michael Madsen, chief of the Institutional Training and Doctrine Division, SMD School, said the accreditation team examined seven Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards and 434 sub-criteria. They also conducted detailed discussions on the school's mission, purpose, and functions; institutional training and mission management; learning programs analysis, design, development, and implementation; student and staff focus groups; governance and administration; staff and faculty; and assessment, evaluation and effectiveness.

The three-day review of the requirements across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy domains in accordance with the U.S. Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards resulted in a score of 98.6 out of 100, effective Feb. 7.

“Army accreditation is a three-year process that requires the entire school team to create, review and update hundreds of lesson plans, lesson material, practical exercises, exams and supporting administrative documentation for 29 space and missile defense courses,” said Madsen. “Achieving ‘accredited’ status demonstrates USASMDC's commitment to meet competency needs of today's Army and the future force.”

Daryl Breitbach, the school’s director, said one of the strengths identified by the Army accreditation team is the school’s interaction and synchronization with operational force Soldiers and leaders beyond formal training in the classroom.

“Given the low density, specialized space and missile defense missions within the command, it is imperative the school works in close coordination with the operational subject matter experts to ensure institutional education, qualification training, doctrine, and collective unit training accurately and properly prepares Soldiers for critical space and missile defense missions,” Breitbach said. “Space and Missile Defense School staff and instructors are continually focused on how to maximize the limited time Soldiers spend in our classes; how to best prepare Soldiers for critical space and missile defense missions; how to integrate creative instructional methods that keep students engaged and ensure graduates master the skills and knowledge required to successfully accomplish their missions.

“The school staff and instructors take the Army accreditation very seriously and welcome the opportunity to discuss school practices and challenges and learn from the experts on the accreditation team,” he continued. “The school staff and instructors have a mindset of not just meeting, but exceeding the Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards and know this is truly accomplished over the three years between accreditations.”

As for the future of the school, Breitbach said he expects many changes in coming years in terms of evolving missions, new missions, increased Army demand for space and missile defense education and training, changes in the operational environment, and evolving threats to space and missile defense capabilities.

“The team continues to posture the school in preparation for future changes and to meet the school vision – ‘Army space and missile defense forces trained and ready for the challenges of tomorrow.’”

The SMD School accreditations date back to 2005 (Ground-based Midcourse Defense Course), 2006 (FA40 Qualification Course) and full school evaluations in 2009, 2013, 2016, and 2020, achieving fully accredited status and scores above 95 (out of 100) for each evaluation.