Missile Defense Agency Test Force Operational
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Combined Test Force (CTF) achieved full operational capability, Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering, the MDA director, announced.
CTF plans, integrates and analyzes tests of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).
MDA leads the effort to form a multi-layered shield against enemy ballistic missiles, to protect the United States, its armed forces and interests, and its allies.
MDA programs include two, the Airborne Laser and Kinetic Energy Interceptor, that kill enemy missiles shortly after liftoff, before the enemy warhead has the opportunity to deploy multiple independently targeted reentry vehicle weapons. Other MDA programs attempt to hit enemy warheads later in their ballistic trajectory, in the midcourse or terminal phases of flight toward U.S. cities and other targets.
With maturation of several BMDS elements, including Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System that includes ship-based systems, MDA recognized a need for an integrated approach to testing and analysis of the entire BMDS, not just separate elements.
The CTF was created a little over a year ago from legacy elements within MDA.
Manpower was shifted from several different locations to Huntsville, Ala.
Huntsville boasts the Marshall Space Flight Center and the adjacent Army Redstone Arsenal, along with enormous new campus-like high-tech industrial parks populated by the largest defense contractors and myriad mid-sized companies.
While not a part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, the move and streamlining was made with BRAC in mind, according to MDA.
The bulk of the MDA current military and civilian workforce is scheduled to move to Huntsville over the next few years as part of the BRAC process.
Full operational capability of the CTF also marks the beginning of an MDA “center of gravity” in Huntsville, according to Maj. Gen. Chris Anzalone, MDA deputy for test, integration and fielding. “This is the beginning of the beginning,” he said during a ceremony in Huntsville last week.
Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer acknowledged the importance of the announcement, noting that Huntsville stands ready to support MDA during upcoming personnel moves, and to welcome the agency as part of the community.
While the CTF is located in Huntsville, it is supported by teams in Washington, D.C. and at the Joint National Integration Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The organization consists of four divisions:
- Test Planning and Design Division performs campaign-level test planning and design.
- Test Operations Division performs detailed test planning and execution processes.
- Test Analysis and Reporting Division performs test event data collection, analysis and reporting.
- CTF Support Division performs test configuration working group secretariat functions and CTF integration and business operations functions.