PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. - With more than a fourth of its employees working as contractors and civilians, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command relies heavily on its workforce not in uniform. If noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the Army, then the SMDC employees who show up to work in business casual attire are its meat and potatoes.
One such employee is Tim Tubergen, a senior space exercise planner with USASMDC’s G-37 Exercise Branch. Tubergen, a 20-year veteran in the command both as a contractor and an FA40 (Army space operations officer), has served as the lead civilian for planning tier one exercises the command supports for the last three years. For instance, if 1st Space Brigade’s G2 staff is looking to integrate itself into an exercise, it’s Tubergen’s team’s job to assist them in doing so.
The following is some insight on his team’s role in the command and an understanding of how he landed his position in USASMDC:
Q: What are some of your primary duties for your position?
A: Creating events that support or assist the joint forces community with space dilemmas such as loss of communications or support to offensive operations with space support. My team also works with the SMDC staff to achieve their training objectives by developing scenarios that engage them on successful completion of their training objectives. In addition, we also attend different joint events like concept development conferences, and planning conferences.
Q: How did you end up in your current position?
A: I was assigned as the SMDC battle lab signal officer in 2002 and became an FA40 in 2003 and did that for 15 years. I deployed with ARSST (Army Space Support Team) 14 to Tikrit, Iraq, in 2003, and an SSE (Space Support Element) to Tikrit and Baghdad from 2005 to 2006, which made me the first FA40 to deploy on both types of teams. After I came back from those deployments, the schoolhouse (Space and Missile Defense Center School of Excellence) asked if I wanted to teach. I never had a standard teaching position there, but was asked to advise on certain matters, and support activities, due to my expertise on my deployments. While at the schoolhouse, I started the development of the Tactical Operations Course, which is still one of the premier space courses for our space Soldiers, especially those going to an ARSST or an SSE. Another deployment to Afghanistan came about in 2011 to 2102 as the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command operations chief, where I was responsible for space, cyber, military deception, and special technical operations. This all led to where I am today.
Q: What do you like about working for SMDC?
A: The atmosphere and to work with people who want to see the mission move forward. We have a great team here as far as getting the mission done.
Q: What is it about space that intrigues you?
A: It intrigues me to be working in the space sector. It’s a new developing area, and it’s exciting to see how Army Space fits in at the joint level and on the civilian side.
Q: How would you like to see SMDC develop and expand from here on out?
A: More involvement with U.S. Space Command as they develop and mature, and being the Army voice within that organization. I personally want to help SMDC evolve its relationship with Space Command as they continue to grow. This would also include SMDC and Army Service Component Command roles with U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Northern Command.