Forward deployed service members, Army civilians and friends gathered for a ceremony to commemorate the transfer of mission for the theater-wide improvised explosive device neutralizing Saturn Arch Program from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, March 1.
During the Transfer of Authority Ceremony, Col. Adam R. Hinsdale, commander, Task Force Observe Detect Identify Neutralize-Enhanced (ODIN-E), assumed the mission on behalf of INSCOM from Frank Cooper, of the NGA.
This TOA marks the first full transfer of a mission from a national-level intelligence agency to the conventional Army. The ceremony follows a transition beginning several months earlier by elements from the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, the Army Geospatial Intelligence Battalion and Task Force ODIN-E.
The Saturn Arch Program began in 2010, with an effort to implement intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to identify and assist in removing IEDs from the battlefield in Afghanistan.
According to Hinsdale, the program now boasts a much wider network of aircraft and capabilities to expand the valuable service even further across the combat zone in which Soldiers, service members and International Security Assistance Force partners operate daily.
"The program's phenomenal accomplishments are a result of its outstanding, professional and extremely competent personnel," said Hinsdale. "From NGA leadership, to pilots, maintainers and the extraordinary imagery analysts and scientists -- Saturn Arch has always sent their very best into theater."
For those involved, the greatest accomplishment is the cumulative knowledge, experience and expertise of Saturn Arch personnel and ISAF partners.
"Additionally, the NGA garnered support from our commonwealth partners to harness their incredible experience and knowledge. This partnership with Great Britain and Australia has further enhanced the success of the Saturn Arch Program," said Hinsdale.
The transfer of the Saturn Arch mission from NGA into INSCOM is part of a larger effort to bring highly effective programs such as Saturn Arch into the U.S. Army as an enduring program, according to INSCOM leadership. The intent is to facilitate the migration of ISR capability collection tasking, processing, exploitation, dissemination and feedback into reach back operations at sanctuary locations in the U.S. in order to better meet future worldwide intelligence needs for the U.S. Army.
[Col. Adam R. Hinsdale contributed to this article.]