The United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC) is an Army Service Component Command (ASCC) of the United States Army. The command was established in 1997. The current USASMDC commander is Lieutenant General Daniel L. Karbler with Senior Enlisted Advisor Command Sergeant Major Finis A. Dodson.

The Army Space Command (ARSPACE) stood up in April 1988 as a field operating agency of the Deputy Chief of Staff (of the Army) for Operations and Plans. As the Army component of U.S. Space Command, ARSPACE was to provide the Army perspective in planning for Department of Defense space support and ensure the integration of Army requirements into joint planning for space support and "conduct planning for DoD space operations in support of Army strategic, operational and tactical missions."

A relatively small organization, it was soon put to the test. The new command was instrumental in bringing space assets to U.S. Army forces during Operation Desert Storm. Following the war, new operational missions, such as the Army Space Support Teams and the Joint Tactical Ground Stations, became key elements of the Army space program.

Organizationally however, ARSPACE remained a command, a Tables of Distribution and Allowances, or TDA, organization with offices and directorates according to mission, rather than an Army operational Table of Organization and Equipment unit. This changed on 1 May 1995. On that date, ARSPACE's Military Satellite Communications Directorate or MILSATCOM Directorate became the 1st Satellite Control, or SATCON, Battalion—the first Army battalion with an operational mission tied to space systems and capabilities.


The SMDC is made up of several components, Active Army and full-time Army National Guard, due to the 24-hour a day, 7-day a week, 365-day a year nature of SMDC's mission:

  • SMDC Headquarters and the Force Development Integration Center in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama
  • U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command / U.S. Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) located in Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado
    • 1st Space Brigade, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
      • 1st Space Battalion
      • 2nd Space Battalion
    • 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD), Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado
      • 49th Missile Defense Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard, Fort Greely, Alaska
    • Satellite Operations Brigade
      • 53rd Signal Battalion (SATCON)
      • Satellite Communications Directorate
  • Space and Missile Defense Technical Center (SMDTC)
  • Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab (SMDBL)

The 117th Space Battalion has a training, readiness, and oversight (TRO) relationship with the 1st Space Brigade but is not actually part of it, as of 2018–19.

  • Space and Missile Defense Acquisition Center (SMDAC) based in Huntsville, Alabama; the SMDAC comprises:
    • High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility (HELSTF), at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
    • U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site (USAKA/RTS), in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and at Wake Island
    • Army Space Program Office (ASPO) in Alexandria, Virginia
    • Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensors Project Office (JLENS) based in Huntsville, Alabama
    • Ballistic Missile Targets Joint Project Office (BMTJPO) based in Huntsville, Alabama

1st Space Brigade

The 1st Space Brigade (Provisional) was activated in May 2003, with the 1st Space Battalion, the 1st Satellite Control Battalion (later to become the 53rd Signal Battalion), and the 193rd Space Battalion (Colorado Army National Guard).

The mission of 1st Space Brigade is to "conduct continuous, global space support, space control and space force enhancement operations in support of U.S. Strategic Command and Supported Combatant Commanders enabling the delivery of decisive combat power." 

53rd Signal Battalion (SATCON) conducts payload and transmission control of the Defense Satellite Communications System and Wideband Global Satellite Communications System constellations.

Friendly force tracking (actually tracking both friend or foe) is one of the basic functions of the SMDC.


On 27 Sept. 1974, at the Missile Site Radar Complex near Nekoma, North Dakota, and at the Ballistic Missile Defense Center at NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain, the Safeguard System facilities were officially transferred to the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Defense Systems Command after a four and one-half-year construction project by 10 companies.

Joint Center of Excellence

The Joint Ballistic Missile Defense Education and Training Center (JBMDETC) is now a Joint Center of Excellence. JBMDETC is operated by the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD). United States Strategic Command's JFCC IMD is located at Schriever Air Force Base. Both Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) and JFCC IMD are service components of United States Strategic Command.

Priority given to air and missile defense

Air and missile defense is a modernization priority of the United States Army Futures Command, formed 2019. The Air and missile defense CFT is tasked with modernization of materiel for Air and Missile defense. Targeted areas currently include:

  • Hypersonic systems
  • maneuver SHORAD (M-SHORAD)
  • IBCS

The LCMC (part of ASA(ALT)), the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) is an associated unit of Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Redstone Arsenal. AMRDEC is now part of U.S. Army Futures Command, as is the Air and missile defense CFT. The LCMC is responsible for materiel sustainment; AMRDEC and the respective CFTs work to modernize aircraft for the Aviation COE, and missiles for SMDC.

A Program executive officer (PEO) works with the Army Futures Command CFTs to move materiel into production. Vendors for Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) were downselected to two competitors in 2017, and 2018. The award to replace the Patriot radar is slated for 2023.

Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire/...
Pierre Claverie

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