REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – As the Army plans strategic deterrence and establishes formations within the Multi-Domain Task Force, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s space capabilities will play a key role.
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general, USASMDC, said during the Association of the United States Army’s Noon Report, May 4, that his command is well-postured to contribute to the efforts and explained how Army space contributes to a multi-domain operations force and that Army space capabilities are critical to successful ground combat operations today, and their importance will only grow as the MDO concept transforms.
“Making sure that as we talk about convergence and we talk about joint all-domain command and control, we have to have the pipes and the networks to be able to support it,” Karbler added. “We have to be able to deliver the right information at the right time to the right people.”
Karbler emphasized that the people at USASMDC are the command’s greatest asset with more than 2,800 trained and ready Soldiers and civilians supporting the Army, the joint force, and allies and partners across 11 time zones and 23 locations around the world. He said USASMDC is committed to recruiting, training and developing Army space and missile defense professionals.
“For the past year-plus of this pandemic, we should all be very proud of what SMDC and what (the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense) have been able to accomplish,” said Karbler, who also commands JFCC IMD. “We have a no-fail 24/7 mission. Whether that is for providing missile warning or for providing satellite communications, the almost 3,000 Soldiers, civilians and contractors that make up SMDC and JFCC IMD have been on it.”
Karbler said USASMDC trains and provides operational space and missile defense warfighters for combatant commanders; develops and tests future warfighting concepts; and performs science and technology development to keep the Army at the cutting edge of capability areas.
“We are technologically savvy,” Karbler said. “When you look at what the Soldiers of the 1st Space Brigade do and the Soldiers of the Satellite Operations Brigade do and what our missile defense Soldiers do, it really makes me proud of where the Army is at with respect to technology. It is just amazing.”
Karbler said Army space capabilities are critical to successful ground combat operations and that their importance will only grow as the MDO concept transforms. He said space integration with land force operations continues to rise in importance as reliance on satellite communications, GPS, electronic warfare, missile warning and surveillance capabilities grows.
“We are on a campaign of learning,” Karbler said. “We are really emphasizing within our education opportunities space training and ensuring folks understand what space does for the maneuver commander. It’s not just on-orbit things, but there are tactical applications of space capabilities that we have.
“In training, we are making sure that our space capabilities are understood, as well as replicating our adversaries space capabilities,” he added.
Joining Karbler on the program was Col. Andrew R. “Drew” Morgan, U.S. Army NASA Astronaut Detachment commander.
Morgan said Army astronauts and the Army astronaut detachment comprise only a tiny fraction of the Army’s space assets. He said Army astronauts’ participation in NASA’s human spaceflight program help to inform Army space requirements and doctrine and are key to maintaining relationships with space industry partners.
“It is a very exciting time,” Morgan said. “The Army has had a very enduring legacy on our human space flight program. Everyone who is selected by NASA is highly and technically capable but the leadership qualities that Army astronauts bring in addition to those technical skills are known far and wide in our program.”
Morgan said the U.S. Army NASA Astronaut Detachment is a subordinate element to USASMDC and although assigned to the command, Army astronauts are task-detailed to NASA for the duration of their assignment as astronauts.
Morgan said he is grateful for the opportunity to represent the Army to the nation and will always remain a Soldier first.
“It is a real pleasure to represent the diversity of missions that we have in SMDC,” Morgan said. “The Army NASA Detachment is just a very small capability within the operational arm of SMDC, but we’re highly visible. We are very small but mighty in effect. Our mission at the Army NASA Detachment is to represent Soldiers in space on the ultimate high ground.
“I have had an atypical career that has brought me to this point,” Morgan added. “I say I am a Soldier, physician and astronaut, but I am a Soldier first and a Soldier always. When NASA selected me in 2013, they were selecting an Army officer that was a product of Army education, Army experiences and Army skills. I think NASA is pleased with the product the Army has donated to them.”