U.S. to Merge Early Warning and Missile Defense Simulations

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WASHINGTON — Training simulations for missile defense and missile warning will be merged under a new effort led by U.S. Strategic Command and Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), the commands announced April 28.

Dubbed “All Things Missile,” the project is still in the planning stages, with an estimated 2011 completion date. The goal is to create a common, live-virtual-constructive simulation capability that will include missile warning and defense, and integrate missile simulations that are now scattered across numerous agencies. The result will be a joint training capability for air, cruise missile and ballistic missile defense for global, theater and homeland defense.

The current divide between the missile warning and missile defense simulations makes comprehensive training problematic. Strategic Command has its missile warning simulation, which puts simulated missiles on the screens of its operators. The Missile Defense Agency has its Distributed Multi-Echelon Training System (DMETS), which puts simulated missiles on the screens of interceptor operators. But the two simulations are separate.

“What we do is, we take our missile warning simulation capability, and DMETS for missile defense, and we synchronize them together by counting down, ‘three, two, one, start,'” said Patrick McVay, director of Strategic Command’s joint exercises and training directorate. “If they’re off by even a couple of seconds, it’s very confusing to the training audience.”

All Things Missile will also consolidate the array of missile simulation programs.

“Right now, we have four separate systems,” McVay said. “We have the legacy system to support missile warning. We have the capability that the Missile Defense Agency has developed [for missile defense]. The Navy has done a tremendous job developing a capability for their sailors on the Aegis cruisers. Then there is the Army with Patriot and [the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system]. Everyone is going out and developing their own capability.”

All Things Missile is part of a broader trend of creating simulations that are more flexible and user-friendly. Gregory Knapp, executive director of JFCOM’sJointWarfightingCenter, noted that the Missile Defense Agency’s DMETS is a manpower-intensive system requiring a team of contractors at Colorado SpringsColo.

“It’s not particularly dynamic. It takes a while to develop a simulation. If they’re supporting a [Strategic Command] training event, then they can’t support a [U.S. Northern Command] training event,” Knapp said.

The exact shape of All Things Missile is not yet clear. The project’s leaders are assessing the current missile warning and defense architecture before formulating requirements. JFCOM PowerPoint slides illustrate the vast array of equipment and networks that a joint missile warning and defense simulation must encompass, including Aegis cruisers; land-, sea-, air- and space-based sensors; information operations and special operations forces; and strike weapons employed against hostile missile launchers.

JFCOM said that All Things Missile will use the existing training and networking infrastructure, such as JFCOM’s Joint Training & Experimentation Network, the Navy Continuous Training Environment, and the Pentagon’s Global Information Grid.