Guard Up

March 22, 2012

Dear Members and Friends,


In the low Colorado foothills between Pike’s Peak and Cheyenne Mountain of the Rocky Mountains is the home of the U.S. Army 1st Space Brigade and the U.S. Army 100th Missile Defense Brigade.  Both Commands are integral to defending our military forces overseas and our United States homeland; these soldiers are the true war fighters and operators of the systems being produced by the Missile Defense Agency that can detect, track, discriminate and destroy incoming ballistic missiles.


The U.S. Army 1st Space Brigade is deployed in four different countries across the globe for real time information on detection and initial tracking of heat generating missiles.  This is absolutely critical information for the U.S. war fighters in the Middle East, Japan, and Korea, where seconds count in defending their forces from short-range threats.  This defensive system is called JTAGS (Joint Tactical Ground Station) and is co-located with the in-theater operations of the Combatant Commanders.  JTAGS also provides additional assurance without time delays from the main gathering of U.S. satellite information for missile detection, which is headquartered at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado.


In addition, the United States Army 1st Space Brigade includes the 53rd Signal Battalion and the 117th Space Battalion, who provide secure communications and transmissions from DOD wideband satellites as they operate, sustain, maintain and protect their constellations of satellites.  The 117th Space Battalion also collects open source, unclassified satellite information, which can be purchased from private companies such as Digital Globe, performs analysis on the information and provides it to our Allies and friends to assist them with warnings in a global, international effort.  The 117th Space Battalion is unique in that they have the dual mission to provide space product information for homeland defense and disaster relief missions to our nation such as Hurricane Katrina.


The U.S. Army 100th Missile Defense Brigade commands and operates a system that destroys incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles in space to defend the United States of America.  That system is called the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) and its Command is based in Colorado Springs and operates out of Schriever Air Force Base.  The 100th Missile Defense Brigade commands the 49th Missile Defense Battalion that operates the defensive missile fields deployed with Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) in Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. There are approximately 300 Soldiers from the 100th Missile Defense Brigade that are protecting approximately 300 million Americans today.


In addition, the 100th Missile Defense Brigade operates the forward based AN/TPY-2 X-band radars that do initial tracking and discrimination of ballistic missiles from forward locations in Japan, Israel and Turkey.  The information gathered by these radars not only provides critical support for U.S. homeland defense, it provides the essential missile defense information for regional theater defense of Europe for our President’s Phase Adaptive Approach and protection of our forces and allies in Japan, Korea and Israel.  The United States Army 100th Missile Defense Brigade is responsible for the training, manning and operating of all these systems.  It is noteworthy that the 100th Missile Defense Brigade and the 117th Space Battalion are both National Guard units.


On behalf of our membership throughout our nation, it was a true honor to recognize some of these unique Soldiers from these special brigades, who fight with and for the same team, during MDAA’s visit in Colorado Springs last week.


Their unheralded and unnoticed duty for the American public is a truly selfless service for the good and prosperity of our nation.


We have great adulation and appreciation to all those that serve in this mission of protecting our way of life.


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