The U.S. Army ADA Mission: “The United States Army Air Defense Artillery is a combat arms branch that defends geopolitical assets and provides maneuver forces with the freedom to move on the battlefield by deterring the enemy and destroying aerial threats, missile attacks, and surveillance platforms.”
The United States Army’s Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) systems have demonstrated the critical need for air defense artillery’s defense fires. Yesterday, enemy forces targeted the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul with several rockets targeting American forces, civilians, equipment, and infrastructure. C-RAM, deployed throughout the Middle East since 2006, is a system which senses, warns, tracks targets, and engages rockets, mortars, and unsophisticated missile threats. This system and the network architecture that supports the system of systems’ components, is centered around the United States Navy Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) Kinetic capability.
The urgent requirement for a C-RAM requirement was identified in 2005; in only 15 months, components of the C-RAM capability were deployed to the Middle East answering the urgent need of commanders on the ground. Ultimately, this sensing and warning capability graduated to a kinetic component, which today is known as the land-based Phalanx weapon system (LPWS). A remarkable cross domain share of capabilities from the U.S. Navy CIWS system developed to defend U.S. Destroyers and Cruisers from rocket attacks and close-in threats, were successively transferred over to the Army and National Guard to operate.
This demonstration of air and missile defense during a critical time in which security, safety, and speed is of the essence, is paramount. The ability to provide defensive fires from a system of systems developed from across services, manned by joint forces initially, and urgently requested, tested, acquired, and deployed in 15 months to the Middle East, clearly demonstrates the Department of Defense’s acquisition process can be shortened.
The C-RAM, similar to the NASAM (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) is not a program of record, but is currently deployed across CENTCOM and the Missile Defense of the National Capital Region. These two systems have saved countless American and Coalition lives in the Middle East and defended the skies of the National Capital Region respectively during the last two decades. Each of these capabilities demonstrate the need for procurement and rapid acquisition which contributes towards a layered defense capability.Integrated Strategic Deterrence and Defense to support National Grand Strategic designs must include proven tactical capabilities. As we have witnessed in Afghanistan, technologically sophisticated systems in the hands of our most courageous combat-proven military Patriots saves lives. Linking wise and seasoned National Security Policy to Campaigns, Operations, Tactics and to proven defensive weapons systems will save both lives and nations. We must get it right, as the cost for getting it wrong is immeasurable.
Amongst withdrawal from a 20-year war, the largest non-combatant evacuation in our nation’s history, and hostile action from the enemy, the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery continues to succeed in defeating asymmetric threats of critical assets through point defense. The rockets were fired under cover of darkness at HKIA, the sole aerial port of debarkation for the American withdrawal. The Soldiers from (enter unit [C-RAM]), Massachusetts National Guard, intercepted all rockets with impact points on HKIA resulting in hundreds of civilian lives saved and enabling the uninterrupted airlift of American and Afghan citizens as the withdrawal approaches the critical hour.
The gallantry, courage, and expertise of these citizen-Soldiers fulfill the ADA mission and demonstrate the seamless deployment of Air and Missile Defense capability from the U.S. Army National Guard to the battlefield.
The Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) is part of the Fires Center of Excellence located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. ADA is responsible for integrating warfighting systems at all three levels of warfighting (tactical, operational, and strategic) to provide defensive fires in support of maneuver forces, theater level aviation, and logistics assets and geopolitical assets, to name a few. Similar to yesterday’s U.S. Army rocket defense at HKIA, Army ADA Forces are the first to arrive to a combat theater and the last to depart. U.S. Army ADA Defense Fires have saved thousands of lives throughout the past 15 years and continue to do so today, as all U.S. Forces departed from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
“I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight.” – GEN George S. Patton