Agencies Team Up to Improve Missile Defense Training
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 28, 2009 A group of U.S. military organizations are teaming up to develop improved, better-integrated missile defense training, senior civilian officials said today.
The in-progress initiative is called, “All Things Missile,” Patrick A. McVay, joint exercises and training director at U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Neb., told reporters during a telephone interview.
The goal, McVay said, is to develop new missile defense simulated training exercises that are more realistic, efficient and joint. One of U.S. Stratcom’s missions is to synchronize global missile defense plans and operations.
The envisioned new system, McVay said, will consolidate training capabilities for integrated tactical warning/attack assessment, ballistic missile defense systems and tactical engagement simulations.
“I don’t want to call ‘All Things Missile’ a system; it is a system of systems, if you will, or a single training capability that will go across all those capabilities,” McVay explained.
McVay said current planning calls for introduction of the new training capability in about two years.
The new capability will employ the internet and the global information grid, McVay said, to enable distribution “to any training requirement from anyone in the ‘All Things Missile’ community of interest.”
Today’s missile defense training system also lacks cross-organizational capability, McVay said.
“If I’m using it, then (U.S.) Northcom can’t train on it, or the guy on the Aegis (guided-missile) cruiser can’t train on it,” McVay said of the current system.
McVay co-hosted the interview with Gregory F. Knapp, executive director of U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Joint Warfighting Center and Joint Training Directorate in Suffolk, Va.
U.S. Joint Forces Command, based at Norfolk, Va., is supporting Stratcom’s “All Things Missile” training initiative, Knapp said. Jfcom is the defense department’s joint-force training and capabilities-development organization.
“No (training) task happens in isolation; it’s always done in some kind of global context,” Knapp said. “The way we build the training environment allows us to bring in scenarios with very complex, multi-dimensional context, like what happens in the real world.”
Introducing a better-integrated, more-realistic training system, Knapp added, should also improve the missile defense community’s operational capability.
Other participants in the training initiative include the Missile Defense Agency at the Pentagon, several combatant commands and the military service branches. The MDA’s mission is to develop and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces and allies.