SMDC History: Strategic Planning Cell Transitions USASSDC to USASMDC

By Sharon Watkins Lang, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Historical OfficeDecember 19, 2014

SMDC History: Strategic Planning Cell Transitions USASSDC to USASMDC
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On Dec. 18, 1996, Lt. Gen. Edward G. Anderson III chartered the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command's, or USASSDC, Strategic Planning Cell. In and of itself, it does not sound like a particularly exciting event, but this Strategic Planning Cell was tasked to help the command "to focus and leverage resources to become more competitive, efficient, and effective today, tomorrow and into the future."

In many respects, this group established the organizational framework for what would soon become the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

The specific mission assigned to the cell was to provide the commander with "proactive, long range, strategic planning capability to integrate and synchronize resources, programs, and activities to accomplish SSDC Vision 2010." The impetus for change were unnamed "external and internal forces to the Department of Defense."

However, an analysis of Joint Vision 2010 and Army Vision 2010 was mandated to determine the implications to space and missile defense and a concurrent Quadrennial Defense Review and Alternative Force Structure Assessment were key factors. The internal assessment meanwhile sought to define the command's core competencies.

The Strategic Planning Cell would then develop the SSDC vision, identifying the command's goals, objectives and way ahead, and an accompanying implementation plan, developing strategy for the short, mid and long terms while prioritizing programs activities and funding, and, a strategic communications plan to identify target audiences and synchronize with the Army plan.

In conjunction with this effort, the team would identify opportunities for the command to demonstrate directly to the Warfighter the capabilities of space and missile defense. They were also tasked to educate the leadership on the program and serve as an independent measure for gauging progress toward these goals.

The charter also spelled out the means to measure success -- obtaining resources, influencing policy and doctrine, and developing "required space and missile defense capabilities for the joint Warfighter."

At the core of this effort were three employees -- two government planners and a support contractor. They worked in coordination with a 13-member working group that included the Historical Office, Public Affairs, the Treaty Advisor, the Legal Office, Army Space Command G-3 Plans, Force Development, Army Space Planning Office, Simulations Directorate, Advanced Technology Directorate, and the command's liaison officers, among others.

Each member, by profession, was trained to look at issues from a unique and specific perspective. Coordination however would extend throughout the command and would also include the Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense, now known as PEO Missiles and Space.

With a rigorous six-month timeline, the Strategic Planning Cell set forth to mold the organization to better meet the needs of the future, address the needs of the Warfighter and accomplish these in the most efficient manner possible.

As the command celebrated its 40th anniversary, the result was the Space and Missile Defense Command -- a one stop shop -- providing the world's best space and missile defense capabilities for the nation and Soldiers.

Each element of the organization -- Army Space Command (Forward); Space and Missile Defense Acquisition Center, Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab, the Missile Defense and Space Technology Center and the Force Development and Integration Center -- was organized to develop and deploy the necessary capabilities for the Army of today and tomorrow achieving the new command's missions as the Army proponent for space and national missile defense and theater missile defense integrator.