One year ago, on the night of Jan. 7, 2020, Americans were shocked to learn that Iran had launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.
Iran called it “fierce revenge” for the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. As reports of the attack inundated the airwaves, viewers were left wondering what had happened — and perhaps most importantly — were there casualties?
The barrage damaged runways, tents, equipment, and a helicopter, and the Pentagon acknowledged that 110 people needed to be treated later for traumatic brain injuries. No one was killed.
The remaining U.S. and coalition forces that had not been evacuated were able to take cover in bunkers, thanks to what President Donald Trump referred to at the time as an “early warning system.”
The public now knows what many in the national security community suspected: That early warning system was the Space Based Infrared System, a constellation of satellites that surveils Earth’s surface 24/7 to detect missiles. Rarely has the Defense Department offered such a high-profile example of the system’s capabilities and its direct impact on the American war fighter…
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