HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's senior civilian leader discussed how the command builds its workforce to be the Army's premier force provider and executor of global missile defense and space operations during the Association of the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium and Exposition March 27.

During the symposium, USASMDC/ARSTRAT leaders and team members demonstrated how the command enhances operations, supports the warfighter, explores new technologies and anticipates the future of integrated air and missile defense and global space operations.

James Johnson, deputy to the commander, USASMDC/ARSTRAT, gave the presentation titled "Maximizing Workforce Talent for the Future" at the Army's booth.

"I want to talk about how we acquire our most important asset, that is of course our people," said James Johnson, deputy to the SMDC commander. "Once we acquire them, we spend a lot of time developing them into the kind of employees we need to provide our vital national security missions.

"We have several tools and practices to attract, recruit and hire diverse and highly talented employees as we maintain focus on our mission," he added. "Our strategic human capital plan and its four main goals are: workforce planning, leadership development, professional development and employee engagement. We must sustain our succession planning to ensure we acquire the right people at the right time with the right skills."

Johnson, along with members of SMDC's civilian workforce explained to audience members how young engineers and those in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields are recruited using Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation, or SMART, Pathways and other scholarship programs.

Christian Reyes, an SMDC Technical Center computer scientist who came to the command in 2013 through the SMART scholarship program, said the exposure new hires receive is one of the greatest benefits of the program.

"New government hires in our labs can go out and support live-fire testing as well as performing pre-mission planning, operations and data analysis and processing," Reyes said. "By being out on the test ranges, new hires are exposed to test environments and high tempos and are ultimately able to respond to quickly changing circumstances. These are good skills to be exposed to as a new hire."

Other SMDC team members participated in the symposium at the Army's booth demonstrating how the command enhances operations, supports the warfighter, explores new technologies and anticipates the future of integrated air and missile defense and global space operations. Displays and demonstrations were provided on the command's Joint Friendly Forces Tracking; Army Assured Rapid Detection Validation Asymmetrical Resilient Kinetic; Missile Defense Prototyping; Enhanced Target Acquisition Kit, or ETAK; Air and Missile Defense Explorer; Domestic Operations Awareness and Assessment Response Tool, or DAART; and others.

"People have been really interested in the ETAK system," said Justin Novak, computer engineer with the SMDC Future Warfare Center's Training and Doctrine Command Capability Manager-Global Ballistic Missile Defense Prototyping and Experimentation. "They have also been very interested in the DAART system for its humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. DAART has been in the news quite a bit. It has supported various presidential events and the Super Bowl, as well as things like hurricanes, forest fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides and even volcanic events in Hawaii."

"We are showcasing our portfolio of products that we have put together for prototyping and experimentation support," he added. "This is a great opportunity to give our products some awareness. A lot of the people who have come through have no idea SMDC is working on technology such as these. This allows us to get our name and our technology out there and build those connections with industry and government partners so we can make better products for the Warfighter."