COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado -- Members of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command welcomed the leader of U.S. Strategic Command to Colorado Springs for an up-close look at U.S. Army space and missile defense capabilities, equipment and facilities.

U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, USSTRATCOM commander, visited Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base and other local facilities for an overview and to meet the U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers and civilians who support the USSTRATCOM mission.

"Missile defense, space--all the capabilities of SMDC/ARSTRAT are critically involved in the missions we have," said Hyten. "The missions are focused on the threats we face and we've got threats around the world."

One of nine Department of Defense unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence, space operations, cyberspace operations, joint electronic warfare, global strike, missile defense and intelligence.

Hyten made his first visit to the Missile Defense Integrations and Operations Center, or MDIOC, as USSTRATCOM commander Nov. 13, where he was greeted by Brig. Gen. Tim Lawson, deputy commanding general for SMDC operations, and Col. Kevin Kick, commander of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade.

He was then briefed on the capabilities and mission of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, which is a multi-component brigade consisting of active-component U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers in Colorado, California and Alaska, tasked with the mission of defending the homeland from intercontinental ballistic missile attacks.

Inside the Missile Defense Element, the 100th Soldiers demonstrated to Hyten how they would respond to an intercontinental ballistic missile attack.

While at the MDIOC, Hyten also toured the Space and Missile Defense Schoolhouse and held a discussion with members of the Missile Defense Training Division on the cirriculum and future of the program.

"Gen. Hyten is clearly a strategic-level thinker who approaches problems from a different angle of attack," said James Traverse, SMDC Ground-based Midcourse Defense Fire Control Qualification course manager.

"[Hyten] grasped subjects quickly and asked pointed questions of the briefers," added Traverse. "He also said the Army has approached space the right way, by focusing on the Warfighter's needs."

SMDC conducts space and missile defense operations and provides planning, integration, control and coordination of Army forces and capabilities in support of USSTRATCOM missions, and serves as the Army force modernization proponent for space, high altitude and global missile defense; the Army operational integrator for global missile defense; and conducts mission-related research and development in support of Army Title 10 responsibilities.

On Nov. 14, Hyten toured an SMDC building near Peterson Air Force Base that serves as a research and development facility and training schoolhouse. There, he was given a demonstration of the Joint Tactical Ground Station terminal inside the Dr. Peter G. Pappas Training Facility.

"We were able to show him the JTAGS Block II equipment, which is currently being fielded to JTAGS-Japan at Misawa Air Force Base." said Col. Richard Zellman, 1st Space Brigade commander. "General Hyten's visit allowed us to show the combatant commander the equipment that will go into operation this fiscal year and bring better capability to the joint community."

Hyten's visit concluded at the SMDC headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base where he received a tour and overview of the signal intelligence support and operations center there.

His message to the personnel of SMDC was to stay vigilant and ready to respond to any threat at a moment's notice.

"The most important thing we do as Soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines, is defend the homeland," said Hyten. "Even though nobody is shooting today, it could happen at any minute, so you've got to be ready all the time."