Space & Missile Defense Provides Support to Warfighters 24/7

By Campbell, Kevin T. | Army, October 2007 | Go to article overview

Space & Missile Defense Provides Support to Warfighters 24/7


Campbell, Kevin T., Army


Secure the High Ground!

Our Army is expected to be involved in persistent conflict and engaged in supporting a wide range of operational requirements for many years. Because the challenges are more diverse than before, our capabilities must continually evolve to meet warfighters' requirements. The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) accepts this challenge and is responding to our nation's security requirements with "concepts to combat" capabilities.

As the Army's specified proponent for space and operational integrator for missile defense, and now as the Army service component command to U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM),USASMDC/ARSTRAT is a globally focused organization. In addition to our Title 10 Army responsibilities to train, maintain and equip forces assigned to the command, we provide space and missile defense capabilities by developing, testing and fielding state-of-the-art systems and operating national test and range facilities. As the Army service component command to USSTRATCOM, USASMDC/ARSTRAT serves as the focal point for planning, integrating and coordinating Army forces and capabilities in support of USSTRATCOM missions of global command and control; integrated missile defense; information operations; strategic deterrence; space operations; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; global strike; and combating weapons of mass destruction.

Over the past 50 years, USASMDC/ARSTRAT has evolved to its current focus of exploring and exploiting the opportunities in space and meeting the challenges of a globally integrated missile defense. Since 1957, when the Army created the first program office for ballistic missile defense, this command has been dedicated to missile defense capability research, development and fielding. Our efforts parallel those of America's pioneer in space; Army rockets launched the first American satellite and soon thereafter put American astronauts into orbit.

The command's first priority is to provide, from globally deployed and reach-back locations, the forces and leveraging of capabilities necessary to support our nation's warfighters on a 24/7 basis. The 1st Space Brigade's three battalions provide soldiers, civilians, equipment and access to a variety of space force enhancements, in-theater strategic and tactical ballistic missile warning, and satellite communications (SATCOM) capabilities. The 53rd Signal Battalion (satellite control or SATCON) has ground stations positioned around the globe that provide reliable, strong, worldwide communications support by the Defense Satellite Communications System's (DSCS) satellites to our nation's President, strategic military users, U.S. warfighting forces and the U.S. intelligence community.

The 1st Space Battalion and 117th Space Battalion (Colorado Army National Guard or COARNG) deploy units in-theater that provide numerous direct space support capabilities. Army space support teams (ARSSTs) assigned to the two space battalions support Army and Marine Corps ground units as the on-the-ground space experts in SATCOM, weather, mapping and satellite-coverage analysis. Commercial exploitation teams (CETs) provide directly downlinked commercial satellite imagery, commercial imagery spectral analysis and custom mapping products to deployed ARSSTs and supported warfighters. In addition to imagery, CETs provide image maps, perspective views, graphic overlays and change detections. ARSSTs and CETs have deployed repeatedly in support of critical missions since December 2002.

Theater missile warning detachments, supported by Joint tactical ground stations, provide a continuous 24hour capability to receive and process in theater, directly downlinked data from Defense Support System satellite sensors. These units currently support combatant commanders in the U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM).

USASMDC/ARSTRAT also provides extensive support via reach-back, that is, support capabilities available remotely rather than in theater. …

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Space & Missile Defense Provides Support to Warfighters 24/7
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