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NEWS | Feb. 21, 2020

Building a Resilient Missile Defense Shield Around Japan

By 1st Lt. Matthew B. Brewer 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery

OKINAWA, Japan -- Air and Missile Defense in the Pacific theater is an ever present and growing focus in the National Defense Strategy. Each year, the Resilient Shield exercise partners units in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Joint and bilateral networks that provide for the common defense of Japan are tested and validated, as well as engagement procedures provide fires de-confliction at all levels.

The 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment (1-1 ADA) participates in this exercise each year, validating its role as the U.S. missile defense system on Okinawa.

The exercise focuses on certifying the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and United States Navy Ballistic Missile Defense ships.

“We’re working to improve Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures that allow us to reinforce our relationship with the Japan Self Defense Force and joint partners,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Martin Head, a command and control systems integrator for 1-1 ADA.

“We take a hard look at improving data link capabilities across the joint and bilateral force,” Head continued.

Improving data links enable each missile defense system to share a common operating picture during the air battle, and ensure our readiness for contingency operations.

The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command used this particular exercise to certify their Air Defense Artillery Fire Control crews.

These crews have the vital task of determining which missile defense system will engage a specific threat. In addition to making engagement decisions, they also ensure that each threat is defeated using the fewest number of interceptors possible.

Resilient Shield gave them the unique opportunity to exercise their skills in a controlled environment, and gain more experience defeating missile threats as they evolved over the exercise.

“It’s interesting getting to see how the whole air battle comes together. Integrating the naval aspects of missile defense into training scenarios is another way we ensure our assigned assets in Japan get properly defended,” said Sgt. Francisco Cisneros, an early warning systems operator assigned to 1-1 ADA’s Fire Direction Center.

As 1-1 ADA moves into the future, exercises like Resilient Shield will continue to provide critical opportunities to hone and improve combat capability to meet the ever changing missile defense requirements in the Pacific. The Snake Eyes battalion stands as the premier Patriot battalion in the Army, and is ready to “Fight Tonight!”

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