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News | Feb. 3, 2021

JTF-SD leaders recognize NIPA award winners

By Jennifer Thibault

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Tom James, Joint Task Force-Space Defense commander, and his leadership team recognized its intelligence directorate members for earning the National Intelligence Professional Award for Mission Integration in a ceremony at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Jan. 29. 

The award recognizes service and contributions that enhance the stature and standing of intelligence community professions. Specifically, the intelligence directorate demonstrated unity of effort between the intelligence community, office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Defense in the defense of U.S. equities in the space domain. 

Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, the JTF-SD office of the Director of National Intelligence representative, recommended the intelligence directorate for the award and provided the ceremony’s opening comments.

“I am so proud of all of you and the hard work you’ve done the last two years. As you know, intelligence is one of the most important functions in the command, it drives decision making and operations. It’s why we’re here,” said Kirkpatrick. “The DNI has a number of team awards but this is one of the most important ones and you’ve earned it.”

James addressed the award winners, acknowledging their unique situation.

“It’s great to see the terrific work you do be properly recognized,” he said. “When you look at this mission area, the confluence of technology and capability, and see space growing not just as a warfighting domain but one the entire world is using. Everything comes together here. We can’t do our work without understanding the environment and understanding the adversary. Here, we see the living, breathing end state of your work.” 

The ceremony recognized more than 30 members who were assigned to the directorate at the time of the award submission. The citation noted the directorate’s efforts to synchronize “intelligence community and Department of Defense collection methods and capabilities in order to better understand foreign space and technical threats that could pose a significant risk to U.S. and Allied national security interests. Additionally, the team developed new analytic products in order to inform decision-makers on operational timelines as well as to a new combatant command.”

James recalled his personal studies of World War II during professional military education and this team’s efforts during his presiding comments.

“There are a number of theories as to why we won but I think the primary reason is the integration of intelligence and operations,” he said, referencing the breaking of Enigma code in Europe and the Japanese Purple code. “We had intel working together with operations. Analysts usually cite the superior decision making and often leave out what intel provided. It’s not lost on me or the leadership here.”

James noted that same integration of intel and ops here is vital for the organization’s mission success.

“Your efforts here are making us better and we’re continuing to improve at integrating until it’s hard to tell the difference on the ops center floor,” he said. “It’s absolutely necessary for our mission set and fortunately we have a mission that makes it easy to get passionate about. You’re what right looks like and I’m not surprised by this award because frankly we’ve stacked the deck.”

COVID mitigation measures delayed the ceremony though the awards were originally announced Nov. 5.