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Chapter 1


This chapter introduces Army theater missile defense (TMD) operations in the context of joint TMD. It provides the framework in which doctrinal guidance to Army commanders at strategic, operational, and tactical levels is given.


1-1. Theater missiles (TMs) are ballistic missiles (BMs), cruise missiles (CMs), and air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) whose targets are within a given theater of operation. Advanced missile technologies coupled with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or weapons of mass effect (WME) capabilities have become proliferated among potential adversaries and provide them with potentially decisive attack capabilities. The TM threat is as much a political weapon as a military weapon.

1-2. The preferred method to counter enemy TMs is to destroy or disrupt operations prior to launch. Failing that, the capability to intercept and destroy missiles in flight is the next most desired option. The capabilities of joint force components, supporting Commanders in Chief (CINCs) and multinational forces must be integrated to achieve the common objective of neutralizing or destroying the enemy's TM capabilities. This effort must be integrated into and support the Joint Force Commander's (JFC's) overall concept of operations and campaign objectives.


1-3. TMD encompasses all activities focused on the identification, integration, and employment of forces supported by theater and national capabilities to detect, identify, locate, track, discriminate, minimize the effects of, and destroy enemy TMs. This includes the destruction of TMs on the ground and in flight; their air, ground, or sea-based launch platforms during pre- and post-launch operations; and their supporting infrastructure.

1-4. TMD is inherently a joint mission. Successful conduct of TMD requires a coordinated joint service effort. This coordination originates in the doctrine described in Joint Publication (JP) 3-01.5 and supporting service publications. The Air Force's contribution to joint TMD is described in Air Force Doctrine Document 2-1.1 Counterair Operations. The Navy's contribution to joint TMD is described in Naval Warfare Publication 3-0.1. The Marine Corps' contribution to joint TMD is described in Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-25 Control of Aircraft and Missiles. The Army's role in the joint TMD fight is the focus of this manual.

1-5. All service components have the capability to make critical TMD contributions. The Army's contribution is derived from four specific Department of the Army functions contained in Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5100.1:

  • Organize, train, and equip forces to seize, occupy, and defend land areas.
  • Organize, train, equip, and provide forces for theater air and missile defense (TAMD).
  • Organize, train, equip, and provide forces to operate land lines of communication (LOC).
  • Develop doctrines and procedures, in coordination with the other military services, for organizing, equipping, training, and employing forces operating on land.

1-6. The Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) is the Army's combat organization for planning, coordinating, integrating, and executing TMD operations in support of the Army Service Component Commander (ASCC), the Army Forces (ARFOR) Commander, the Joint Force Land Component Commander (JFLCC), if designated, and the JFC's joint TMD fight. When supporting the JFC campaign, extensive coordination and support to the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) is often required. See FM 44-94 for detailed information on the AAMDC organization and capabilities.


1-7. TMs threaten Army and joint force operations throughout the full range of military operations-from war to stability and support operations (SASO). During the Gulf War, the US-led coalition diverted a significant number of air assets to counter the theater ballistic missile (TBM) threat in Iraq. Potential adversaries have learned lessons from the Gulf War and may be expected to employ TMs to threaten US allies prior to the outbreak of armed conflict, and US assets during force projection operations. China and North Korea have used TBM test flights and system deployments to apply political pressure on the governments of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan causing an US TMD reaction to mitigate the pressure. To counter the Iraqi TBM threat, the US has deployed Army TMD forces to southwest Asia to protect joint forces and geopolitical assets.

1-8. Army TMD attack capabilities permit the commander to actively shape the joint TAMD battlespace during war or SASO. Prior to the outbreak of armed conflict, they provide the capability to preemptively destroy or degrade the enemy's ability to conduct a limited warning initial attack. After the outbreak of war, they reduce the quantity of enemy TMs that active defenses must defeat to protect both joint force operations and geopolitical assets. Attack forces provide these capabilities until the TM threat is nullified or hostilities cease.

1-9. Army TMD active defense units play a vital role in joint TMD during war or SASO. Prior to the outbreak of armed conflict, they mitigate the risk to the geopolitical assets of US allies and forward stationed US forces from a limited warning initial attack. After the outbreak of war, they protect joint and coalition forces and geopolitical assets until the TM threat is nullified or hostilities cease.

1-10. Army TMD passive defense readiness provides vital joint TMD capabilities for both war and SASO. Prior to the outbreak of armed conflict, they provide the capability for geopolitical assets of US allies and forward-stationed US forces to reduce the impact of a limited warning initial attack employing WMD/WME. As an example, the threat of Iraqi TBM operations employing WMD/WME caused the government of Israel to prepare their population for WMD/WME attacks through the issue of protective clothing and equipment and training on its use. The US supported this preparation through dissemination of shared early warning, ensuring that the people of Israel were alerted in sufficient time to employ their protective clothing and equipment. In the future after the outbreak of war, passive defense capabilities will continue to protect both joint force operations and geopolitical assets until the TM threat is nullified or hostilities cease.

1-11. Army TMD command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) capabilities allow the commander to integrate military operations across the joint TMD battlespace during war or SASO. Prior to the outbreak of armed conflict, they provide the capability to detect the enemy's intent to conduct or initiate a limited warning initial attack and facilitate preemptive attack and responsive defensive operations. After the outbreak of war, they permit the coordination and integration of attack operations, active defense, and passive defense ensuring seamless protection of both joint force operations and geopolitical assets. C4I organizations provide these capabilities until the TM threat is nullified or hostilities cease.


1-12. The role of TMD is to support the national military strategy's capability requirements for countering WMD/WME by protecting personnel and materiel, conducting precision strike, and achieving information dominance. TMD protects the force's fighting potential so that it can be applied at the appropriate time and place. TMD forces usually fulfill this role as part of joint or multinational forces. Protecting the force during initial entry until the TM and WMD/WME threat is nullified or hostilities cease requires employment of a host of TMD weapons and command and control (C2) systems. TMD provides combatant commanders with the ability to protect critical assets such as population centers, logistical bases, C2 centers, and land-based forces from the TM and WMD/WME threat. Additionally, TMD helps the combatant commander project, protect, and sustain friendly forces by defending airports and seaports of debarkation (APODs/SPODs) and LOCs against TM and WMD/WME interdiction.


1-13. TMD requires the use of tactics and techniques that differ from those used to counter traditional aircraft threats. Target trajectories present different approach aspects to sensors. This requires that all TMD participants understand TM flight characteristics.

1-14. Due to the inherent nature of aircraft operations, enemy aircraft are exposed to longer engagement times, whereas TBM engagement opportunities are measured in seconds due to the flight trajectories and increased speeds that TBMs attain. Exposure time to TMD systems for engagement may be shorter (depending on range) in duration when compared to aircraft flight paths. The shorter acquisition and detection time window for TBMs directly impacts early warning and reaction time to defeat the TBM threat. Warning information and predicted impact points must be transmitted as quickly as possible throughout the theater of operations, especially if WMD/WME are suspected. Decentralized execution for engagements is imperative to counter the TBM threat since reaction time is critical.

1-15. Additionally, CMs and ASMs provide a very different set of engagement characteristics that must be countered. Both are reliable, accurate, survivable, and lethal. CMs can be launched from the land, air, or sea; and like ASMs, they are difficult to detect, can fly indirect routes (low or high) to avoid heavily defended areas, and can attack from any direction. CMs can strike targets with pinpoint accuracy, and, if smart submunition warheads are used, they could strike moving targets as well. A variety of special purpose munitions, including WMD/WME, may also be carried by CMs and ASMs.

1.16. The unique challenges posed by TMs require a rapidly responsive C4I structure, which decentralizes active defense engagement operations to the lowest level, provides timely and accurate targeting information for attack operations, and provides timely and accurate early warning for passive defense. By comparison, the requirement to avoid fratricide of friendly aircraft mandates stricter, more centralized control of engagement operations against traditional aircraft threats.


1-17. There are five objectives of joint TMD as stated in JP 3-01.5:

  • To demonstrate US resolve to deter aggression through the establishment of a TMD capability.
  • To protect US-deployed, allied, and coalition forces; critical assets; and areas of vital interest or political importance from attack by TMs.
  • To detect and target threat TM systems; to detect, warn, and report a TM launch; and to coordinate a multifaceted response to a TM attack, integrating that response with other combat operations.
  • To reduce the probability of and/or minimize the effects of damage caused by a TM attack.
  • To ensure that the JFC has the freedom to conduct joint operations without undue interference from TM operations conducted by the enemy.


1-18. JP 3-01.5 states that TMD systems should build on existing systems and doctrine and, when appropriate, incorporate the newest technologies and concepts. All TMD systems must be integrated into existing C4I architectures.


1-19. TMD is composed of four operational elements: passive defense, active defense, attack operations, and C4I. Because of the continual advancement and proliferation of TMs, the threat cannot be quickly countered by any single technical solution. The threat can only be countered by the synergy achieved by coordinating and integrating all four operational elements into cohesive and coherent combat operations (see Figure 1-1).

Figure 1-1. Theater Missile Defense Elements


1-20. Army TMD capabilities are integrated with those of the other services to provide a cohesive TMD effort. Army, national, and theater intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets will be used to detect and track the movement of TM launch platforms, cue TMD active defense and attack operation forces for engagements, and warn the force of TM launches. Army aviation and fire support units provide the JFC with responsive attack operations capabilities to complement friendly offensive aircraft and CMs. Army air defense artillery (ADA) weapons systems execute a major role in active defense and a supporting role in attack operations. Commanders at all levels ensure the appropriate passive defense measures are taken to execute force protection. An integrated C4I system will be established to integrate all the elements of TMD at the Army, joint, and multinational level. Army TMD elements will form a cohesive TMD force with the other components and multinational forces that is synchronized, integrated, synergistic, fused, and seamless to provide protection of theater forces and critical assets (see Figure 1-2).

Figure 1-2. Joint Theater Missile Defense


1-21. TMD operations require that certain actions be performed to be successful. These imperatives are planning, unity of effort, integration, synchronization, and decentralized execution.


1-22. Upon completing the estimate of the situation, the joint or multinational force commander provides the concept and mission priorities to subordinate commanders. This initiates the Army TMD planning process. Integrated Army TMD planning is focused on effective use of attack operations, active defense, and passive defense. This planning process is multi-echelon, collaborative, iterative, and distributed. Intelligence capabilities are identified and designated for TM detection, acquisition, and identification during intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB). Priorities and rules of engagement (ROE) are established for engaging both attack operations and active defense. Critical assets, capabilities, areas, and units requiring defense are identified and prioritized. Units receive missions and commanders task organize to protect critical assets or areas of the theater, fleet operating areas, and battlefield forces.


1-23. The ASCC is responsible for properly employing ARFOR and accomplishing operational tasks assigned by the JFC. When the ARFOR is the dominant land force conducting major operations, the ARFOR Commander may be designated as the JFLCC by the JFC. The ASCC establishes the link between the ARFOR and the joint command. This commander plans and executes operations in support of the joint campaign, plans and executes support operations to sustain subordinate ARFOR, and provides support to other services. The ARFOR accomplishes unity of effort in TMD operations through the exercise of command over all assigned forces. The various types of operations conducted in support of the concept of operations should be complementary and aimed at fulfilling the overall mission objectives.


1-24. TMD must be integrated into every aspect of operations. TMs can disrupt military operations and the political situation. Force protection is a command responsibility, and commands at all levels must integrate passive TMD measures to enhance force protection. The ARFOR staff and AAMDC ensure overall TMD operations and plans support the commander's concept of operations and are coordinated and integrated with joint and multinational forces' plans and considerations.


1-25. TMD-capable units must see beyond their immediate tasks and objectives to recognize how their efforts fit within the concept of operations. These individual units will be part of an integrated TMD system of systems designed to counter the full range of TMs. Commanders must integrate and synchronize their TMD functions and operations horizontally across all battlefield operating systems and vertically with higher and lower TMD capable Army and joint forces. Deep, close, and rear operations will require continuous and simultaneous TMD support in accordance with the overall ARFOR mission and plans.


1-26. Active defense and attack operations should be decentrally executed according to joint doctrine and multinational procedures. Decentralized execution is necessary because the number of activities associated with TMD operations and the time sensitive, stressing nature of the threat prevent a single commander from effectively controlling all TMD forces and actions. An enemy TM launch observed and identified through surveillance systems triggers early warning, active missile defense, and possible attack operations. Passive defensive actions by military units and civilian authorities are continuous in nature and inherent in all combat operations. Execution of active defense and attack operations should be decentralized down to the ADA, field artillery, and aviation unit levels to allow the units to engage TMs and their supporting infrastructure quickly and efficiently. The C4I system links active defense, passive defense, and attack operations capabilities to provide:

  • Timely assessment of the threat.
  • Rapid dissemination of tactical or operational warning.
  • Targeting data.
  • Mission assignment.
  • Post strike assessments to the appropriate TMD element.

1-27. For each operational element, the C4I system must provide data and voice communications among intelligence assets, decision-making nodes, warning systems, and weapon systems, to include a capability for rapid coordination with comparable joint and multinational TMD assets. C4I capabilities must support centralized control, decentralized execution, and coordinated efforts by units assigned TMD missions.


1-28. The following tasks are integral to the Army's successful conduct of TMD operations. The tasks include: deploy/conduct maneuver, develop intelligence, employ firepower, perform logistics and combat service support (CSS), exercise C2, and protect the force. These tasks are discussed at the tactical level of war.


1-29. Maneuver is the movement of combat forces to gain positional advantage, usually in order to deliver-or threaten delivery of-direct and indirect fires. This includes the employment of forces on the battlefield in combination with fire (direct and indirect fire) or fire potential. Maneuver and firepower are inseparable and complementary dynamics of combat. Although one might dominate a phase of battle, the synchronized effects of both are essential to achieve success on the battlefield. Additionally, maneuver forces may be employed to conduct TMD attack operations. Maneuver assets are integrally involved in passive defense. Commanders must be cognizant of passive defense measures needed before, during, and after TM attacks. Maneuver units also play a major role in countering enemy reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) assets from collecting information on possible TM targets.


1-30. Intelligence is an important factor in all the operational elements of TMD. The IPB process defines the battlefield environment, describes the battlefield effects, evaluates threat capabilities and vulnerabilities, and determines possible enemy courses of action. When tailored specifically to analyze the TM threat, it provides commanders the required intelligence to plan and integrate effective TMD operations across all four operational elements. The intelligence section of the AAMDC develops the intelligence analysis requirements for TMD operations and forwards their intelligence requirements to the ARFOR analysis and control element (ACE). The ACE integrates these requirements into the overall collection plan in order to provide commanders with sufficient information for accurate targeting and situational awareness.


1-31. Employing firepower requires the collective and coordinated use of target acquisition data, direct and indirect-fire weapons, armed aircraft (including helicopters), Special Operations Forces, and other lethal and nonlethal means against land, sea, air, and space targets throughout the tactical battlespace. The fires system provides a wide variety of striking power in combined arms operations for execution of TMD operations. The field artillery is the primary Army provider of long-range rocket and missile fires for TMD attack operations, and the Deep Operations Coordination Cell (DOCC) is the integrating point for all elements of deep fire support. Army aviation attack assets are also units conducting deep operations to destroy the enemy's TM infrastructure.


1-32. CSS forces are involved in TMD in two ways. First, they conduct passive defense operations at key TM targets, such as ports and LOCs. Second, they provide the supplies (primarily Class IV and V) required by other elements to perform their roles in TMD. Logistics and CSS tasks must be executed to arm, fuel, fix, man, and move the force and sustain the soldiers. Arming is the providing of munitions to the force. Fueling is the providing of required fuels (petroleum, oils, and lubricants) to weapon systems and other equipment. Fixing transcends maintenance in that it preserves the availability of weapon systems and equipment and includes the provision of repair parts. Manning is the provision of soldiers to commanders. Moving relates to planning and executing movements of personnel, equipment, and supplies in the performance of CSS. Sustaining soldiers and their systems involves provision of a wide range of services and supplies. Logistics and CSS incorporate a variety of technical specialties and functional activities, to include maximizing the use of available host nation infrastructure and contracted logistics support. It provides the physical means with which forces operate, from the production base and replacement centers in the US to soldiers in contact with the enemy. As the scale and complexity of Army operations increases, the importance of logistics to their success increases as well.


1-33. C2 is the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of the mission. C2 tasks are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures employed by the commander in planning, directing, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the TMD mission. The conduct of TMD operations is complex and time sensitive, placing great demands on the C2 system that requires high-speed computers and communication support. The integration of C2 with computers, communications, and intelligence into a C4I system links passive defense, active defense, and attack operations into cohesive Army TMD operations. New information technologies allow integration of existing capabilities in ways that renew emphasis on the military requirement for information dominance. Information dominance is the ability to use information and capabilities to achieve an operational advantage. In modern operations, the side possessing better information has a critical, perhaps decisive, advantage over any opponent. In broad terms, joint and Army commanders orchestrate a variety of capabilities to achieve a more coherent understanding of their battlespace than the opponent.


1-34. Protecting the force includes TAMD, which encompasses all measures designed to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of attack by hostile aircraft or TMs. It also includes classifying airborne platforms, which are distinctive to TAMD systems, and defending against attacking air and missile targets by lethal and nonlethal means. TAMD assets are the primary units conducting the active defense mission of Army TMD. The role of TAMD units is to engage TMs during flight or to destroy the airborne TM launch platforms. TAMD units will also defend the theater of operation from all TMs and non-TMs to include airborne RSTA platforms collecting targeting information.

1-35. Passive defense measures also provide protection to the force and should be employed by all commanders. Mobility and survivability are important passive defense measures in areas vulnerable to TM attacks. Mobile, dispersed, and hardened units have an increased chance of surviving a TM attack. Passive defense becomes more critical when TMs are armed with WMD/WME because of the increased possibility of casualties in comparison to conventional munitions effects.


1-36. The manual contains the following chapters:

  • Chapter 2 discusses the TM threat to Army operations, TM threat systems, and potential adversaries.
  • Chapter 3 examines the integration of Army TMD operations with joint TMD operations.
  • Chapter 4 discusses how C4I systems are established and how connectivity is accomplished.
  • Chapter 5 addresses attack operations to destroy TM infrastructures.
  • Chapter 6 describes the active defense measures taken to destroy TMs in flight.
  • Chapter 7 discusses the passive defense measures taken to reduce unit vulnerability to TM attack and to minimize the effects of their damage.

1-37. While the focus of this manual is Army TMD operations during war, the Army may conduct TMD across the full range of military operations. The Army conducts such operations as part of a joint team and often in conjunction with other US and foreign government agencies. Whether the Army conducts TMD as part of peacekeeping operations, peace enforcement, or a show of force, the principles described throughout this manual are applicable when tailored by mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops, time available, and civilian considerations (METT-TC).

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