Future air & missile defense to provide seamless coverage for joint maneuver forces

By: Devon L. Suits, Army News Service

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A Patriot missile leaves the launcher tube on its way to intercept a target during "Rapid Arrow", a live-fire exercise in Greece at the NATO Missile Firing Installation, Sept. 30, 2015. By 2028, the Army's Air and Missile Defense force must be agile, scalable, and capable of fighting in a series of complex, yet integrated attacks, said Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, commander of the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command. (Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Randall Jackson)

FORT MEADE, Md. -- By 2028, the Army's Air and Missile Defense force must be agile, scalable, and capable of fighting in a series of complex, yet integrated attacks, according to the commanding general of Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

"In this strategic environment of great competition … [our adversaries] are working every day to develop and field air and missile defense capabilities with greater mobility, range, speed, and precision," said Lt. Gen. James Dickinson.

Moving forward, future formations at all levels could see a mix of AMD capabilities, creating a layered defense to support maneuver forces, Dickinson said Tuesday during an Association of the U.S. Army "Hot Topics" seminar on Air and Missile Defense.

"Air and missile defense … is one of the pillars on which the Army of 2028 will depend upon," he said. "The Army's maneuver forces of 2028 will need an AMD force with the right capabilities and capacity defending it."


Overall, improved AMD capabilities will enable the Army's ability to support multi-domain operations, said Gen. Robert Brown, commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific Command. Further, joint integration and allied support will be the key to AMD's success, he said.

"I would tell you today, what we're seeing is land enabling air and maritime because of the massive threat," Brown said.

"It's an evolutionary process," Brown said. "You're pairing together all the domains, maneuvering to a position of relative advantage in each domain, and working together to create those windows of opportunity … That gives you more options against an adversary."

The Army is purchasing a limited amount of Iron Dome equipment, Dickinson said. This is a short-range, anti-rocket system used by defense forces in Israel. This system will be an interim Indirect Fire Protection Capability, or IFPC, to help protect U.S. assets and personnel against a variety of airborne threats such as cruise missiles.

Two Iron Dome batteries will achieve initial operating capability no later than Fiscal Year 2020, he said.

"We will continue to assess our options on a long-term IFPC solution," he said, explaining that development will continue toward an enduring system to counter cruise missiles and other mid-range threats.


As the Army continues to develop its AMD capabilities, the Defense Department is working to create a more robust and persistent presence in space, Dickinson said.

"The Army is the largest military user of space, and that always surprises people," he said. "The typical brigade combat team … has at least 2,500 pieces of equipment that are space dependent and at least 250 satellite communications-enabled devices."

"That's almost staggering when you think about that and our ability to be able to operate in a degraded environment," he added.

The Army relies on the space domain for missile warning systems, command and control communications capabilities, and precision navigation and timing.

"Our missile defense Soldiers must be trained to recognize when they are in a denied, degraded and disrupted space operational environment," Dickinson added. "We have Soldiers that are training that every day in our combat training centers."

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