Assuredness, Persistence and Responsiveness Required

Article excerpt

Space and Missile Defense

At U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USAS-MDC/ARSTRAT), our vision is to provide dominant space, high-altitude and missile-defense capabilities for the Army and to plan for and integrate Army capabilities in support of U.S. Strategic Command and geographic combatant commanders. Securing the nation requires dominant space and missile-defense capabilities, and our current efforts are on track toward making our vision a reality.

Today the United States has access to the world's finest space-based products and services. We also enjoy an unparalleled freedom of action in space. Our soldiers tell us, however, that products and services (current satellite imagery and communications) delivered from space-based platforms do not consistently reach our lower-echelon units - those closest to the fight. On today's battlefield, battles are won at the squad, company and battalion levels. On the battlefield, timely information enables optimal employment of our small units and adequate force protection.

We are putting our troops in remote locations on terrain where mountains and valleys separate members of the same combat unit. Under these conditions, terrestrial line-of-sight systems may not give the small-unit leaders the situational awareness to operate with relative freedom of action. Any disruption in service exposes our units to greater force-protection risks.

What are the attributes we need in our space systems? Our troops need assuredness, persistence and responsiveness. Assuredness is the confidence that we will provide the products and services needed. Persistence means they will be there when needed for as long as they are needed. Responsiveness is the ability to task an asset in real time for rapid delivery of information to the troops in contact. Our requirements - our warfighters' requirements - are demanding when you consider the need for assuredness, persistence and responsiveness.

At USASMDC /ARSTRAT, we are continually looking for new ways to support warfighters. To meet their needs, we are evaluating small satellites, hybrid airships and high-altitude systems. As we look across the universe of potential capabilities, whether space, high-altitude, air or ground, we strive to find taster and more cost-effective ways and means to deliver support to the lower echelons.

Defeating theater and global missile threats also falls within USASMDC/ARSTRAT roles and missions. The February 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report states: "Globally, the Intelligence Community continues to see a progression in development from short- to medium- and, in some cases, intermediate-range missiles. Development programs reflect increasing ambition in improving payload, range, precision and operational performance. Those development programs could be helped by the open market that now exists in many of the associated technologies, materials and expertise. These include the potential for salvo launches and for systems with technologies that enable the penetration of ballistic missile defenses. There is no global norm or treaty banning trade in ballistic missiles."

According to the Arms Control Association, currently at least 32 countries possess fielded ballistic missile systems. That count does not include countries such as Lebanon or regions such as Palestine, where short-range missile systems have been emplaced by groups such as Hezbollah. Clearly, ballistic missile capabilities have proliferated and are continuing to do so, posing a continual threat to our soldiers within virtually every theater of operations.

To counter the ballistic missile threat, USASMDC/ ARSTRAT works hand in hand with the Missile Defense Agency and Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space to develop early warning, command-and-control and countermissile capabilities that range from regional to global missile defense.

As the Army proponent for space and missile defense, USASMDC/ARSTRAT has worked to expand its role in the capabilities needs analysis (CNA) process conducted by the U. …