Fighting Fires with FIRES

May 21, 2012

Dear Members and Friends,

Out on the prairie of Oklahoma, in the middle of America and on the historic post of Fort Sill, gathered over the past few days, were our nation’s brightest leaders of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery that are set in place for preventing conflict, shaping the future and winning conflict decisively if prevention fails. This most impressive cadre of deployed war fighting experience, strategic thought, utmost leadership, intellectual depth, allied respect and sensitivity was comprised of today’s U.S Army Generals, NCOs, Officers and Soldiers of the U.S. Army. Hosted by the FIRES center and the Commandant Major General Mark McDonald of which every U.S. Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery soldier must pass through and obtain certification from the beginning, throughout and to the end of their professional career in arms.

In today’s world of economic shifts, speed of change and unforeseen conflicts, where our nation will for the first time since the 1940’s, face conflicts that are necessary to prevent but also conflicts necessary to win for if prevention fails without our nation being the dominant economic power, we will have to influence with less, fight with less, yet still be expected to win.

Full integration of missions, immersed joint team effort and participation across all of the military services are true partnerships with our allies as well as our friends. Along with superior technical innovative capability and sustained forward U.S. military presence in key global locations that provide the critical tools to compete, to prevent conflict and to win if necessary without nuclear force against more embedded and wealthier opponents.

The reducing U.S. defense budget along with the shrinking U.S. Army due to the elimination of numerous combat brigade teams necessary for future combat is in contrast to the increasing value, importance, capability and growth of the U.S. Army Air & Missile Defense Command that is in place to prevent, shape and win for the direct mission of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army General Raymond Odierno.

The increasing offensive threats that come in the form of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs continue to proliferate substantially across the world, creating regional instability and put freedom of access and trade at risk. The vast offensive numbers continue to accelerate, increase in their sophistication, range and accuracy. That coupled with more dangerous payloads leaves the fact that the U.S. and its allies will never have enough missile defense capacity to equally match.

To deter effectively and to win decisively against the numerous threats if deterrence fails, offensive capability must be mixed with efficient and effective defensive capability. Using joint offensive direct and indirect targeting, kinetic and non-kinetic attacks to include cyber, during pre and post enemy use of ballistic missiles reverses the numerical advantage the enemy has.

Just as the “First to Fire” missile defense needs and depends on the “King of Battle” artillery and offensive force capability from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Special Forces, the U.S. Army maneuvering combat brigade teams and their assigned divisions need defense from rockets, mortars, UAVs, cruise and ballistic missiles to do their mission.

No longer is the U.S. Army Air & Missile Defense Command seen as secondary to its branch brother the “Field Artillery”. It is viewed in todays’ world by today’s key Combatant Commanders as a core necessity that is invaluable and is becoming a pivotal branch of the U.S. Army.

The most important asset to be coveted in the FIRES of the U.S. Army which remains and always will remain, not the high technical innovative systems but the leader development of all of the soldiers that command, manage and run the systems today and tomorrow.

The pride of these young leaders and their commanders were displayed in the recent re-designation of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade to the 30th ADA Brigade that commands the missile defense school house at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which is responsible for shaping each and every soldier in leadership of the missile defense branch of the U.S. Army.

Our nations FIRES, put out the fires of hostility and instability to make our nation and world safer.

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Curtis Stiles - Chief of Staff