By 1st Lt. Alexander CramerNovember 4, 2016
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado -- Many of those driving east on Highway 94 during the early morning hours are among the steadfast individuals heading to work at Schriever Air Force Base along Colorado Springs' eastern plains.
Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, civilians and contractors alike come together to form the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, or JFCC IMD, in a building where windows are a luxury.
JFCC IMD, founded in January 2005, plays a vital role in synchronizing U.S. missile defense around the world. When a ballistic missile is fired, even from another continent, the United States has a plan in place to deal with that threat, and it is executed in a matter of minutes. Whether one is stateside, in Europe, or Asia there are plans to defend the U.S. and its allies against a missile attack.
Ballistic missiles pose perhaps the greatest missile defense threat to national security. According to the Missile Defense Agency website, there has been an increase of more than 1,200 additional ballistic missiles worldwide over the past five years, with hundreds of launchers and missiles currently within range of U.S. deployed forces today.
MDA research suggests that countries invest in ballistic missiles because they project power in regional and strategic contexts and provide a capability to launch an attack from a distance. These short- and long-range ballistic missiles are fired into the Earth's atmosphere to reenter before detonating upon impact with their target.
Iran and North Korea are a few examples of countries that have ballistic missile capabilities as this missile technology continues to spread around the world.
Since its founding in 2005, JFCC IMD has seen its role grow as the needs of its advocates grow. Advocacy is a large part of JFCC IMD's role. The command advocates for missile defense capabilities on behalf of combatant commanders so they have the ballistic missile defense capabilities and resources necessary to effectively execute their missions.
"As fielding of BMD capability has expanded across the globe, JFCC IMD has worked with combatant commands, the services and MDA to support their planning efforts and reduce the burden for processes where centralized management provides efficiencies," JFCC IMD J7 deputy director Mike Viland said. "We have taken on additional operational support, training and communication-related roles. We also have expanded our assessment efforts to anticipate and advocate for Warfighter needs."
JFCC IMD, in support of U.S. Strategic Command, serves as the middleman between MDA and the various global combatant commanders. The mission of USSTRATCOM is to conduct global operations in conjunction with other combatant commands, services, and appropriate U.S. government agencies to deter and detect strategic attacks against the U.S. and its allies. With USSTRATCOM's mission in mind, JFCC IMD sees to it that BMD plans are in place across the globe.
"JFCC IMD conducts the majority of the Unified Command Plan tasks assigned to USSTRATCOM for global ballistic missile defense," said JFCC IMD deputy commander Capt. C.H. Halton. "We synchronize operational planning with, and provide operational support to, the geographic combatant commands. We represent Warfighter operational needs to MDA and work with them on operational tests of new BMD capabilities."
With JFCC IMD's mission that covers the entire world it is imperative to have a high-caliber team at work.
"U.S. Strategic Command has assembled a dedicated and talented team of professionals in Colorado Springs that execute the global BMD mission," Halton said. "The success of this mission helps ensure the defense of our homeland, defense of our forward deployed military units, and the defense of our allies."