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General Sees Greater Integration of Missiles, Radar

By | July 31, 2006

      U.S. armed services, and allied militaries abroad, will see greater integration of missile and missile defense systems, including radars and other sensors, Lt. Gen. Larry Dodgen, commanding general of the Army Space and Missile Command, said.

      The general as well expressed confidence in the ability of ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems to form a shield against incoming enemy missiles.

      He also seeks development of systems better able to counter short-range, low-flying missiles such as are used by insurgents in Iraq, and like those used by Hezbollah against land targets, and low-flying anti-ship missiles. “We are definitely pursuing those capabilities,” he said.

      Dodgen also is commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense. He spoke before a National Defense University breakfast forum at the Capitol Hill Club, and in answering journalists’ questions later.

      Integration of systems isn’t an end in itself, but instead should be pursued if it results in greater capabilities, efficiencies, cost savings and other advancements, Dodgen said.

      Greater integration of sensors makes sense, he said.

      The United States should “look at our allies,” and “increase our cooperation,” he said.

      Further coordination should come from a Space Master Plan that represents all the space interests, including communications functions. The plan may be completed by the end of September, he and aides said. “We’re going to try for later this year to publish that,” he said.

      The plan “represents all the space interests: the intel group, the operators, the communicators–everybody that has an interest in space.”

      The military will seek development of a concept of operations of how to integrate capabilities, a process that will involve bringing together views of combatant commanders and validation in the conduct of wargames called Nimble Tiger. Allies, too, will be invited to participate, he said. The con ops should be complete in October or November, he said, and then go up the chain of command to be approved at a higher level

      Dodgen also said greater progress is required in developing systems to counter cruise missiles. “It is time to bring that together,” he said. “We will be doing that integration.”

      Improvements can be made to X-band radars, he said. “I’m beginning to look at forward-based X-band [radars] as deployable” assets, he said.

      Asked about space-based radar, Dodgen said that “I think space has great risk, and it has great value.”

      Full exploitation of space may not come for another generation, he indicated.

      Dodgen also said he has confidence in U.S. anti-missile capabilities.

      He was asked whether U.S. forces would have been able to annihilate a North Korean Taepo Dong 2 long range missile that the rogue regime launched on July 4, if that missile hadn’t failed in the first stage and instead had headed toward U.S. territory.

      Troops operating U.S. anti-missile systems “have a lot of confidence in” them, and Dodgen added that “I’m confident and I think I have confidence.”

      Dodgen added, however, that more work remains in developing a full ballistic missile defense.

      While the North Korean missile flew so briefly before failing in the first stage that there is little data to analyze, that information still is being examined, he said. “When something flies as short as it did, we’re not going to learn that much about it,” Dodgen said.

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