Fort Drum unit plays key role in protecting America from ICBMs

By Cpt. Travis ShawAugust 10, 2020

Defending the United States against long-range Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) threat is paramount to maintaining our strategic advantage against our adversaries, and provides strategic level defense which enables the readiness capability of the Light Fighters in the 10th Mountain Division. This task is entrusted to the 100th Missile Defense Brigade of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, and the team at Fort Drum who maintain and protect the In-flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminal (IDT).

The unassuming building and its location on Fort Drum, N.Y. mimics the mantra of the 10th Mountain Division’s base as “The Army’s best-kept secret.” The IDT is a component of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense mission to deter and defend against long-range ballistic missiles threatening the U.S. homeland from rogue state adversaries.

“Being the commander of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade Detachment at Fort Drum is an enriching experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with such distinguished and professional team members,” said Capt. Michael Robison. “Serving for this unit provides vast perspective regarding our Company’s direct impact in strategic defense as well as insight on our nation’s layered defenses.

To highlight just a small portion of the systems defenses, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system uses Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) emplaced in silos in Alaska and California to intercept adversary warheads during their mid-course phase of flight. The support to the Homeland Defense mission provided by the IDT, along with the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, contribute to a layered Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) that, through proven reliability and effectiveness, supports our national defense and protects American freedom and prosperity.

If a foreign adversary shoots an ICBM towards America, an array of space-, land-, and sea-based sensors will detect it. Soldiers with the 100th Missile Defense Brigade may be ordered to fire a GBI to intercept the enemy warhead and the IDT will provide communications links between the GBI and the GMD fire control system.

The United States’ transparency about missile defense goals and capabilities while supporting the homeland will continue to provide an effective and credible countermeasure to these threats well into the future.

“The In-flight Interceptor Communication System Data Terminal’s capabilities are impressive,” said Robison. “The system’s ability to almost instantaneously provide ballistic data to other facilities for action, I believe, is unmatched against any foreign threat. As non-nation state actors and rogue states evolve and develop more dangerous capabilities, the United States will continue to negate their advantages and defend our nation.”

National Missile Defense Joint Program Office Executive Summary