By Maj. Troy FreyApril 22, 2017
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii - The Sea Dragons of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command hosted Brig. Gen. Randall McIntire, commandant and Command Sgt. Maj. Finis Dodson, command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School, April 4, 2017 at their headquarters on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
McIntire and Dodson conducted a visit to ADA units in the Pacific region during the month of April to discuss the current state and future of the ADA Corps with air defenders on the first line of defense and personally thank the Soldiers for their tireless dedication to the ADA mission. During their visit to the 94th AAMDC, they attended the Ballistic Missile Defense Asset Management Conference, received a command brief and provided a presentation on the state of the ADA branch to the Sea Dragon leaders.
According to the chief of the ADA branch, air defense has the potential to grow in both capacity and capability. However, the branch is currently struggling to meet some of the required personnel strengths, particularly in some of the enlisted and warrant officer military occupational specialties. These challenges are attributed to the constant need for air defense.
"We are looking at the reasons for low retention rates," shared McIntire. "The high operational tempo coupled with the fact that we have lost some of the deployment incentives (combat patch and combat pay) along with our persistent Middle East presence since Desert Shield/Storm has taken a toll on our volunteer force.
"Currently, we have over 57% of our force either forward stationed or deployed, which means we have more out than we have at home."
The U.S. Army has ADA Soldiers forward stationed or deployed in 11 different nations, in addition to Task Force Talon, which is located in the U.S. Territory of Guam.
Even with these statistics, McIntire believes the outlook for ADA is good.
"The future of the [ADA] branch is very bright. We are the key to ensuring our friendly forces have the freedom to maneuver," said McIntire.
One of the reasons for his optimism is the military's focus on the operational concept of multi-domain battle. He discussed how the nature and character of warfare is changing and how we are entering the second era of missile warfare. He believes ADA will play a critical role in MDB along with other enablers such as cyber, engineers and aviation assets.
"This is where we see the synergy of fires coming together. The ADA will provide defensive fires and FA [field artillery] will provide offensive fires along with other critical enablers," shared McIntire. "Similar to a well-trained boxer, we will soon be able to block and strike from the same formation with great speed and agility versus coordinating similar stove-piped capabilities in a less efficient manner.
"On the 21st Century battlefield, we have to be able to fight and dominate in all domains ... The multi-domain task force concept is being worked out to provide protection as well as assist with force projection and open contested domains that our adversaries are denying ... The primary domains are air, land, sea, space and cyber.
"The MDTF is tasked to keep the domains open for friendly forces and deny our adversaries the freedom to operate in those areas."
The hard work and dedication of the 94th AAMDC Soldiers was not lost on McIntire.
"The 94th plays a vital role in our ability to provide air and missile defense capability to the PACOM Theater," stated McIntire when asked about the importance of the ADA mission in the Pacific. "The 94th AAMDC is key to synchronizing integrated air and missile defense with our joint and combined partners operating in the Pacific."
The ADA school commandant and command sergeant major were pleased with their visit to the 94th AAMDC headquarters and were looking forward to meeting with more 94th Soldiers during the upcoming days of their Pacific tour.
"CSM Dodson and I are truly proud of the Sea Dragons. Their daily standard, dedication and professionalism to the mission is unparalleled," expressed McIntire. "The 94th has a great reputation across our Army and represents the best of what the air defense artillery branch has to offer our joint and combined partners."