SMDC History: SMDC creates first non-TRADOC Battle Lab

By Sharon Watkins Lang, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Command HistorianFebruary 16, 2016

SMDC History: SMDC creates first non-TRADOC Battle Lab
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

With their 2015 reorganization, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense/Army Forces Strategic Command Future Warfare Center realigned the missions of the SMDC Battle Laboratory to better address today's requirements. As a result, while the missions remain, the Battle Lab itself was eliminated.

On Feb. 18, 1997, Lt. Gen. Edward G. Anderson III, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, or SSDC, a predecessor of the current USASMDC/ARSTRAT, and General William W. Hartzog, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC, signed a significant memorandum of agreement, or MOA.

This twelve-page document recognized SSDC as the Army's specified proponent for space and national missile defense and an integrator for theater missile defense issues. Reports of the day described SSDC as a "one-stop shop" for space and missile defense.

At the same time the MOA authorized SSDC to establish the Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab. Developed by TRADOC in May 1992, Battle Labs were established "to define horizontally integrated doctrine, training, leader development, organizational design, materiel and soldier systems required capabilities for the Force Projection Army" and later for the Total Army program.

To accomplish this mission, according to the contemporary TRADOC Regulation 11-1, "Battle Labs look for ways to increase lethality, survivability, and tempo of operations and horizontally integrate them across the entire combined arms and service team."

By 1997, already equipped with an extensive background in modeling and simulation, much of it consolidated in the Missile Defense Battle Integration Center, or MDBIC, located at the Huntsville facilities, SSDC was well on its way toward developing a Battle Lab capability.

Closely aligned with the TRADOC Battle Lab structure, the MDBIC "a unique experimentation capability" with its Extended Air Defense Testbed and the Extended Air Defense Simulations formed a core of the Battle Lab. The new organization however was augmented with the Army Space Exploitation Develop Program, or ASEDP, and other capabilities located within the command at the Army Space Command situated in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The functions of the Battle Lab were many. Focused upon space and missile defense, the Battle Lab was designed to "develop warfighting concepts, focus military science and technology research, conduct warfighting experiments and support exercises and training facilities."

"Our Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab will analyze and experiment with operational concepts, participate in the TRADOC battle lab process and cooperate with organizations such as the TRADOC Analysis Center, the Joint National Test Facility, the Joint Warfighting Center, and the other services as well as the science and technology community," Anderson explained.

Officially chartered Dec. 10, 1997, the Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab was authorized to perform experimentation in the domains of space and missile defense (national missile defense, theater missile defense and cruise missile defense) and thus became the first chartered Battle Lab outside of TRADOC.

As the program became more established the mission was more clearly defined. Developing warfighting concepts became developing and validating warfighting concepts in particular those which lead to doctrine, operations, training, materiel, leadership development, personnel and facilities, alternatives and solutions.

War games were added to warfighting experiments within the synthetic battlefield environment and exercises. And, with the experienced ASEDP, the Space Applications Technology Program and other initiatives, efforts to focus military science and technology research soon evolved into the development of prototypes, tools, hardware and future operational concepts - "[delivering] innovations to the Warfighter."

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