ATHENS, Ala. – During a visit with a group of Limestone County veterans, April 11, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s senior leader described the command’s capabilities and how they are supporting efforts in Ukraine.
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, was the first guest speaker in American Veterans Post 21’s new speaker series that provides local veterans an opportunity to learn what’s going on in the military.
“Thank you AMVETS for inviting me, and thank you everyone for your service,” Karbler said. “I’ll start with what I’m sure most of you are thinking: what are we doing to support Ukraine? Well, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command is supporting efforts in Ukraine right now.”
Karbler explained that he serves as the Army’s Air and Missile Defense Enterprise Integrator and as such, it is his responsibility to ensure Soldiers, equipment and missiles are available for deployment and arrive safe and sound.
“I’m the one who’s taking a look at all of those missile defense forces around the globe,” Karbler said. “When we deploy a Patriot unit somewhere in the world, we have to make sure we can still stay ready in the other parts of the world. That’s part of my job.”
USASMDC comprises the Technical Center and the Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, as well as three major subordinate military elements: the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (Ground-based Midcourse Defense), the 1st Space Brigade and the U.S. Army Satellite Operations Brigade.
“Our space experts are doing everything from looking at what the bad guy’s satellites are doing to what our satellites are capable of doing, in terms of providing communications, GPS, as well as precision-guided weapons,” Karbler said. “We ensure Soldiers can shoot, move and communicate.”
Leading the command in space operations is the 1st Space Brigade, which consists of the 1st Space Battalion and 2nd Space Battalion, as well as the 117th Space Battalion under a direct support relationship. These Soldiers conduct continuous space force enhancement and space control operations in support of combatant commanders, enabling and shaping decisive operations.
“We have the Army space experts over there who are helping enable those space capabilities for the maneuver commanders on the ground,” Karbler said. “So, whether you’re in a platoon, company, battalion, brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps over there, we are providing space support for them. And doing an excellent job.”
Karbler said another capability USASMDC brings to the efforts to support Ukraine is through its U.S. Army Satellite Operations Brigade. The brigade executes continuous tactical, operational and strategic satellite communications payload management across the full spectrum of operations in support of combatant commands, services, U.S. government agencies and international partners. Established in 2019, the brigade consists of the 53rd Signal Battalion and the SATCOM Directorate.
“(USASMDC does) all of the satellite operations for the military,” Karbler said. “You can imagine up on satellites, we get a lot of interference. My satellite operations team around the world will take those signals from one satellite and move them to another satellite in real time.”
Karbler stressed how important it is for Soldiers and commanders on the ground to have reliable communications and GPS while in theater.
“If they need some communications and all of a sudden, it’s starting to get jammed, they need that information … they need to be able to have that discussion, and so our satellite operations are doing that bandwidth management,” Karbler said.
Helen Thompson, American Veterans Post 21 commander, said she was thrilled to have Karbler visit the post and speak with the veterans and stressed how important it is to keep veterans engaged.
“This is the inaugural event for our speaker’s series that we are trying to bring more speakers in to meet with the veterans, to give them an opportunity to learn what’s going on still in the military, but also to give them a voice,” Thompson said. “Giving them the opportunity to meet and greet with service members (and) fellowship: those things are important to our veterans as they leave the service and go into any walk of life.”