Little House on the Prairie

June 18, 2010

Dear Members and Friends,

In a secure, modern building where the prairie meets the Rocky Mountains at the western edge of the Great Plains lays the central node for our nation’s missile defense system, the Missile Defense Integrated Operational Center (MDIOC). The MDIOC is charged with protecting all 50 American states from ballistic missile attack. Located at Schriever Air Force Base, close to Peterson Air Force Base, home to NORTHCOM and Air Force Space Command, as well as NORAD in Cheyenne Mountain, MDIOC is in a key location to defend our nation.

In the past, a nuclear missile attack on the U.S. presented the President with two options; fire back or withstand the attack and respond later. Both options would cause a tremendous loss of lives and neither option protected the American public. Today, the U.S. President has a third option; a deployed missile defense system that preemptively helps deter and dissuade an attack as well as protect and defend the U.S. from a limited ballistic missile attack.

The MDIOC is the heartbeat and the brains of our nation’s deployed missile defense system. It is the central missile defense computer processing center and missile defense testing hub for all simulation, tests and modeling. MDIOC is also the command and control center that reports directly to NORTHCOM Combatant Commander Admiral James Winnefeld. The command center at the MIDOC is where data from U.S. homeland missile defense sensors, interceptors and decision making information is routed through to our nation’s currently deployed operational missile defense architecture.

Today’s missile defense architecture is driven and deployed towards North Korea with considerable capability that began to initially operate in 2007. Drawn into this working architecture are a number of sensor systems that are directly linked, via communication satellites, to the MDIOC, including Defense Support Program satellites (DSP), Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships based around the Korean and Japanese Region, AN/TPY-2 Forward-Based X-Band Radar in Shariki, Japan, all used for early warning and initial tracking.

Data from these sensors begin to be processed by command and control elements producing algorithms for early cues and a launch decision by NORTHCOM that is sent to one or more of the 26 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) currently deployed in Alaska and California. Further critical tracking and discrimination data of an incoming ballistic missile and its debris is sent to MIDOC for computer processing to produce more exact intercept algorithms from the Sea-based X-band Radar (SBX), Aegis BMD ships in the Pacific Ocean, the Cobra Dane Radar at the outer edge of Aleutian Islands in Alaska and the Beale Radar in Northern California.

After real time processing the best intercept algorithms are sent to the launched GBI throughout its flight via deployed In-flight Interceptor Communications Systems Data Terminal (IDT) terminals in Alaska and California. As the GBI gets in the specified range, it opens its internal sensors and uses small rockets to divert trajectory and adjust precisely to its high speed collision point with the warhead. All of this is watched and recorded by the MDIOC to see the results of the impact of intercept and in the case of no intercept to update the next GBI whether already in flight or still in a silo.

Performing this critical mission at the MDIOC is the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD) commanded by Colonel Gregory Bowen. The 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD) is made up of 310 soldiers from the United States Army and Army National Guard units from Colorado, Alaska and California. A team of five key stations work around the clock in a small room at the MDIOC. This team, which is led by a Lieutenant Colonel, consists of two officers and two enlisted soldiers who maintain, collect, monitor, and command our nation’s missile defense system.

Today, our homeland missile defense system is limited to 30 three-stage GBIs that are as of yet not officially certified and an incomplete architecture that does not have a realistic capability to track, discriminate and destroy a ballistic missile threat from Iran.

As a nation we need to be ahead of an Iranian ballistic missile threat to our homeland

Let’s give our soldiers what they need to defend our nation as 300 of them are protecting 300 million of us.

MDAA had the honor to be amongst those 300 in Colorado Springs this past week.

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