JTAGS mission transfers from Army to Space Force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brieana E. Bolfing
  • 35th FW/PA

The U.S. Space Force 5th Space Warning Squadron Detachment 4 held an activation and assumption of command ceremony at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Oct. 25, 2023.

Detachment 4’s mission will provide battle space characterization in theater missile warning through Joint Tactical Ground Station or JTAGS. It is vital in active defense, passive defense, and attack operations for the Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility.

"Today is important as it marks the change in mission responsibility of theater missile warning from the U.S. Army to the Space Force," said U.S. Army Capt. Gideon Bernthal, 22nd Space Company commander. "We've been doing it for a very long time, over 15 years. It has been an honor and privilege for the Army to have that mission, as the core is protecting all the joint forces on the ground from incoming missile threats.

"It is an operation near and dear to the Army's heart, that now will be housed all under the Space Force." 

Throughout its lifespan, JTAGs have been conducting critical theater missile warning operations for decades by providing real-time, 24/7 missile warning information, ensuring the effective execution of military functions across the joint force.

"The U.S. Army has been doing JTAGS since 1999 and specifically in Misawa since 2008," said Sgt. 1st Class Andra Watson, 22nd Space Company first sergeant. "This was an opportunity to join the space side of the house, away from my original career field. So, watching this mission transfer is a bittersweet moment. I will now return to air defense and can no longer provide space missile warnings to the joint forces.

"The Army will continue to support the Space Force until we officially deactivate the company in April 2024. At that moment, the Army will permanently change station from Misawa. We will rejoin the fight elsewhere, leaving the mission in the Space Force's capable hands."

Though this detachment has been inactive for many years, its essential contributions to the space domain awareness recently caused Space Delta 4 and 5th SWS to reactivate it. It has grown to meet the warfighting demands, integrating and leveraging space-based assets.

"Over the last year, Army and Space Force have been working together to transition the mission," said Watson. "The Space Force is now ready to assume that responsibility. As we transition out of here, we want to thank the Space Force for assuming responsibility for this mission and helping foster a joint environment where the Army and Space Force can work together."