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Missile defense exercise spans globe

September 15, 2011

By SGT Benjamin Crane, 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD) Public Affairs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- When it comes to defending the county from foreign missiles falling from the sky, the units associated with the Ground-based Midcourse Defense do a great job of being at the ready and making sure that no missile ever gets in range to harm the citizens of the United States.

One of the ways the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD) ensures its readiness is to take part in a monthly Ballistic Missile Defense Exercise, or BMDX, which involves several entities that stretch from here to Alaska and even the Asian-Pacific region.

The BMDX is a Navy specific exercise that we support them in doing," said Warrant Officer 2 Kale Murray, a C2 systems integrator for the 100th MDB. "It is a chance to exercise our real-world communications with the Long Range Surveillance and Tracking ships."

Within the realm of Ballistic Missile Defense there are typically two types of ships used; the shooter ships and the tracking ships, which is what the LRS&T;ship is. Communication between the fire operators in Colorado, Fort Greely in Alaska, and these ships is a key element to keeping the skies safe.

To make sure that both the Navy and Army troops work together seamlessly and effectively, there has to be a clear and open line of communication between the two. Since Naval personnel in the Pacific Command and Army personnel in Alaska are so far apart, finding ways to talk to each other is sometimes a challenge. So not only does the language that is used between the two military components need to be the same, a dependable means in which to get that communication across is necessary, as well.

"It's not just a luxury, it's a requirement for the mission," said Murray.

An exercise like this one allows for practice in this area and gets the two groups closer to their end state.

"That's the goal, is to have a common operating picture and to have successful engagements," said Murray. "That's the bottom line."

Since this type of training started taking place two years ago, the Soldiers with the 100th MDB have adapted to the ever-changing world of technology and communication. Taking ideas from the Navy, as well as sharing their own, the 100th's techniques, tactics and procedures have been refined and the understanding of the two components has grown.

"The evolution of our architecture is an ongoing challenge," said Murray. "Just like any time you get updates for your phone or even Outlook, there are new bells and whistles that you have to figure out, So, it's all that figuring out that's the real challenge."

The participation of the 100th was recognized by the lead Naval officer for the exercise.

While debriefing the exercise, 6th Fleet's lead BMD officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Mink gave a salute to the team for a job well done.

"This was the best training I've seen for BMD ships, these ships are three to four weeks ahead of where I've seen past deployers arriving in the 6th Fleet (area of operation)," said Mink.

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