News

SMDC proposes Force Design for NMD

A proposal for deploying and manning a future ground-based National Missile Defense system was presented recently by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, or SMDC.

Submitted to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the proposal is called a Force Design Update, or FDU.

"One of the things we’ve been working on is the organizational structure for the ground-based elements of NMD, including the manning," said Col. Bob Billings of SMDC, which is the Army’s proponent for National Missile Defense, as well as Space.

"FDU is a major step in the process for documenting a new Army organization," said Lt. Gen. Edward G. Anderson III, SMDC commander, who submitted the proposal to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. "There is a possibility that a decision to deploy the system will be made in the year 2000. If it is, we must be ready to execute."

The NMD force design structure proposed by SMDC would consist of 265 Army National Guard personnel and 190 contractor personnel based at Grand Forks, ND.

In 1996, the Administration designated NMD as a deployment readiness program, called 3+3. This calls for accelerating development of an NMD system until the year 2000 when a decision, based on the threat, will be made on whether to deploy the system within three years.

The next important milestone in the NMD program will be the award of the Lead System Integrator contract by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). Although BMDO is responsible for development of the overall NMD system, the LSI contractor, who is to be selected in May, will be responsible for integrating the system elements into a single deployable NMD system under the management of a Joint Program Office. When the decision is made to deploy, the LSI contract will be modified and the deployment modification will be transferred to an appropriate Service to execute.

"By submitting the force design proposal now, SMDC gives the Army the time needed to authorize the manning, equipping and training by the year 2000. In turn, this will allow the Army National Guard three years to man, equip and train the soldiers to be fully operational by the deployment target year, 2003," said Billings.

The Army’s role in NMD has been articulated by the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff in previous responses to Congress. Specifically, the Army is responsible for development, fielding, and operation of the ground-based portion of the NMD system that includes: the ground based interceptor, the ground based radar, and the site Battle Management, Command, Control, and Communication. SMDC’s Army Space Command, the Army’s component to the U.S. Space Command, is responsible for providing user input to the Commander in Chief, Space, to address Army requirements in the NMD Capstone Requirements Document and Concept of Operation. SMDC is the Army’s designated user representative, responsible for training and combat development responsibilities assigned to the Services by Title 10, U.S. Code. "Army has also been designated by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council as executive agent for the NMD Operational Requirements Document," said Billings.

The FDU proposal follows an earlier agreement between the Army and Air Force concerning NMD roles and missions.

"The Army and Air Force achieved agreement last March on the role each Service would play in the operations and sustainment of current and future NMD systems," said Anderson. "I remain committed to that agreement."

The Memorandum of Agreement describes Army and Air Force responsibilities for operations and sustainment of the NMD elements. Under that agreement, the Army is responsible for executing normal Component Command responsibilities for any NMD dedicated ground-based elements of the system regardless of the interceptor option chosen. Interceptor booster options currently under consideration are Minuteman III and boosters that are commercially available. The Air Force is responsible for executing normal Component Command responsibilities for any NMD dedicated air or space-based elements, regardless of booster option chosen.

4/17/98