Two leaders proved the sun never sets on Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command as they visited command Soldiers stationed in the Land of the Rising Sun.
James Johnson, SMDC/ARSTRAT Future Warfare Center director, and Col. Matthew Tedesco, director, SMDC’s TRADOC capability manager for Global Ballistic Missile Defense, toured the Army/Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance site in Shariki, Japan, May 12.
“It was a quick trip and the main objective was for me to see firsthand some of the things we are working on and supporting as a command,” Johnson said. “You can read about things and get briefed on it, but it is not the same as getting out there and seeing it with your own eyes and talking to the Soldiers who are actually executing the mission. I also got to hear about some of the challenges they face day to day. One of my priorities is continuing to communicate with them.”
Johnson and Tedesco started their trip in Hawaii and visited the Wideband Satellite Operations Center and the Regional SATCOM (Satellite Communications) Support Center before traveling to Japan.
“It is eye-opening because they are not only supporting Army customers but also providing communication links with Navy ships and other units that pass through their areas,” Johnson said.
While in Hawaii, they also visited with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, where the sensor manager is located. The sensor manager controls all of the AN/TPY-2 Forward-Based Mode radars. The sensor manager training is accomplished through the SMDC Colorado Springs, Colorado, Future Warfare Center’s Directorate of Training and Doctrine.
“I got feedback on their training and we got some information on how to improve our training, and that was part of our objective,” Johnson said.
Johnson visited to see operations at a forward based mode site and received a tour and orientation from 10th Missile Defense Battery Soldiers as well as review the progress of transition and transfer of activities from Missile Defense Agency civilians to Soldiers.
“Visiting our site in Japan connected some dots for me,” Johnson said. “I got to see the equipment, compound and security aspects that we support in the Future Warfare Center. That helped me because we are having to address some of those issues on some of our other FBM sites.
“The big thing there is that they are so remote. It is not too close to a lot. It is in northern Japan and those guys are up there without a whole lot of local support. We have to take care of those Soldiers and consider how remote they are. Overall it was a learning experience for me, and so now I think I can do a better job of supporting them with more vigor.”
The AN/TPY-2 is deployed to enhance the ballistic missile defense system against a wide range of threats and providing support for protection. It is a high-resolution, X-band class, phased array radar that is transportable by air, ship and truck. It is also deployed with a command and control interface, a radar support trailer, generators and supply containers.
The U.S. deployed the AN/TPY-2 radar to Japan in 2007 to provide forward-based surveillance and improve missile defense in the region.
“The site at Shariki is the original forward based mode site, so some of the lessons learned from this site, from a security standpoint for example, is what we are trying to address in some of the other sites,” Johnson said. “There is a lot of activity in that area of the world and that site gets the first look at what is going on and they are able to collect valuable data. From a readiness standpoint, a lot of the other sites receive practice simulations, but the Shariki site’s practice is real world, all the time.