Captain Marco Catanese, United States Air Force

2020 U.S. Missile Defender of the Year

Capt Catanese is the Chief, Innovation and Analysis at the European Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center. He leads innovation and assessment efforts in support of European Command (EUCOM) and Africa Command (AFRICOM) Integrated Air and Missile Defense enabling future concept exploration and validation. Capt Catanese significantly increased the quality and quantity of assessments conducted, from two to five Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) exercises providing critical information to senior leaders on operational readiness and vulnerabilities related to Aegis, THAAD, Patriot employment and air defense integration. In Astral Knight 20, he led a 10-day assessment to determine how well the U.S. Army Patriot and Polish SA-3 were integrated with the Polish and U.S. Air Force. In Juniper Cobra 20, his IAMD assessment experience was critical in providing key information to the Joint Force Air Component Commander, identifying four gaps in the operational plan. In the European Test Bed (ETB), Capt Catanese led twelve joint organizations to develop a plan to evaluate new defense designs and command and control concepts for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) of Europe using Aegis and THAAD under U.S. and NATO control. Additionally, he was pivotal in developing a roadmap to evolve ETB from BMD to IAMD, to support new missions and to refocus its role as an experimentation venue. Finally, he finalized a 5-year Missile Defense Agency support agreement worth $3.5M to support test efforts in theater. Capt Catanese attended the University of Portland in Oregon and gained his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2011. His first assignment was an Operations Analyst at Eglin AFB, Florida. Capt Catanese’s second assignment was lead analyst for the Operational Test and Evaluation of multiple space systems and became the Executive officer for the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Detachment 4 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Next, he was a Flight Commander at the 1st Manpower Requirements Squadron, leading a team of 13 analysts developing manpower studies for the Force Support, Squadron Commander’s Support Staff and Air Education and Training Command specific functions. Capt Catanese has deployed in support of Operation Joint Guardian in Camp Film City Kosovo where he developed long term plans and determined future force requirements to support the NATO mission.

Defenders of the Year