Operational environment presents challenges to AMD force

Operational environment presents challenges to AMD force

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Improving security and training, conducting expeditionary maneuver operations, ensuring interoperability and integrating fires are among the key challenges facing the Army Air and Missile Defense (AMD) community.

Between growing threats and shrinking budgets, "the operational environment presents significant challenges to the AMD force," said Col. Robert L. Kelley, capability manager, Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.

Speaking at an Air and Missile Defense Hot Topic forum hosted by the Association of the U.S. Army’s Institute of Land Warfare, Kelley said the AMD force of 2025 must be expeditionary, versatile, and more lethal.

"Perhaps most importantly, it needs to be led by leaders that are adaptive, innovative and willing to accept prudent risk," he said.

If the Army simply continues with current technology modernization efforts without updating training and doctrine, the force of 2025 will not meet national defense needs.

"We will simply have today’s force, with better computer screens," Kelley noted.

Adding, "That’s why the Fires Center of Excellence has been investing tremendous intellectual capital to create a more holistic approach for AMD transformation."

Specifically, Kelley noted that the commandant of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School, Brig. Gen. Christopher Spillman, is partnering with the Army Research Institute to maximize readiness and combat effectiveness through advances in behavioral and social sciences focused on training and leader development.

"Additionally, the air defense branch is looking hard at our military occupational specialties, and transitioning from a system-centric approach to a more functional-based approach … this new structure will streamline training and add flexibility to force management," Kelley said.

Robert Martinage, senior fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said due to proliferation of anti-access area denial (A2AD) threats, the U.S. military may no longer be able to rely solely on the Air Force to maintain air superiority.

"The implication is that the Army may need significantly more air and missile defense capacity," he said.

Since heavy AMD assets are difficult to insert in the opening stages of a conflict, Martinage said it is important that these forces be pre-positioned in peacetime.

Also, he said high-signature units such as Patriot missile batteries are targets for relatively ubiquitous guided short-range artillery and missiles.

Adding, "To protect these assets, it will be increasingly important to defend them with co-located, short-range, high-volume countermeasures."

This AUSA Institute of Land Warfare Hot Topic was sponsored by Northrop Grumman and Raytheon; both companies are AUSA sustaining members.

Luc Dunn