REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s senior leader participated in a livestream event Sept. 29 where Army Fires forces from around the world listened to current, as well as future, plans.
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general, USASMDC, virtually joined Army leaders for the 2020 Virtual Fires Conference entitled “Fires: Achieving Overmatch in Large Scale Combat Operations” hosted at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Karbler explained how SMDC provides trained and ready forces and Army space capabilities to the joint force. He said the command has a unique perspective on the convergence of space and missile defense in multi-domain operations, and the distinct view of Army air and missile defense, or AMD, forces and capabilities that operate across the globe.
Karbler said the Army is the Department of Defense’s largest user of space capabilities and one cannot talk about AMD assets and capabilities without mentioning the importance of space.
“Winning first in space really matters,” Karbler said. “We can’t take space for granted. Our adversaries are contesting us in space. Army space starts and ends on the ground, and on the ground is where wars are won and lost.”
Karbler said Army systems are presently interoperable but not integrated. They can speak to each other, but cannot finish each other’s sentence, yet. He said the Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense, or AIAMD, program will resolve this.
“One of the buzzwords that we’ve heard a lot during the past year is integration,” Karbler said. “Nowhere is integration more important than within the Fires community,” he added. “I have never seen stronger integration than I see today.”
Karbler said the AIAMD program will integrate current and future AMD sensors and weapons into a common integrated fire-control capability with a distributed “plug and fight” network architecture. Karbler then explained how the IAMD Battle Command System, or IBCS, is the materiel solution to support AIAMD.
“IBCS gives us a much more dynamic re-taskable capability that extends battlespace out. It gives us engagements earlier out and allows us to do our asset protection better,” Karbler said. “What was once a kill chain will become a joint kill web.”
Karbler said today’s complex challenges bring capacity and capability challenges to joint integration that Army forces will not tackle alone. He said the Army’s way ahead is to continue developing capabilities that complement each other to build tiered and layered defenses, while the joint force must meet the challenges presented by proliferating air and missile threats across the globe and embrace a broad spectrum of cost-informed options that enable greater IAMD adaptability and create flexibility.
“Right now I would say we are out of balance. We have to be able to bring up our tactical operations capabilities, make sure we recognize our passive defense early warning capabilities, and then add in the contributions of our allies and joint partners to the mission so we can get some relief off of the Patriot force that is deployed out there,” Karbler said. “I like to say we can’t Patriot our way out of this, and integrated air and missile defense is a team sport contributed to by our joint and allied partners.”
“People First” is a phrase Karbler uses to emphasize the importance of his team. He said it means putting people before oneself and taking care of their needs, and it is learning their training needs, who they are as individuals, their aspirations and career goals, and then helping them achieve those goals.
“What I would encourage each of you to do is when you hear ‘People First,’ you have to ask yourself what does that mean to you,” Karbler said. “We are in the people business. It is critically important to make sure we retain our best talent and make sure our Soldiers understand we care about them; we care about their training; we care about their families; and we care about their career development.”
Also speaking at the event were the Army chief of staff, sergeant major of the Army, and leaders from the U.S. Space Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fires Center of Excellence, and others.
Maj. Gen. Ken Kamper, commanding general of the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill, said this is an exciting time to be in the artillery, the field artillery and the air defense artillery.
“We’ve got just a tremendous amount of change going on in both branches as our Army focuses on figuring out how we fight in large-scale ground combat ops against a potential near-peer adversary,” Kamper said. “Although we’re in branches with highly technical systems that require tremendous competencies and technical skills, we’re a group of people, and there is a human dimension that is ever so important. We must not forget that it’s our people who put doctrine into action.”