NORTHCOM leader talks partnerships at Missile Defense Symposium

By Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT


Relationships and trusted partnerships are critical for the success of the U.S. ground-based midcourse defense mission, said the deputy director of Operations for the U.S. Northern Command at the 19th Space and Missile Defense Symposium at the Von Braun Center, Aug. 17.

Brig. Gen. Ronald Buckley discussed USNORTHCOM's relationship with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's 100th Missile Defense Brigade and 49th Missile Defense Battalion.

"The 100th Missile Defense Brigade and the 49th Missile Defense Battalion man our ground fire control centers," Buckley said. The missions are performed by Army National Guard forces both in Alaska and Colorado. "They live under a Title 32 status day-to-day but when they step through the door and go to work, they are operating under Title 10. It's a unique but highly effective arrangement that we've set in place. It's been a success for us."

Title 32 allows a state governor with approval of the president or secretary of defense to order members of the National Guard full-time duty for operational homeland defense. Title 10 allows the president to federalize National Guard forces by ordering them to active duty. As part of their Title 10 duties, the 100th MDB operates the ground-based midcourse defense fire control network, provides positive operational control of interceptors, and ensures the protective security of the systems deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

"The ground-based midcourse defense system is a highly complex globally distributed system and all the individual pieces and parts of the system must function properly and in complementary fashion in order for USNORTHCOM to do our mission to defend the homeland," Buckley said. "(USNORTHCOM), in coordination with our partners, works very hard to assure … that we're ready to defend 24/7/365.

"We are highly dependent on the hard work and dedication of all the agencies and partners who are mostly represented in this room -- military, civilian, industry -- because it truly is at the end of the day, one team, one fight when it comes to this mission and we need to be able to stay ahead of it for the defense of our homeland," Buckley continued.

"U.S. Northern Command Commander Gen. (Lori) Robinson is highly confident that we can effectively employ this system to defend the U.S. homeland from a rogue nation, and we stand ready to do that 24/7/365 along with our mission partners," Buckley said. "We are ready to execute on a moment's notice."