The Role of Integrated Air and Missile Defense for Strategic Deterrence

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Tom Karako: Well, good morning, everyone. I’m Tom Karako of the International Security Program and the Missile Defense Project at CSIS. Thanks for being with us today.

We’re delighted to host Lieutenant General Dan Karbler. General Karbler is the commanding general of Space and Missile Defense Command, based down in Huntsville, Alabama, but of course truly a global footprint. Dan’s a good friend of the CSIS Missile Defense Project, as SMDC has been over the years, and we’re really glad to have you here today, sir.

Let me say this is the first in-person livestreamed event at CSIS after the events of the past year. And so I’m going to invoke the Air Defense Artillery’s motto and say that this is our first-to-fire sort of event.

Lieutenant General Daniel Karbler: (Laughs.) Perfect.

Mr. Karako: So thanks for – thanks for being with us for it.

I’m just going to turn it over to you, sir, to kind of kick us off on what’s going on with Space and Missile Defense Command, how the past year has seen you, and then we’ll kind of open up to questions and take questions from the audience.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Sure, Tom. Thanks.

Well, first, I appreciate the opportunity to come to CSIS and be the first to come in person. You know the saying, virtual presence is actual absence. And so being able to do this face to face, especially as relationships are always so important.

And this is a great culmination of this week. I was at the Army’s Strategic Education Program for senior officers, had the opportunity to go up to the Hill yesterday, and just like today my visit to some of the members on the Hill was also the first opportunity for many of them to get somebody in person to come and talk. So really, really productive.

And I appreciate you bringing up, you know, just really what’s been going on in this past year. And General McConville, he’s really been emphasizing people first. So I want to talk about what the people of SMDC and the Joint Force Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense – JFCC-IMD, my other hat that I wear – what we have been able to do in this past year to stay ready and to keep the missions going. And I’ll just kind of walk it through a couple of the different mission areas that Space and Missile Defense Command and JFCC-IMD have responsibility for.

So, first, within our – within our JTAGS – within our missile early-warning crews – you know, they – as you said, we’re globally dispersed: 23 locations, 11 different time zones. And those theater missile warning – early-warning crews that are out there have been available 24/7 and have not missed a beat in a COVID environment. And what I’m particularly proud of is the leaders and the soldiers of those organizations taking the health, safety, and welfare of themselves in a COVID environment and making sure of that, because they’ve got to stay ready. Adversary missile launches happen all the time. As a matter of fact, adversary missile launches are getting more and more routinized. You know, it used to be a missile launch was kind of something that, oh my gosh, somebody launched a missile. Now it’s – now it’s routinized. But those soldiers stay ready 24/7, and they’re very, very small crews, globally dispersed. Not a lot of – not a lot of depth to them, so I think of them as a little – as a little tinderbox. Just one little COVID spark that gets in there would decimate a crew. But because of the – because of – the discipline in their training allowed them to stay ready, and I attribute that to the leaders there. So that’s on the missile early-warning piece.

My satellite communicators that are, again, global. Wideband sat – the WSOCs that are out there and the regional SATCOM support centers – again, globally dispersed, providing 24/7 critical satellite communications capability to – not just to the Army, but to all of DOD. Again, those crews, they stayed trained and they stayed ready because of the discipline that they – that they showed in a COVID environment.

And then, lastly, the missile – the TPY-2 sensors. We’re responsible for those. And as you know, they’re a key contributor to our missile-defense mission. Those crews, again globally dispersed, stayed ready, stayed – you know, stayed COVID-free throughout the – throughout the past 12 to 15 months to contribute to the missile-defense mission.

And then, finally, with the 100th GMD Brigade, our missile defense brigade that provides that homeland missile-defense protection. They’re in Colorado as well as up in Alaska. Those crews did a phenomenal job staying ready, keeping COVID at bay, again, because all those – all those crews in all those missions that I just mentioned, they recognize that what we do is a no-fail mission.

So that’s kind of the operational side of what we were able to accomplish in the past 12, 15 months in COVID. But I’d really be remiss, though, if I didn’t talk about the other pieces of Space and Missile Defense Command that help contribute to that.

So our Center of Excellence is out there, and they’re really responsible for the proponency of FA 40 and strategic missile defense. So as the year – as the last 15 months have gone by, the conveyor belt still goes, right, so we still have to bring somebody into the Army, we have to train them, and we have to spit them out so that they go to their units. And our Center of Excellence and the commandant and the schoolhouse that we have there, whether it’s space professionals that we’re developing, whether it’s missile-defense professionals that we’re developing, that schoolhouse did not miss a beat because we still have the demands from the COCOMs to make sure that we have trained and ready soldiers out there within the organizations, out there in the units doing their jobs. So they have not missed a beat. They haven’t missed a beat in terms of still staying on top of all the different concept development that we’re doing to support the Army, to support multidomain operations.

And then, lastly, our tech center that’s down in Huntsville, as well as the Reagan Test Site that’s out in Kwajalein, have not missed a beat. The example that I like to give there is FTM-44 – you remember, the ICBM test that we did –

Mr. Karako: Yeah. Yeah.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: – with the Missile Defense Agency.

So a little backstory. To get to Kwajalein, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has been COVID-free and – but they have very, very strict quarantine measures. You had to do two weeks in Hawaii, and then you’d go to Kwajalein and you had three more weeks there on quarantine, so basically five weeks of quarantine. But working with the Missile Defense Agency, working with my garrison command out in Kwajalein, working with Ambassador Cabral – who’s just done a fantastic job with the RMI government – and Colonel Jeremy Bartel, my garrison commander, did a fantastic job – we were able to get all the folks in to support that test safely, you know, with health and welfare the top consideration, following the guidelines that the RMI put out, and we were still able execute that test. And that includes the Reagan Test Site, folks that work for the tech center at SMDC, and we did that – and we did a large portion of that test remotely. So we have the RTS Ops Center in Huntsville, so we didn’t have to ship a bunch of SMDC folks out to Kwaj. We were able to do that test remotely.

So I couldn’t be prouder of how the SMDC team and the JFCC-IMD teams have come together to make sure that we stay ready, to make sure that we stay trained, and so we, you know, develop those cohesive units that we’re all looking for.

And so, as I – as I wrap that up, you know, it shouldn’t be lost on you or on this audience that really the Army soldiers that support SMDC and the civilians, we are at the technological height of capabilities and expertise. You know, when you look at what a sergeant or a specialist or a staff sergeant does in the missile-defense crews or what they’re doing in satellite communications or what they’re doing for missile early warning, these soldiers and civilians are as technologically savvy as you’re going to get. And then combine that with what we do at the Center of Excellence in our concept development. We’re really at the forefront of supporting multidomain operations and supporting the Multi-Domain Task Force.

And as we’re – as we’re maturing that, you know, a great example is the high-altitude capabilities that we’re exploring now in concept. So not everything’s going to have to be on a satellite. We can get the high-altitude capabilities, you know, at 60(,000) to 80,000 feet, to provide communications, to provide ISR capabilities, tactically responsive to that maneuver commander on the ground. So technology and concepts, our guys are just doing great.

You know, we talked about how we’re globally dispersed. You know, we really look at the focus on INDOPACOM and what my soldiers are able to do both from the missile-defense side – the sensors – from the air- and missile-defense enterprise sides and the regional missile defense out there in Korea, as well as THAAD in Guam, in Japan, and then what my space capabilities are in INDOPACOM, we’re really providing a great Army capability out there.

You know, and any fight that’s coming up in the future is going to be a multidomain fight, so between space and missile defense we are right smack dab in the middle of the multidomain fight. As I say, my command is space and missile defense, not space or missile defense. So it’s an automatic integration and a requirement to be integrated across those domains.

And then, lastly, you know, and we can – we certainly will talk about it more – you know, the whole past year we’ve seen a lot of successes within the AMD portfolio. The IBCS live fire that we did with the limited-user test; very, very successful. We see us rolling out Maneuver SHORAD, a lot of successes. LTAMDS is well on its way.

But you know, we are going to need predictable and sustained funding to keep all of those programs going. And we have great momentum right now, but what I’d like – what I – you know, so it’s got to be – the funding’s got to be predictable/sustained so we can keep those programs going because technology is going like that. The adversary is going like that. If we allow our funding to go like that, we are going to take major steps back in terms of how our modernization efforts are going.

So, Tom, it’s – I appreciate the opportunity to kind of brag a little bit on SMDC and on our JFCC-IMD team. Couldn’t be prouder of what they’re doing. And frankly, the American public should be really proud of what we’re doing in missile defense and space enterprise.

Mr. Karako: Well, I think the readiness that you highlighted over the past year is also not lost on our adversaries and our allies, so great to hear all that.

I thought I would just sort of kick it off, kick off a conversation beginning with, you know, what I think the National Defense Strategy called the central challenge of our time. You talked a little bit about operational readiness, and posture alluded to. There’s also, of course, the modernization piece of this. So big picture, when you think about Space and Missile Defense Command and integrating with STRATCOM and that sort of thing, what are the big muscle movements that you’re making and that we’re going to have to continue to make to, again, pivot from the rogue state or the CT threat that’s consumed us in the past to the central challenge of our time, which is major powers and the air and missile defense types of threats that we’re going to face from the likes of China?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah, sure. So throughout the CT era, air and missile defense is still – we still have had to compete, we still have got to be responsive globally, right? So we have not taken our eye off the ball with respect to the threats. And every discussion really has to start with the threat. So Russia, China, North Korea, Iran. And we have our capabilities – they’re global. And whether they’re supporting the homeland missile-defense mission or whether they’re supporting the geographic combatant commands in their regional missile-defense mission, we have – we have not taken our eye off the ball. And that goes back to my comment on modernization.

So the adversaries, right, their missile order battle – and I don’t care which kind of missile that you want to – whether it’s air-delivered, surface-delivered, sub-surface delivered, land-delivered, whether it’s maneuvering, straight ballistic – whatever the case is, they are developing and they are increasing in their capabilities and their quantities. And we keep an eye very close on that. And so our soldiers and our readiness as we’re forward-deployed out there, they’ve done a fantastic job on it because, again, it does start with the threat and our ability to be able to respond to the threat.

Big muscle move – you know, our integration with STRATCOM, our integration with Space Command, and frankly my support to NORTHCOM that I do – I talk about how SMDC is at the nexus of strategic integration, because when you talk about all those combatant commands that all come together, and SMDC is right there occupying that key terrain of that – of that integration nexus.

Mr. Karako: Great. Well, you know, we’re not going to talk about the budget, of course. The funding you alluded to is certainly going to come up in the next couple weeks as the budget drops. But I will say a couple weeks ago, staying on China for a moment, that the outgoing INDOPACOM commander, Admiral Davidson, I mean, he’s been kind of pounding the table on this for the last couple years, is Guam. We’re doing a lot of distributed ops and new operating concepts for the services over the past several years, and passive defense is fantastic. But you can’t move or hide something like Guam.

So as the – as the Space and Missile Defense guy, you know, how do you think about the challenge of defending Guam not just from the likes of the North Korean rogue state ballistic missile stuff, but the screaming Chinese cruise missiles and all that? The commander’s been pounding the table on the need for cruise missile defense and the like for that. So how do you think about that problem?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah, great question. And as we look at the INDOPACOM challenge, a couple different ways that we’re addressing it too. First from an Army Multi-Domain Task Force. All right, so the Multi-Domain Task Force and what it’s bringing in with its I2CEWS battalion is going to bring a capability to really help us open the doors in INDOPACOM for any kind of conflict that we’re going to have there. You know, Guam is not new to Army Air and Missile Defense. In 2013, when I was a commander out in the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, April 2013 we put THAAD on Guam, basically over a weekend.

The quietest THAAD deployment compared to what the Korea THAAD deployment. I won’t talk about my beliefs on why Korea was so noisy. We put THAAD into Guam over Easter weekend over the course of about three days. THAAD went into Guam. The world woke up on Tuesday and THAAD was up and operational. And I believe our adversaries out there work up the next morning and saw THAAD operational and they were not happy about it. So when we put THAAD into Korea, they decided to make a big stink about it. That shows the value of what Army Air and Missile Defense brings to the theater in terms of just bringing capability and assuring our allies, but also the deterrence piece that Air and Missile Defense brings in.

Mr. Karako: Great. I think you kind of alluded to this, the M-SHORAD going into Europe that was done maybe a couple weeks ago, and then also there’s been a little talk not only pulling out of Afghanistan, but also perhaps the reduction of some Patriot battalions in the Middle East. So how ought we to think about the relative regional balances across those different commands and areas in terms of what’s going on for your portfolio?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So M-SHORAD going into Europe, United States Army Europe and really under the purview of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, commanded by Brigadier General Greg Brady. Just a great success story as we’re bringing that capability in there. M-SHORAD has got multiple effectors on it. It’s a great platform. The soldiers, as they went through test, were just super stoked about having this capability on a striker, really, really being able to support the maneuver commanders now. You know, we – you for, for many, many years SHORAD, right, Short Range Air Defense, kind of got out of the maneuver commander’s – you know, part of his kitbag that they had. And now we’re getting it back in there.

So the ADA soldiers are excited about it. The maneuver commanders are excited about it. And our allies are excited about having capabilities. And our allies over the years, they’ve got – they’ve got considerable SHORAD capabilities. So us now bringing additional firepower to that is super. And we will – you know, we will make sure that as we – as we look globally across the different AMD requirements, we will make sure that the capabilities are provided out there. That the Multi-Domain Task Force has got an M-SHORAD battalion as part of its structure.

You talked a little bit about Patriot posture. There’s never going to be enough Patriot to meet all the demands that are out there. There’s not going to be enough THAAD. I have told my team: We can’t Patriot our way out of this. So part of my JFCC-IMD hat is I’m looking at the global force management and the global posture. We take – we do a considerable amount of work and analysis in where are the different missile-defense capabilities going to be globally distributed. And that’s not just Patriot, THAAD, Aegis BMD and – to meet the COCOM commanders’ requirements.

The Air and Missile Defense Force has the highest op tempo in the Army. Right now, one to 0.9. So for every year deployed, 0.9 soldiers back home on station. So we’ve got to look at the op tempo of our force because that’s going to be part of readiness is, you know, are the air defense soldiers staying or, because the op tempo demands are too great, are they getting out? Because if they’re all getting out and we burn soldiers out because of the high op tempo, then we will not be able to sustain our global posture.

And I talked about the modernization. Well, if I modernize and five years from now every Patriot soldier who was a private, private first class, specialist – if they decided to either get out of the Army or go to another branch, well, now where’s my staff sergeant, sergeant first class, master sergeant? Where are those NCO leaders that I’m going to need as I bring on all these modernized programs? So monitoring the global posture is critical, making sure that we balance that with the op tempo, and then to address the adversary challenges out there – something that we do – we’re doing 24/7.

Mr. Karako: Well, let me do a follow up to both of those points. Let me do the second one first, and that’s Patriot op tempo. There’s also Patriot politics. You know, everybody wants it, and the allied countries want it. It’s really hard to sometimes pivot as easily as we’d like to. How do you bend – you know, what’s the knee in that curve? How do we get after that? Is there a technology solution? Is it accepting or managing risk in different ways, or passive defense, and the like? How do we push down that op tempo for the Patriot force?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So you got to reduce demand, so it’s kind of – you either increase supply or decrease demand. And right now so what we’re looking at is, you know, how do you decrease demand? Well, one of the things that the – an analogy I like to use is the old graphic equalizer that you have on your stereo. Remember, treble, bass, left speaker, right speaker, front, back. And now our phones all do that automatically for us, or our AI-enhanced sensor-run speaker systems to do it.

But on that graphic equalizer, if I were to take integrated air and missile defense and look at the toggles that are out there, its active defense, it’s attack ops, its passive defense, its joint contributions, it’s allied contributions. Well, for too long that toggle for active defense has been thrown all the way up, and all the other toggles have been kind of – just some are all the way down, some go up and down and fluctuate a little bit. But the active defense one has always just been up. Everybody wants Patriots.

So this gets back to my point. We can’t Patriot our way out of this. We can’t active defense our way out of this. So what we have to do is innovative solutions to get after, you know, the active defense side of it – to make sure that we’re doing that smartly with our capabilities, current and what we’re bringing on board. But we also have to look very, very hard at what are the active – or, the attack ops capabilities we’re bringing on. I tell people, hey, you know, in future integrated air- and missile-defense capabilities coming down the road, what are you excited about? Well, I’m excited about all the active defense. I’m also very excited that in 2023 we’re going to have a hypersonic battery. Well, that is a terrific attack ops platform to have to counter any adversary ballistic missiles before it gets out of the silo, before it gets off the runway, before it gets off of the (tell ?). Hit it on the ground where it’s the easiest to defeat that target. So attack ops.

You know, we rely on passive defense too. Not sexy. You know, hardened shelters, dispersion, camouflage. But those are all key contributors. And a great example is last year’s Iranian attack into Iraq – the missiles that they launched in there. Our Army soldiers doing that JTAGS early warning were the ones that provided that early warning to the theater, to the soldiers in Iraq, so everybody could take cover, nobody killed. Passive defense is part of that.

And then we’ve got to – integrated air and missile defense is a joint sport. It’s a joint endeavor. It’s a joint team sport. So Aegis BMD, Air Force, Air Force attack ops, all the sensors that are out there for us have all got to be key players into that mission set. And then finally bringing our allies and partners on. And our allies and partners, integrated air- and missile-defense capabilities, they are really, really coming up to par. I mean, we look at what Saudi Arabia is doing every day, we look at where the United Arab Emirates is with their Patriot. You know, our allies are buying Patriot, they’re buying THAAD out there. They’re getting sensors there.

The next step now is going to be how do we integrate those allies? How do we make sure that we get good synergy out of the capabilities that our allies are buying so that it’s not just kind of a stovepipe pockets of excellence around there, where if we could get everybody integrated that joint kill web becomes better? Though I mentioned the Middle East, of course our partners out in the Republic of Korea and Japan with their capabilities – you know, great partners to address the INDOPACOM threat.

Mr. Karako: Lots there. I have about six questions – follow-ups come to mind just for that. But let me pick a couple. The same with that – the knee in the curve, how do you push this down. There probably is also some other, I guess, sort of assumptions that we could inflict or affect. I’m thinking, for instance, you know, what we’re doing with the JEONs on the peninsula, for instance. Putting things together in different ways that has a manning effect. I’m thinking dismounted ICC for Patriot. And then, of course, there’s the IBCS stuff as well. So there’s a material and operational kind of solution, and command and control for the ICC, for instance. Your thoughts on those?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So being able to do distributed ops is going to be key. First off, you know, we’ll do some analysis but the belief is it should bring down some of the manpower requirements. It’ll actually ease our training requirements. So if I have the same command and control that IBCS will bring in, whether it’s at the battery, battalion, brigade, or higher levels – the same command and control suites. Think about how much easier it is for training. Think about how much it’s easier for soldiers now to migrate from, you know, echelon.

Mr. Karako: And you’re moving people from THAAD to Iron Dome right now.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: We are. Yep. As a matter – you know, we can – you know, please ask me to follow up to the Iron Dome, because I got to visit those soldiers last month. But when you look at the USFK JEONs and what we were doing for THAAD/Patriot integration. You know, so great synergy, taking advantage of the capabilities that our radar provides and the missile can now take advantage of. You know, it seemed that we were always kind of this cat and mouse, you know. Hey, got a great radar and seeing out far but, gosh darn, the interceptor just can’t do it. And then also we had a great interceptor but, ah, you know, we need some additional sensor capability to get after it. So as we’re bringing both of those online to be able to engage farther out and, yeah, as you – as you implied, reduce some of our structure demands out there. Or at least take our structure that we have and then distribute it out there, you know, as needed.

Mr. Karako: Great. And then, you know, you were alluding, I think, to the LTAMDS and the PAC-3 ranges back and forth. You mentioned LTAMDS a little bit ago as well. How’s that fielding coming along?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So LTAMDS, right now, you know, we’re mandated to 23, to get that out there. And I’m going to be real optimistic that we may even see LTAMDS a little bit earlier. The testing of LTAMDS is going to integrated with the battalion that’s doing our IBCS testing, so 3-43 ADA, my former battalion that I was a commander for. So there might be a little prejudice there that they’re doing a great job. But they are.

But just think, so we have the battalions doing IBCS testing, you know, so the future of air defense. And then bringing in the future sensor of air and missile defense. And having those together, that – really smart by what Brian Gibson and the CFT team has done there to make that happen. And Rob Rasch at PEO Missiles and Space, to marry those two capabilities up, really build the momentum. And 3-43 in a couple years is going to be absolutely the most capable air- and missile-defense battalion in the world.

Mr. Karako: Great, great. Well, let me now go back to the – to the M-SHORAD for a minute. So you talked about the kind of initial fielding on the strikers. But the intent, I believe, is to have a little bit more of an objective capability. This is back to the modernization thing there as well. So talk to us about some of – how you think about the more long-term objective requirements for kinetic effector. Are we going to see a non-kinetic effector for the SHORAD mission? What’s sort of the increments or the next blocks of that?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah, sure. So the M-SHORAD, very kinetic. You see the effectors that are on there between the Stinger and Hellfire. And by the way, that vehicle just looks bad. I mean, when you look at it, you just – the soldiers are fired up when they look at that. And then we’re looking at – as we look at bringing the 50 kW laser on that – on the striker platform, and the capability that’ll bring from DE. So now you’ve got kinetic, non-kinetic effectors that are out there. And so we got some testing to do still with the DE side.

And we partner very closely with the RCCTO, with Neil Thurgood and his team out there to make sure the directed energy requirements are being met. He’s had multiple soldier touchpoints on both M-SHORAD, the kinetic side, and as well as the DE side on striker. So having that suite of capabilities available with those different effectors, again, gives the – can give the newer commander a great range of capabilities. What we will – what we’ll continue to do is have those soldier touchpoints as we field it. As we field the M-SHORAD we’ll take the lessons learned out of the M-SHORAD fielding that’s going on right now within Europe. And we’ll bring those back to the schoolhouse, wrap it up into our training platforms that we have Fort Sill, as well as then distribute that information out to the rest of the force.

Mr. Karako: Well, let me turn to the program that’s kind of between M-SHORAD and Patriot. I’m thinking IFPC, Indirect Fire Protection Capability, which is both the successor to SeaRAM, but also of course for cruise missile defense. And Iron Dome is in the mix. You asked for question to follow up on that. So how do you see the IFPC program coming along? What’s the problem that’s trying to solve? And kind of the same questions for the M-SHORAD is, you know, what’s the future increments of that for both kinetic and non-kinetic?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah, sure. So first, I had a great opportunity last month to visit the Iron Dome – our soldiers who are on the two batteries – two battery sets of Iron Dome out at White Sands Missile Range. And to a soldier, they were fired up about this weapon system, being able to get on it, use it. Smells like a new car, was one of the comments that I got. (Laughter.) But when you look at the capabilities that Iron Dome is able to provide, and you look at how we do the battle management in Iron Dome, it’s very different than what we have in THAAD and what we have in Patriot.

But the soldiers, they adapted to it pretty quick. Kind of a couple of neat stories. So one of the staff sergeants I met, she was an MP and then she had gotten out of the Army. And then she came back in and she went into air defense. So she didn’t have any Patriot background. She didn’t have any THAAD background. But she was able to get on in Iron Dome and she’s now one of the instructors. She’s one of the trainers for the soldiers on there. I had a Marine Corps sergeant – or, former Marine Corps sergeant – who came into air defense. Didn’t have any real air defense expertise but came into Iron Dome.

So we see that the capability is there. It’s trainable. And frankly, some of the soldiers that came in that didn’t have an air defense background necessarily might have been helpful because they kind of started with a clean slate. So we’ll look at the – we’re going to look at the IFPC shoot-off here at the end of next month. Don’t – you know, it’s still in competition, so I won’t talk about it too much. But we identified the requirements to be able to get after the cruise missile threat with the IFPC solution as the critical requirement.

Mr. Karako: And that’s, you know, not just the lower end of the cruise missile thing. It’s about INDOPACOM, right, for the cruise missile threat. And IFPC, likewise, is supposed to have a directed energy component later on, in future increments. And it’s kind of the prospect of composite units and mixing and blurring between M-SHORAD and IFPC, and IFPC and Patriot. I mean, in the spectrum of threats that kind of continuity is going to be important, is what you’re saying.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah, it sure is. And then the continuity of capability as well as the mix of capability. Too many times we try to solve everything with just the single silver bullet. And it’s not out there because the threat presents itself in many different ways – whether it’s a quadcopter, whether it’s a – you know, kind of your standard cruise missile, a maneuvering cruise missile, a hypersonic. You know, so there are different threats out there. We can’t just have that one single unique system to do it.

So having the mix of capabilities there and being able to provide that mix of capabilities to the ground command and to the combatant commander’s going to be critically capable. Whether that’s at INDOPACOM to support, you know, across that entire region, or whether it’s that brigade combat team commander, you know, over in United States Army Europe, who’s in the close fight, who’s going to need a capability that gets after, you know, that tactical threat, whether – again, whether it’s a UAS, rotary wing, or fixed wing, or a cruise missile.

Mr. Karako: And the UAS is part of this, right? There’s a new strategy on the street, I think from January. General Gainey led that up. And that’s part of your combined arms for air defense problem as well.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. Yeah, so Sean Gainey’s just done a fantastic job at the JCO, the Joint Counter Small UAS Organization.

Mr. Karako: I think you got it. (Laughs.)

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Love nested acronyms, right? But Sean’s just done a superb job in identifying all the capabilities that have really come out in the past 10 years or so, the counter-UAS capabilities, and shaping that, and making sure we identify, you know, the ones that the department needs to hold onto that are the most effective, because countering small UASs are – they are a challenge out there. And though we have some capabilities now, what we really need to do is optimize what industry is bringing out there and, frankly, have the good strategy for what we need to be able to solve the problem.

Because it’s not just that single quadcopter that could be flying over there, you know, with a grenade on it. But when you think of what swarm technology is able to do, and how do I defeat the swarm, you know, that could really be disruptive. You know, each individual one isn’t too bad, but a deployment of a swarm somewhere could be a really bad day, depending on the organization it tries to target.

Mr. Karako: For just about anybody. You’ve mentioned both THAAD and Aegis standard missile FTM-44, so let me kind of move to that a little bit. There were some provisions last year for both THAAD and Aegis for kind of being modernized and advanced for some more stressing threats, including ICBMs threats. That could manifest itself for the – for continental United States. Those might be useful for other stressing threats in other parts of the world as well. So from your seat, how do you see the modernization – the continued modernization of those systems for the threats you’re up against?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So and that’s working very closely with Jon Hill and Missile Defense Agency. You know, and you’ve heard General Hyten talk about it. You know, first of all you got to be able to sense that stress so – that super-stressing threat that’s out there, the hypersonic, you got to be able to see it first. And as I learned in my time working for General Hyten at STRATCOM, you know, attribution is very important. So you got to be able to see that track from birth to death. And so attribution, where it comes from, letting the adversary know I saw that. And oh, by the way, you might have a little bit coming back at you here now.

But being able to track that now from birth to death so that array of sensors, whether it’s HBTSS, combined with the terrestrial sensors out there, combined with, you know, whatever sensors we’re able to bring to bear on that target, are now integrated, give us the best refined fire control quality data picture, and then having that effector be able to take care of that, whether it’s – whether it’s an SM-3 or whether that’s THAAD. And again, I think that has application both to the regional, but it’s also going to have application to the homeland.

Mr. Karako: Great. Great. Well, you mentioned – two things you just floated there that I want to follow up on. First, the sensor side and then the something coming back at you side as well. So let’s do the sensor side first. You mentioned HBTSS. You also mentioned a little bit ago other things that might not be – that are suborbital. Why is it so important to have elevated sensors? You know, we used to have JLENS. But there’s lots of other things that you could do here that are, you know, stretching the horizon. Why is that so important?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So an elevated sensor, you know, is going to get over the curvature of the Earth limitations that you’re going to have. It’s able to look down into clutter better – you know, whether that’s clutter over water or whether it’s clutter over land. The radars that we’re able to get up on, on a potential elevated sensor, you know, have got that persistence there that we’re able to provide.

And also, as we go forward with IBCS, you know, IBCS will be distributed across the battlefield. But those sensors, you know, they’ll go out about as far as we can support them with respect to logistics and with respect to the training that we occupy. Well, why not have an ability to have an additional sensor up there who’s high who can now look farther out and contribute to that IBCS network? And frankly, just – it doesn’t stop with just IBCS. That I would see something – a sensor of that nature really contributing to CJADC2.

Mr. Karako: And it’s – that can be on a – that can be on a drone that’s flying around. That can be F-35 battle stuff. It can be a balloon, right? There’s a lot of prospects there.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. It’s going to have to. I don’t get to pick and choose what missile the adversary’s going to launch at us. And this – the HBTSS development and its involvement in the architecture is really important as we go forward, working with SPACECOM in their role as the global sensor manager. So as General Dickinson’s out there and we’re working on what the global sensor manager concept means and how SPACECOM will manage and operate as the global sensor manager, HBTSS is going to be part of that architecture.

But again, the terrestrial architectures that are out there, those TPY-2 radars, SPY-1 radars, there is a whole host of platforms out there that can do the – that do the missile-defense mission but can also contribute to the space domain awareness mission. And if we don’t take advantage of all those sensing capabilities, we’re – it’s not a very smart use of our resources. We have got to make sure that we define the requirements to do that and then develop the architecture to be able to ensure that all those different sensing capabilities are contributing, and then that allows – that feeds us then up to SPACECOM, who then can truly do global sensor management operation.

Mr. Karako: So whether it’s a suborbital thing or it’s a low-Earth orbit thing, the elevated sensors give you space and time. But it’s not just for that quality data intercept. It’s also for early warning contributing to deterrence, as you say. So let me now move to the other side of what you said, and that is the something coming back at you. And this is kind of the – that piece of integrated air and missile defense that also contributes to deterrence – the theme of today’s discussion. And that’s Army long-range fires, its long-range hypersonic weapon, LRHW. But it’s other things as well. Why is that important? And where do you see the Army’s place as contributing to that IAMD so that the active defense, you know, throttle on your stereo doesn’t have to do all the work?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Sure. So let’s go back to basic deterrence theory, right, Schelling and Kahn. There’s three – there’s three tenets of deterrence, right? Impose unacceptable cost, deny benefit, and then credibly communicate those capabilities. And really what you’re talking about there is that offensive-defensive integration, true strategic deterrence. And as the department is looking at integrated strategic deterrence and going down that path as we look at the Nuclear Posture Review and Missile Defense Review, that offensive-defensive integration is going to be key.

So where I – where the adversary has launched something at me, I want to be able to immediately counter-battery that. And again, that hypersonic battery capability that we’re going to have within the Army is going to be a tremendous capability to the Army ground commander, but also to that joint force commander. And it’s not just – you know, it’s not just a ground effect that we want. We want to be able to attack that platform from the air, we want to attack it from the sea, again to reduce the adversary’s capability to, you know, shoot at us, right? That’s all part of attack ops is get to that – get to that left of launch, get to that attack ops capability, again, whether that thing’s sitting on the runway, whether it’s in the silo, or whether it’s on a (tell ?).

Mr. Karako: And its – well, let me put it this way. Over the past couple months there’s been some discussion about Army long-range fires, and how they contribute to all this. You’ve had, for instance, Admiral Davidson, Navy, talk about the importance of ground-based fires for his job in INDOPACOM. You’ve had the vice chairman, General Hyten, Air Force, talk about the importance of ground-based fires as contributing to this mix. But you’ve also had, what I would say, a vocal minority of folks that seem to be questioning the utility of ground-based fires, whether it’s the Army or the Marines. So from you sense within, you know, the Army’s contribution to all this stuff, what’s the role of ground-based fires to that shoot-back capability? Why ground?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So first off, it’s going to be responsive to that ground commander and it’s going to be responsive now. So they’re going to have the capability, again, to service those targets that are going to affect the ground commander’s scheme maneuver. And it’s now, now, now in direct support to that. It’s also going to then support the Joint Force Commander. So if the Air Force is working on beating back the adversary’s integrated air defense system – and they’re working to fight that back, why not – why not service that with a hypersonic round that the Army can provide to that joint all-domain fight?

There’s always enough real estate on the adversary’s side of the line for indirect fires. And so we should all be team players in servicing those targets that are you there, again, whether it’s in support of the Army commander in his or her scheme of maneuver, or the joint force commander’s campaign

Mr. Karako: Great, great. You also briefly mentioned the allied contribution here. And you talked about how the relationship between the allies and getting partner capacity affects kind of what we can do and the flexibility we have for moving things around. So what do you see as some of the really important partner and allied cooperation going on in your field? And why is it so important for your portfolio?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. Great question. We’re very fortunate in the Army Air and Missile Defense enterprise to have our three one-star commands globally dispersed, right? So you got Brigadier General Mark Holler. And he’s the commander out at the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command out in INDOPACOM. I mentioned Brigadier General Greg Brady at the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command there in Europe. And then we have Brigadier General Dave Stewart. He’s the commander of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. So he’s got responsibility for CENTCOM.

And those commanders daily are engaging not with their U.S. joint counterparts and, you know, within that operational command and control. They work for the JFACC. So they’re already jointed. They support the Army, they support the JFACC. But they’re also working with their coalition partners. So the variety of exercises we do out in PACOM, Pacific Century, et cetera, that 94th commander and his staff – or her staff – they are integrated fully. So whether it’s Koku Jieitai, the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, or whether it’s the ROK air- and missile-defense force, they are tied in with their exercises all the time.

If you’re in CENTCOM, Dave Stewart is working with our different allies to have a robust air- and missile-defense capability. We’ve got the Air and Missile Defense Center of Excellence there in the United Arab Emirates. And that’s where all the – that’s where all the coalition partners there within the Gulf region come together. And we do air- and missile-defense tabletops. And then Greg Brady does a fantastic job with NATO and with all of our NATO partners contributing to air and missile defense. And particularly with the short-range air defense. Not many of our allies over there have got Patriot, but many of them have got the short.

And then, if I were to take it, you know, the next step up within my other command hat of the JFCC-IMD, we do Nimble Titan – 24 countries, four agencies. And that exercise brings in all of our partners. And we – we basically run through a conflict event tabletop exercise where we do some planning, we look at limitations and capabilities, threat. We bring that all together with a fantastic week-long forum with all of our – with all of our partners.

Mr. Karako: I think Sweden just got Patriot the other day, of course.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah.

Mr. Karako: But you know, that’s a lot of regions, a lot of different threats. Is it fair to say that there’s a fair bit of differentiation in terms of the path our allies and partners go in terms of what systems they’re most interested in, what they can afford? You know, this is kind of the FMS sales kind of question, which I know is – other folks are doing that too. But how do we think about the diversity of helping different allies and partners solve different problems in their acquisition?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Sure. So first, you know, our capabilities that we bring, that’s a pretty good selling point to our adversaries – or, to our allies as they’re looking out across at what they’re going to develop. And as we partner with our – with our allies and partners out there, we might do, you know, side-by-side, you know, visits. So we’ll bring operators from the – you know, from the ROK air defense forces, and we’ll bring them to Patriot and they look at it. When I was out at 94th and General Thurman was USFK commander, you know, we had PAC-3 and the ROKs did not have PAC-3. So they were – by virtue of them – they were able to see what we had. We had a partnership and exchange opportunities, which then resulted in the ROKs, you know, buying PAC-3.

So, again, the capabilities we bring, we’re the best spokesmen for those capabilities, show it to our allies. And then there’s always then the needed understanding that we have to keep all that integrated. So if you have some other – you know, some other air defense weapon system out there that can’t be integrated in there, now you are – now you’re stovepiped. You’re a small little island out there were bringing in a capability that can be integrated with the U.S. capabilities is that much more critical.

Mr. Karako: Well, Theresa Hitchens from Breaking Defense has sent in a question.

She wants to get your thoughts on your role with JADC2. Supposedly the strategy is coming out here pretty soon, and what you see as the biggest challenge to implementing that strategy.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. Thanks, Theresa. Appreciate the question.

So I will use my experience with IBCS, and as we developed IBCS over the years now. And I kind of see IBCS as a pathfinder for CJADC2. Others could argue with me, but conceptually when you’re talking about all sensors, anti-sensor, best shooter, optimal C2 to run that. We ran into a lot of challenges. And first, it was a novel concept, I mean, just getting your head around disaggregating a Patriot battery. Oh my gosh, a Patriot battery, you’ve got the radar fan, you got launchers, that’s how we do it, we got – no. We’re going to disaggregate this, and we’re going to have, you know, launchers everywhere, you know, where needed. We’re going to have the engagement op centers where needed. You know, sensors optimally positioned. And that was – that’s just – so from a novel way of employment within my small air defense branch.

So think about – now, put that up to the JADC2 level. We are going to have to fundamentally look at how we employ that. Then just go to the – go to the hardware solutions and how we – how we enable our platforms to then plug into JADC2. And, again, I’ll use my air- and missile-defense experience. We had propriety, stovepiped software in our systems. It was not readily, you know, plug and fight. You know, we say plug and fight too easily, but it was not plug and fight. So we had to go through a lot of work to make sure that we were able to decompose the software code, while we’re still building the IBCS code, and marry those two together. And sometimes it’s a software solution. Sometimes there’s some hardware solutions out there, A&B kits, thank frankly you have to do that.

So all the services are going to have to take a look at how do they bring their legacy platforms, if they’re not backwards compatible – or, you know, if they’re not compatible into JADC2, how are they going to bring those into JADC2, again, because they don’t want to be, you know, set by the – set by the wayside. I think we’ll be OK with our modernized efforts because we’ll understand that we’ll have the JADC2 architecture that we all do have to plug into. But if we – if we don’t get the legacy platforms, which many of them are still going – they’re going to be with us for a long time. Let’s not fool ourselves. If we don’t make – if we don’t account for that requirement to do that, JADC2 will be less successful than it would if it’s not.

You’ve heard me before use the analogy of the remote, right? So in my house my coffee table in front of my TV, I have three remotes. And this goes towards interoperability. I have a remote to run the TV, I have a remote to run my cable box, and I have a remote to run my Sony speaker system. And really, when we talk about – now, at the end of the day, right, I get the channel that I want, and get the volume that I want, you know, I can watch the program that I want. But that’s – those systems are interoperable. True integration now is I don’t have those three remotes. I have my universal remote, so with one remote I’m able to get the TV show that I want, at the volume that I want, with the right cable provider – whether it’s Netflix or whatnot.

But to do that, I had to have my LG TV be able to talk to the Comcast cable company box, and able to talk to the Sony speaker system that I have. So three different companies, potentially different data that’s on there. But that universal remote does that. So what IBCS and JADC2 – what I’ve said we figured out in the JADC2, well, how do you make sure that you’re able to bring these disparate things together and be able to use that universal remote? Maybe kind of a mundane analogy, but it works for me.

Mr. Karako: I don’t know, I’ve got three or four, or five, remotes on my coffee table too. Which kind of – and to follow up on Theresa’s question there and your point – integration is hard. Everybody wants it. Sometimes we don’t know I think what we mean when we say integration. So can you maybe decompose that concept for us? You know, there’s tactical, operational, and strategic. What does that mean? There’s technical integration. What does that mean to you?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So let me – let me just go back a little bit. So integration is hard. And we like talking about the platforms, and the hardware, and the software. Well, now let’s take, you know, second lieutenants, through captains, through majors, to battalion commanders, brigade commanders, or the NCOs that are supporting that. Think about the training now that we’re going to have to do and the certification. And how are we going to now train in a truly integrated warfighting environment? How are we going to – we got to totally change the way we’re thinking. And I know within our branch, as Rich Harrison is doing for us in the air defense branch out at Fort Sill, we are taking a holistic look at our curriculum and how we’re going to train our future leaders – our future air defense leaders in how to truly take on this capability and be able to fight it and fight it in an integrated fashion.

So you ask, you know, what does integration mean to me? It’s that – it’s that universal remote. That’s integration. Interoperability is just they can make it – all the systems can – they can make it happen, but sometimes it’s a swivel chair interoperability. It’s still that system is – yeah, it might be sending information back to the mothership here, but it’s still just kind of doing its own thing. Now, the – now the higher headquarters could have the good, you know, situational awareness of what it’s doing, but it’s not truly integrated because we haven’t allowed this unit that’s here to take advantage of sensor-sensor, or this launcher that’s here be able to take advantage of the C2 elements here, because the C2 element might have went down.

And we – you know, again, I’ll go back to the Patriot example. We really – we can see that in Patriot, right? It’s a sectored system. It’s very discrete. It’s put on its defended asset. But when we bring in ICBS, how we open up the battlespace and provide the joint force commander with many more options. But again, getting the soldiers to understand, you know, now how do I employ an engagement ops center. How do I employ that launcher that’s out there, or a couple launchers? And how do I – how do I put those sensors out there in the battlefield not necessarily married to a particular specific Patriot battery on a defended asset?

Mr. Karako: And sometimes integration is in the mind of the commander, putting the pieces together. And that goes with the offense-defense integration as well.

You mentioned the training. We’ve got a question here that’s come in, you know, are you able to recruit and train enough soldiers to meet the critical needs of the ADA in this constrained environment? And it’s always going to be constrained.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. We’re doing a good job assessing air defense soldiers. And, you know, the beauty of the air defense branch, it’s a combat arms, you know, we bring in all diversity into the branch. We look at the knowledge, skills, and attributes of both the officers and the soldiers as we assess them into the branch. It’s a technologically savvy branch. And the soldiers and the officers that work on the air- and missile-defense system are – you know, they’re some of the smartest that I’ve ever worked with.

Assessing them, we’re always looking out through the STEM community to bring in folks with that background. We’re able to meet our session’s goals right now, but – to bring them in. But the retention – and this gets back to the op tempo. The retention is where we’ve got to make sure that we’re able to get after the op tempo of challenges that we have so that I can retain the force. Because if you think about that young specialist, that young PFC or sergeant. They might have a deployment under their belt, or maybe two. They’ve got – they’ve got great experience. They have great knowledge. They’ve seen what it’s like at that level. I want to be able to bring them – make them NCOs, and make them those NCO leaders for this new batch of soldiers that we’re bringing in.

Mr. Karako: Well, to connect that with – I think it was however many months ago – senior leaders in the Navy were saying, well, you know, we really need the Army to take over Aegis Ashore manning. Now, I don’t – I’m not good enough at math to be a missile engineer. Nobody’s ever suspected me of that. But I can do arithmetic. And as I see it, you know, you adding on an additional mission to your command that’s already got a high op tempo, having to make really hard choices about what you field and not filed, how can the ADA take that on without additional resources?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: It can’t. So I understand the Navy’s challenge with Aegis Ashore. And, you know, it really goes back to mission requirements that are out there, the budget that we’re given, and the Navy’s desire to build more ships. But if air and missile defense were to – if the Army were to take on an Aegis Ashore mission, the Army would not have any money left to do any of its modernization efforts. It’s very expensive. The force structure that’s out there – that would be required to man Aegis Ashore, especially if we’re talking about an underlayer to defense all of homeland. So we’re not just talking Aegis Ashore on Guam or Aegis Ashore that’s over in Europe. Now we would be talking about a potential underlayer. It’s cost and resource prohibitive. It’s force structure prohibitive.

Mr. Karako: You could get there, but you would need more resources from – far more than what you have now.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: We would need an incredible amount of resources, that I don’t believe that the department is ready to cough up. Because it would also be over the long haul, right? So this isn’t something that we’re just going to fun in the current POM. That would require significant funding. So we do have to look at what that future requirement is for Aegis Ashore, particularly if we were going to do CONUS based.

Mr. Karako: Roger. Lot of questions have come in about the S in SMDC – space. It sounds like there’s been an agreement about kind of the relationship and the division of labor between you all and Space Force and Space Command. Can you kind of give us the latest on where things stand there?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah, sure. First, a lot of times – I spend the first five minutes untangling the furball of, hey, Space Force, Space Command, Space and Missile Defense Command, and making sure everybody understands the different roles that each has, right? So Space Force is a service – organize, train and equip. Space Command, led by General Dickinson, does all the war fighting – brings in its service components to the war fighting. And then Space and Missile Defense Command is the Army component up into Space Command.

Between the Army staff and the Space Force staff, lots of – lots of discussion has gone on. I know between General Raymond and General McConville a handshake agreement right now on what will go over to the Space Force. So now we’re just really working out the details for the timing that that will happen, and how – frankly, how it will happen. It’s got to be conditions based, right? The Space Force has got to be ready to do – truly do the organize, train, and equip as we transfer those capabilities over there – over to the Space Force.

And we talked – we started out with people first, right? What I don’t want to do – and, by the way, any transfers will be voluntary. So soldiers will voluntarily transfer over to Space Force. But what I don’t want to do is get them over there and now we’ve disadvantaged them potentially for promotions, or for reenlistments, or assignments. You know, if we – if we send them over there in the current capacity of what they’re doing for Army space, we really want to make sure that they’re set, they stabilize within the Space Force to continuing doing that capacity.

Because then that goes down to support the SPACECOM, because General Dickinson is not going to allow for degradation in capabilities that we, as an Army, are providing to him. The expectation is when it goes over to the Space Force it stays the same, right? There’s really going to be no such thing as an IOC or an FOC. It’s an operational capability as it transfers from one service to the other. So that gets – that gets back to making sure that its conditions based and that the Space Force is ready to do that.

So we’re – again, between the Army staff and the Space Force staff we’re working on a memorandum agreement to understand what the conditions-based – the conditions will be for the conditions-based transfer, as well as what the timeline is going to be with that. Certainly, there’s going to be budget implications. There are force structure implications.

Mr. Karako: Is there a range for that timeline that you’re thinking?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Well, so the DepSecDef a couple years ago he said 1 October 2022. So that’s when – that’s when the structure and budget will transition over. So 1 October this year is when we will begin that transition over. And that’s really going to be the satellite operations brigade that I have, and those soldiers that are doing those truly global and strategic missions. We will not see an appreciative – appreciable – well, we won’t see any drop off in support provided to any of the services. People ask me, well, isn’t the Army going to lose? No, it’s like a lateral transfer in the Army. We’re just going to transfer those soldiers over there. But again, do no harm as we transfer them over. So make sure those conditions are set so we do no harm as we transfer over there. So it’s not going to be on 1 October flick the light switch. Raise your right hand, you’re a guardian. We will do this very deliberately.

Mr. Karako: I’ve got another question here that I would say is another instance of inter-service cooperation in this field. The question is: given that the Army is moving forward with the MRC program, the medium-range capability that, in other words, is leveraging Navy Tomahawk and SM-6 for surface-to-surface engagements, does that mean the Army might be thinking differently or be considering employing some other Navy assets – like SM-6, for instance – for the air- and missile-defense missions as well?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So not as familiar with MRC. Maybe when General Thurgood is on you can ask him about it.

Mr. Karako: (Laughs.) OK.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: But we are always looking at the different joint capabilities that are out there. Again, given the budget constraints that we’re under we’d be silly to not leverage what other services are doing with respect to whether it’s their effectors, or interceptors, sensors, or C2.

Mr. Karako: Great. And then you talked about your cooperation with SPACECOM. Also a question here about kind of how do you characterize your relationship with MDA these days. What are you working on with them?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So Jon Hill and I are great friends. We go back to, I think, our O-4 days, when I was at JTAMDO and he was a lieutenant commander. And so we have – we just have a relationship with him. And in my JFCC-IMD hat, working for STRATCOM in a missile-defense enterprise – and that governs process. So, you know, you’re familiar with the WIP, and the OFSC, and then the MDEB. Our relationship and partnership with MDA is terrific. And I’ll give you – I’ll give you an example.

So my 100th Missile Defense Brigade that does the homeland missile-defense mission, at one of – my weekly SITREP last week was, those operators are with a contractor making sure that the touch points for – as we’re developing next-generation interceptor, and it’s going through – it’s going through its competition phase, the contractors that are involved with that are reaching out to make sure the soldier touchpoints are there. So that hasn’t always been the case with the Missile Defense Agency in trying to recognize warfighter requirements and recognize what the warfighter needs are. So I see that as a success.

MDA is a – is a great participant and contributor through those different governance processes, through the – through the WIP, through the OFSC at STRATCOM, and then up to the MDEB. So no issues. And you’ve heard – you’ve heard Jon Hill talk about transition transfer, right? To he and I it’s, like, that’s no story anymore, right? So the service understands what it’s doing for operations and sustainment. And the Missile Defense Agency understands what it’s got to do to support – for continued support and sustainment.

Mr. Karako: Well, good to hear. We keep hearing about transition and transfer, but it sounds like it’s a settled thing.

Lt. Gen. Karbler: That’s so yesterday. (Laughter.) If you ask Jon Hill and I, anyways. There are others that would disagree with me.

Mr. Karako: I understand. Since you mentioned the 100th Brigade for the homeland missile-defense mission, you know, NGI has kind of kicked off, but that’s – it’s going to be a little while. From the warfighter needs that you mentioned, you know, what’s important? What are you hearing about their needs for, you know, reliability improvements, surface life extension kind of stuff, that’s going to keep GMD where it needs to be to get from here to the future? What are some of the lesser-noticed things on the ground systems or whatever that’s going to keep that clicking where it needs to be?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. So lesser-noticed things, so things like – you know, I’m going to give you the warfighter from the operational perspective, right? So as they’re sitting at their consoles, things like shot doctrine. You know, and how do changes in interceptor affect shot doctrine. And that’s something that, again, we work with MDA and very – you know, obviously NORTHCOM, because they’re the COCOM responsible for it, working with NORTHCOM. So the shot doctrine, the TTPs. You know, how does it – sometimes as simple as when my operators are sitting at the console, how does this new software fix, or how does it affect my console? How does it affect what I’m looking at?

Because I’ve got certain training and certification that I’ve gone through with the crewed configuration. So now how’s that going to affect the TTPs? And that’s something that, again, as we develop the new capabilities – whether, you know, it’s an incremental capability that’s plugged in, or whether it’s a new one – our involvement with MDA and our involvement with NORTHCOM to make sure we’re meeting the NORTHCOM commander’s intention, critically important.

Mr. Karako: Well, we’ve covered a lot of ground. I appreciate your being so generous with your time. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you at the end here, I know you’re a happy warrior, but I think you also have an air defender in the family. So do you want to close us out with that as well?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Yeah. Shoot, Tom, thanks for asking. Well, because I got two kids. So you got to give equal time. So congratulations to my son, who just finished up his pleb year at West Point. Like none before ’24. So well done, Tim.

And then, yeah, my daughter, she’s an air defender. She’s currently deployed to CENTCOM. It’s kind of – I’m living the op tempo story. So she finished her basic officer leader course December 6th. She moved from Fort Sill down to El Paso, Texas. She and her husband had just bought a house on the week of Thanksgiving. She moved into the house. They do Christmas. And on December 29th she deploys to CENTCOM. And she is – she’s over in CENTCOM right now and has done actually a move from one country to another over there. So she’s been plenty busy. But super proud of her.

And, you know, people are like, oh, she followed in Dad’s footsteps. And that is not the case. Throughout her 22 years she’s run into many female officers, and soldiers, and NCOs who have now become her mentors and her role models. So I’m just dad to her, but when she was able to see what females in air defense were able to do, commanding in all levels, sergeants major, two-star general, brigade commanders, she’s like, hey, dad, it’s a combat arm and really, really great opportunities for females. I think I like air and missile defense. And I said, well, how do you like it now, honey? You’re deployed right away. But nah, she’s just – she’s just doing wonderful. So thanks for asking about Lauren. I appreciate it.

Mr. Karako: Fantastic. Any last things to leave us with that I didn’t ask about?

Lt. Gen. Karbler: Tom, I just appreciate the time. Again, it’s good to do something in person. I would tell the folks in the crowd, who are all, you know, really, really well-versed in what we’re doing in air and missile defense and space, know that we’re securing the high ground.

Mr. Karako: Well, thank you for coming out. We’re glad to have you here in person. And thanks to everybody who tuned in. We got a lot of questions and a lot of folks watching. So thanks for joining us and we hope to do more of these here really in the coming weeks. So thanks again.