REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – The leader of the largest Army Service Component Command learned what it means to secure the high ground.
Gen. Charles A. Flynn, commander of U.S. Army Pacific visited the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command headquarters on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, July 22 to learn how USASMDC is the Army’s force modernization proponent and operational integrator for global space, missile defense and high altitude capabilities while also providing trained and ready space and missile defense forces and capabilities to the warfighter and nation.
“The role that SMDC plays in our efforts out there is central,” Flynn said. “We are not going to be able to do the things that we need to do as a current force or as a multi-domain force without the great work that Army space and Space and Missile Defense Command play.
“The ability for us to take the vast arrangement of layered sensors that Space and Missile Defense Command have and are producing, provides the ability to protect and defend, but also to be able to pass data quickly to conduct offensive operations is game changing,” he added. “It wasn’t that long ago that all we were really talking about was the ability to intercept and defend. And now we are on the cusp in many, many ways of being able to protect, to defend and then conduct offensive operations as a means to do tactical operations or strategic counterstrike.”
Flynn spoke with the SMDC team before answering questions posed by those present.
“Land-based, layered sensors, that are largely what SMDC provides, are absolutely the key to our layered defense,” Flynn said. “To me that is an exciting part of where we are today. We are accountable for the future. What happens in the future is because of what we do or what we fail to do today. We have to hold ourselves accountable for the future. I would like to think in some small way we are making our contribution together as a team.”
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, SMDC commanding general and JFCC IMD commander, said Flynn’s visit was a great opportunity to share perspectives and priorities between the two commands.
“As we work together, our goals are to ensure we maintain peace and deny the enemy the opportunity to achieve their objectives,” Karbler said. “Our space and missile defense assets are absolutely vital in USARPAC’s success in deterring the enemy.”
Karbler emphasized to Flynn that SMDC cannot carry out its wide-ranging, no-fail, national security missions without the dedication of its greatest asset, the people.
“Our ability, both at SMDC and JFCC IMD, to integrate space and missile defense systems begins with the Soldiers and civilians who continue to work together for the future,” Karbler said. “Moving forward, we must always remain vigilant in our defense of the nation and both our USARPAC and SMDC team members are keenly aware of our missions.”
SMDC’s senior civilian said having the USARPAC commander visit is a huge deal and highlights his interest in the exquisite capabilities SMDC provides in support of his warfighting needs and develops to meet combatant commander requirements across all areas of responsibility.
“USARPAC must have a keen understanding of what the command’s space, high altitude, and strategic missile defense forces provide, not only now, but also as the Army transforms to multi-domain operations and executes multiple modernization initiatives that are driven directly by theater warfighting requirements,” said Richard P. De Fatta, deputy to the SMDC commander. “Our direct interaction not only informs USARPAC of our current contributions and developing capabilities, but also allows us the opportunity to garner increased understanding of theater specific priorities and operational needs. It is a two-way street.”
De Fatta added that Flynn is extremely busy and heavily engaged, and it means a great deal to SMDC that he could find the time for an in-person visit and cares enough to spend time with the team.
“Gen. Flynn commands Army forces in the largest and most complex area of responsibility, and our space and missile defense forces and capabilities are critical to the successful execution of his mission,” De Fatta said. “Our primary message is that we are keenly aware of his challenges and actively engaged in providing the right solutions and forces to help enable USARPAC’s transition into multi-domain operations.
“Gen. Flynn is a keen supporter of the need for Army space, high altitude, and missile defense equities,” he added. “He provides an insightful perspective on his most critical, threat-based requirements and greatly helps SMDC develop and advocate operational, and capability and technology development priorities.”