By Jason Cutshaw (SMDC/ARSTRAT)January 15, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- An Army leader received a detailed and succinct depiction of how the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command supports America's Warfighters during a brief visit to Redstone Arsenal Jan. 11.
Maj. Gen. (Promotable) James L. Huggins Jr., incoming Army deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, spent the day at Redstone Arsenal and visited USASMDC/ARSTRAT. During his visit, Huggins received a command overview and got a first-hand look at the command's major capabilities for today, tomorrow and the future.
"This is really an orientation for me," Huggins said. "I came to SMDC because this is one of the major commands and the Army's component to do the space integration support, and as I got ready to transition into becoming the G-3, I wanted to visit."
After arriving at SMDC's headquarters building on Redstone Arsenal, Huggins had a meeting with the command's leaders and learned how the command provides trained and ready space and missile defense forces.
SMDC's senior civilian talked about the importance of the visit and what it means to the command.
"I think one of the challenges as a command is making sure people understand the relevance of this command and what we do," said Ronald E. Chronister, SMDC's deputy to the commander. "We are sort of an unknown organization as we relate to other commands. So to have the future G-3 of the Army here, or any other senior leader, is very vital for them to get an understanding of our relevance.
"It has been my experience that every one of them has walked away with a totally different perspective of what this command does, and that is very valuable for our Army and for our nation," he added.
After meeting with Chronister and other leaders in the command, Huggins learned about Army space, high-altitude and missile defense research and development technologies.
"It was a great opportunity to brief the general," said Mark Ray, general engineer, SMDC Technical Center, Space Division. "We got a chance to brief him on our nanosatellite tracking technology and what we've been able to do with our SMDC-One nanosats. We also showed him some technology demonstrations that are going to help our Soldiers with beyond-line-of-sight communications on the battlefield."
Huggins also received a Joint Air Defense Operations Center-Development Test Lab overview and demo, and a Concepts Analysis Lab tour and briefing.
"It is an honor to have the Army G-3 visit the CAL. We didn't expect to get a person in his position to come here," said Kevin Nash, CAL supervisor. "We are really pleased to be able to tell him about what we do and how we are developing our students here into a technically astute workforce. It also gives us a chance to talk about some of the hands-on things they get to work on that helps contribute to the Warfighters' efforts.
"We got a chance to talk about our support to the counter- rockets, artillery and mortars program, and the radar we take out and support the testing before our troops deploy to the field," he added. "We also showed him some of the small satellite work and how we support the Tech Center's space technology program with model and simulation support for our ground stations."
Before leaving the command to meet with other Redstone Arsenal organizations, Huggins explained what he took away from his visit.
"I think things are in pretty good shape here," Huggins said. "The command has created some good synergy here in Huntsville. Thanks for the visit and I hope to get back this way soon."