Modernizing for Rapid Integration and Synchronization

COL John Brewer
Chief of Staff
Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team
U.S. Army Futures Command

From Armor & Mobility, March/April 2020

Colonel John S. Brewer is a native of Laurel, Mississippi. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Mississippi State University in 1994 and a Master of Science degree in Management from Troy State University in 2004.

COL Brewer began his military career in the Mississippi Army National Guard in 1990 as a Cannon Crewmember in Alpha Battery, 4/114th Field Artillery. Upon receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the Mississippi Military Academy in 1992, he served as Fire Direction Officer and Forward Observer in Bravo and Charlie Batteries, 4/114th FA. The battalion was reorganized as the 1-204th Air Defense Artillery in 1994 and he served in various duty positions including Platoon Leader, Battery Executive Officer, Battery Commander, Battalion S1, and Battalion S2.

COL Brewer joined the Active Guard and Reserve Program in 2000 as the Training Officer for the 1-204th ADA. Upon his promotion to Major, he was assigned to the 168th Engineer Brigade as Brigade S1. He deployed with the 168th to Afghanistan in 2009 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as Brigade S4. Upon redeployment, he returned to the 1-204th ADA as Battalion Executive Officer and full-time Administrative Officer. He deployed with the 1-204th ADA to Iraq in 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn as Battalion S3. He was next assigned to the Recruiting and Retention Battalion serving as S3 and Deputy Commander. After serving briefly as the G1 Operations Officer for Joint Force Headquarters, Mississippi, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to 66th Troop Command where he served as S1 and full-time Chief of Staff. COL Brewer’s last duty assignment with the Mississippi Army National Guard was as Battalion Commander, 1-204th ADA. He currently serves as Chief of Staff for the Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team, Army Futures Command.

COL Brewer’s military education includes the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, Air Defense Artillery Officer Advance Course, Engineer Captain’s Career Course, Military Intelligence Officer Transition Course, Human Resource Officer Course, Support Operations Officer Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, and Command and General Staff College.

COL Brewer’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal both with campaign stars, Mississippi Magnolia Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Combat Action Badge, and the Basic Strength Maintenance Badge as well as numerous other awards and decorations.

COL Brewer currently resides in Lawton, Oklahoma and has two children, Jessica, a dental student at University of Mississippi Medical Center and Ethan, a Junior at Mississippi State University.  

A&M had the chance to speak with COL John Brewer, Chief of Staff, Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team, U.S. Army Futures Command, regarding some key areas of current mission focus.

A&M: Speak to some priority areas that the Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team is focusing on to present.

COL Brewer: Since 9/11, the Army has been engaged in a Global War on Terrorism and modernization had taken a back seat. Army leadership realized more emphasis needed to be placed on modernization. With the establishment of Army Futures Command (AFC) and the Cross Functional Teams (CFTs), the Army is rapidly moving in that direction. The Army has six modernization priorities and Air and Missile Defense is in the top five of those priorities. The Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team (AMD CFT) works to reduce or eliminate capability gaps, by rapidly integrating and synchronizing the requirements development process, acquisition process, and resources to deliver Air and Missile Defense capabilities to the warfighter faster. Our CFT is responsible for four programs, also known as Signature Modernization Efforts. We will continue to focus on these four areas, working to create programs to meet the goals of the Army.

Our four programs are:

  • Army Integrated Air and Missile Defense (AIAMD): The Army’s IAMD program applies distributed mission command to maximize sensor detection and weapon system engagement capabilities. AIAMD’s open architecture maximizes employment flexibility, reduces stress on the Air Defense force and enhances protection of additional critical assets over a larger battlespace. The AMD CFT will help to prioritize future software builds to integrate future AMD components, such as LTAMDS and IFPC, as well as integrate with other Joint Force systems such as C2BMC.
  • Maneuver – Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD): M-SHORAD provides the capability to defend maneuvering forces against Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), as well as rotary wing and fixed wing aerial threats. As a testament to the rapid acquisition strategy, the first IM-SHORAD prototype was delivered to the government in September 2019 in preparation for developmental testing. An IM-SHORAD prototype was also revealed at AUSA in October 2019. Another prototype was used on the set of ESPN’s “College Game Day” show in December 2019 as a feature during the Army/Navy game. All prototypes are currently undergoing various developmental tests.
  • Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC): IFPC provides the capability to defend fixed and semi-fixed assets against sub-sonic cruise missile and UAS threats, with residual capability against fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. In accordance with the 31 October 2018 and 17 December 2018 reports to Congress, the Army intends to purchase two Israeli Iron Dome batteries as an interim IFPC solution. The Army awarded a contract on 5 December 2019 to procure two Iron Dome batteries. These units will also fulfill the Secretary of Defense certified need for an interim cruise missile defense capability in accordance with the FY19 NDAA.
  • Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS): LTAMDS is a critical sensor capability to counter advanced threats and take full advantage of the Patriot Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE). It provides significant improvement over the current PATRIOT radar and lowers Operation and Sustainment (O&S) costs. Source selection activities were completed August 2019 and a single vendor contract was awarded to Raytheon on 16 October 2019. A Fast Start Orientation Meeting was conducted 3-4 December 2019 and was the first milestone payment event, which provided a start-up review of the program 60 days after contract award. Prototype development is ongoing, with six prototypes scheduled for delivery to the Army for testing in 3rd Quarter FY21.

A&M: With the evolution of counter-missile capabilities, what are some directions of development and fielding you see the CFT taking?

COL Brewer: Overmatch is key when facing an adversarial threat. As technology and tactics evolve, the CFT focuses on modernizing systems to win on future battlefields. There are several on-going Science and Technology (S&T) efforts that AMD CFT, as well as all the CFTs are working on with the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO). Some of our primary efforts include Directed Energy (DE) for M-SHORAD and IFPC and Advanced Radar Technologies. Our S&T efforts are primarily focused on improving the future capabilities of the Signature Modernization Efforts in our current portfolio.

A&M: From an Army Modernization strategy perspective, how do you see the evolution of missile defense in addressing future Multi-Domain Operations?

COL Brewer: The Army’s AMD Modernization Strategy provides Combatant Commanders with a flexible, agile, and integrated AMD force capable of executing Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) in support of unified land operations. One of our programs, AIAMD will be one of the Army’s contributions to the Joint All Domain Command and Control System (JADC2). Basically, all services are working together to ensure our systems are integrated and we can operate in a joint environment during Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO).

A&M: Feel free to talk about other goals/challenges moving forward.

COL Brewer: AMD CFT’s mission is to deliver future Air and Missile Defense capabilities to the warfighter faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than we have in the past. So far, we are accomplishing what we were established to do. Our M-SHORAD program is just one example of some of the great things we’ve accomplished. We’ve taken that program from concept to prototype in only two years, a process that normally took 5-10 years. Our goal is to continue to synchronize efforts across the AMD enterprise to drive capabilities to the warfighter fast. Our four Signature Modernization Efforts are programs that provide critical Air and Missile Defense capabilities that will fill gaps identified by Army Senior Leaders. These capabilities will one day protect our Soldiers on the battlefield from aerial threats. In a nutshell, AMD CFT is equipping soldiers with more modern resources at a faster rate and allowing them to complete their missions with optimal protection from air attack.