Command and Control Vital to Blunting Missile Threats

Theater ballistic missiles are a fast-proliferating threat in the Pacific region, said Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces commander. The only way to outwork the numerical superiority of these threats is to improve capability to detect and intercept them, he said last week during his AFA Air Warfare Symposium address in Orlando, Fla. This is why space-based early warning, the timely dissemination of data from US operations centers into allied command structures, and the ability to pinpoint impacts are so critical in the Pacific, he said. Recalling his stint as wing commander at Kunsan, AB, South Korea more than a decade ago, North said exercise scenarios built around a hypothetical North Korean missile attack would put the whole peninsula into the “black,” as he had little idea where incoming missiles would impact. Conversely, today, the US and its allies can pinpoint with near-precision accuracy where missiles will impact—to the point that commanders know which portion of a base will be hit and which sections they can continue to operate, he said.