Airmen fortify missile defense strategies during European Test Bed

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Hannah Durbin

The European Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center hosted a European Test Bed event at the Warrior Preparation Center, Einsiedlerhof Air Station, Germany, April 12-15, 2021.

ETB is an experimentation venue where the U.S. and NATO can explore, evaluate and align concepts and defensive strategies to defend Europe from air and missile attacks.

“This is one of the few events where we can come together and experiment in the European ballistic defense mission,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Marco Catanese, European Integrated Air and Missile Defense center assistant director of operations and ETB lead. “It’s an irreplaceable venue for practicing new air and missile defense concepts and procedures alongside our allies and joint partners.”

Lt. Gen. Steven Bashan, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa deputy commander, participated in the ETB as the regional air defense commander, serving as the decision authority during missile defense scenarios.  

“We all appreciate this opportunity to come together and receive valuable hands-on experience in this critical mission-set,” said Basham. “These training events are fundamental to evolving our ballistic missile defense strategies and ensuring all participants remain synced and ready for all defense scenarios.”

 Individuals from the National Security Agency, Missile Defense Agency, NATO Allied Air Command, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, U.S. European Command, U.S. Air Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Europe participated in this ETB.

“The European Test best is important because it gives us an opportunity to test out procedures, tactics and defense designs in a simulated environment,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Logan Wilk, Combined Task Force-64 Ballistic Missile Defense of Europe Lead. “Being able to come here and harmonize with the Air Force, Army and NATO adds a new element of appreciation and understanding to what we all bring to the ballistic missile defense mission.”

Occurring since 2016, ETB is typically a week-long event evaluating multiple missile defense concepts in a simulated environment with U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Space Force and Missile Defense Agency systems under U.S. and NATO command and control. The next ETB is scheduled for fall 2021.

“ETBs allow us to identify gaps in procedure that we need to work on,” said U.S. Space Force Sgt. Adam Iovine, an integrated air and missile defense technician and exercise participant. "It's been extremely valuable to see how our allies are viewing the calls that we make and how they interpret the information we put out. Every country and service does this mission a little different, so it’s important that we all get in the same room to have these conversations and practice."

ETB is an invaluable training opportunity that validates defensive strategies for the air and missile defense of Europe.