REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command welcomes a new leader who will command facilities located more than 7,000 miles away in the Pacific Ocean from the comfort of the Rocket City.
Col. Eugene M. Poindexter, director, Ronald Reagan Test Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, arrived at the RTS Operations Center-Huntsville, or ROC-H, in May and has since been leading his team, which plays a vital role in the research, development, test and evaluation in support of America’s defense and space programs.
“It feels awesome to work in this capacity around such highly talented people all working toward one focus in mind, the warfighter,” Poindexter said. “I have a very important mission to lead and manage RTS, a major range and test facility base consisting of more than 350 military, civilian and contractor personnel.”
ROC-H is a command and control facility of USASMDC and performs space and missile defense tracking and helps ensure the development of missile defense assets and systems. It also helps verify operational assets, whether offensive or defensive, are working correctly for the defense the nation.
RTS is located 2,300 miles southwest of Hawaii in the U.S. Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Its unique instrumentation sensors include high-fidelity metric and signature radars, as well as optical sensors and telemetry.
“We provide a fully integrated radar, telemetry and optics instrumentation suite from Kwajalein Atoll in support of the Department of Defense’s full portfolio of offensive and defensive ballistic missile testing,” Poindexter said.
ROC-H also supports U.S. Space Command missions such as space situational awareness, which includes metric observations of space objects to keep track of exactly where those objects are. The facility also tracks new foreign launches and launches of interest to ensure what orbit they are going into and what payloads they have.
Poindexter said the technical experience of RTS’ civilians, military and contractors was his biggest surprise.
“Our employees and partners have the highest degree of technical skills and experience than any other organization I’ve worked in the Army,” Poindexter said. “Additionally surprising is the unique aspect of our test range located in the Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands with our world-class radar and instrumentation systems. We also conduct 24/7 operations and observatory in space, which, in of itself, is simply amazing.”
Poindexter thanked everyone for welcoming him and his family and spoke a little about what he wants people to know about him as a Soldier.
“I am a mission-oriented Soldier with the philosophy of a ‘People First, Mission Always’ mentality,” Poindexter said. “We must always understand that our greatest asset as an Army and nation are our people. Treat people with dignity and respect at all times while understanding and ensuring our mission is our top priority. Everything always comes back to people and all else will fall in place, perfectly.”
With all the challenges of the new job, Poindexter said he is enjoying getting to know the team members at SMDC who have welcomed him in and assisted with accomplishing the mission.
“I’m extremely excited about this unique and fascinating opportunity to be a part of very important organization and mission that contributes heavily to the implementation of the National Defense Strategy,” he said. “The RTS mission is at the tip of spear for the Army and (Department of Defense) joint technology and evaluation, and I’m looking forward to the great things we will achieve.”
Poindexter also talked about what he hopes to accomplish during his time at RTS.
“I hope to be a part of the implementation of our technology advancements to our world-class test range as it pertains to cybersecurity and improvements and modernization, ensuring we provide the highest quality support to our joint partners and customers with a lasting impact on future weapon system development,” he said. “It is a privilege for me to serve with the civilians, Soldiers and contractors of the SMDC Technical Center and the RTS team. They all bring diverse sets of talent and skills to this organization, and I look forward in being a part of the continued success in the future.”