LONG BEACH, Calif. – The U.S. Army’s air and missile defense integrator said the Department of Defense has moved away from the concept of “global missile defense,” and is now implementing the concept of trans-regional missile defense.
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, was a keynote speaker during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Greater Los Angeles Chapter’s 2023 Symposium on June 1. This year’s theme was “Space: Enabling Multi-Domain Operations.”
Following publication of the 2019 Missile Defense Review, the 2021 Unified Command Plan, and the establishment of U.S. Space Command, Karbler has led efforts to properly assign missile defense responsibilities.
Working with the commanders of U.S. Strategic Command (Adm. Charles Richard), U.S. Space Command (Gen. James Dickinson), U.S. Northern Command (Gen. Glen VanHerck), and the Army Chief of Staff (Gen. James McConville), Karbler forged what became known as the “16-Star Memo.” This memo ultimately led to publication of the April 25, 2023, Unified Command Plan, assigning USSPACECOM responsibility for “trans-regional missile defense.”
As stated in the UCP, the commander USPACECOM, conducts trans-regional missile defense planning and operations support in coordination with other combatant commands, the services, and as directed, appropriate U.S. government agencies, allies and partners; supports assessment of missile defense operational capabilities; and ensures continuity of operations, as required.
Karbler emphasized that the new UCP acknowledges the missile defense mission is trans-regional versus global in nature and that U.S. allies and partners are contributors.
Another notable result of the UCP is moving the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, the Army unit responsible for protecting the United States against ballistic missile attack, from the operational control of USSTRATCOM to USNORTHCOM, which has the mission of defending the homeland.
Introducing the concept of “missile defeat,” which has been under development by USASMDC, Karbler said it is the next logical step, evolving from missile defense to missile defeat.
Missile defeat encompasses whole-of-government activities to counter the development, acquisition, proliferation, potential and actual use of adversary missiles of all types, and to limit the damage from such use. It has two parts:
Trans-regional missile defense - providing attack operations; active defense; passive defense; and battle management/command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support to the regional combatant commands.
Left of launch - providing deny, delay, disrupt and degrade missile defeat effects in coordination with global combatant commands, the intelligence community, joint staff, interagency, and Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Karbler said all missile defense intercepts are regional. There are no global interceptors; they belong to regional combatant commanders. Left of launch on the other hand, requires a whole-government approach.
Karbler proposes making USSPACECOM the missile defeat effects coordinator for the Department of Defense. The Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense will become USSPACECOM’s missile defeat effects coordinator to integrate space, cyber, special operations forces, and strike effects (with interagency coordination). JFCC IMD would allow USSPACECOM to provide:
• Presentation of cohesive, mutually supportive solutions to Supported combatant commanders
• Integrated effects applied across multiple domains to gain/maintain advantage
• Leverage left-of-launch to mitigate need for difficult, costly hit-to-kill defense
• Explore novel active, passive and attack ops across all warfighting domains
• Visibility/coordination on Non-DoD Missile Defeat activities
Karbler said JFCC IMD will have its first opportunity to exercise this concept in support of USSPACECOM’s first tier one exercise, Space Sentry 23, next week.
“We’re going to exercise the heck out of this integrated missile defeat effects coordinator and missile defeat concept with the USSPACECOM staff,” Karbler said.