SMDC History: Happy 'MTOE' Birthday to Space Companies

By Sharon Watkins Lang, USASMDC/ARSTRAT Command HistorianMay 8, 2018

SMDC History: Happy 'MTOE' Birthday to Space Companies
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The process to "normalize" Army Space began in the 1990s with the creation of the Army's first space battalions -- what is now the 53rd Signal Battalion and the 1st Space Battalion.

The 1st Space Battalion was designed to provide an institutional structure for the Army Space Command's nine Army Space Support Teams, or ARSSTs, the Commercial Exploitation Section and three detachments of the Joint Tactical Ground Stations, or JTAGS.

The next phase in the history of the 1st Space Battalion came four years later in 2003. On July 28, 2003, the Army Space Command issued two Permanent Orders, 209-01 and 209-02, activating the 1st Space Company (Support) and the 2nd Space Company (theater missile warning, or TMW) respectively with an effective date of Oct. 16.

With an authorized strength of 15 officers and 30 enlisted Soldiers, the Army Space Support Company "[executed] operational oversight of ARSST teams and provides reachback for deployed elements. [Deployed] teams to support combatant commanders and warfighters."

The five Active Component and four Reserve Component ARSST teams regularly deployed to support combatant commanders and warfighters across the globe.

The 2nd Space Company meanwhile had an authorized strength of five officers, seven warrant officers and 89 enlisted personnel. According to the permanent order, the Theater Missile Warning Company's mission was to "[provide] command and control headquarters to plan and coordinate operational and training deployments."

The three detachments and six Joint Tactical Ground Stations/Multiple Mission Mobile Processor Sections were located in Qatar, Korea, Germany and two each in Fort Bliss, Texas, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then, as now, the forward deployed detachments provided 24-hour missile warning and other space-based infrared support to Central, European and Pacific Commands.

The two companies continued to operate as defined until May 9, 2004. On that date, both units were formally inactivated as defined in U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, or USASMDC, Permanent Orders 119-03 and 119-01. At which point they ceased to exist as table of distribution and allowance units.

On the next day, May 10, 2004, both units attained their current status when they were once again activated; this time as Modified Table of Organization and Equipment, or MTOE) companies.

USASMDC Permanent Orders 119-02, activated the 1st Space Company (TMW) with additional instructions identifying the company headquarters on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado and three detachments deployed at Stuttgart, Germany; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Osan Air Base, Korea.

USASMDC Permanent Orders 119-04 meanwhile activated the 2nd Space Company (Support).

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