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  • Thursday, June 24, 2021 7:00 PM | Gerrit Dalman (Administrator)

    By Bill Woolf, President, Space Force Association (SFA)

    On 22 June, Department of the Air Force (DAF) leaders spoke in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Subcommittee on Air and Land to identify United States Air Force (USAF) priorities based on pacing a China threat for a potential 2030 fight. The hearing included testimony by Lt Gen Duke Richards, USAF SAF/AQ Military Deputy, Lt Gen David Nahom, Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS) for Plans and Programs, and Lt Gen Joseph Guastella, DCS for Operations. What was missing from this discussion was the priorities for the United States Space Force (USSF).

    One of the main reasons for a separate USSF is to inform DAF priorities based on emerging threats from space to all domain superiority. Yet this hearing, like so many before, continues to present priorities without including space considerations. The hearing schedule doesn’t include any agenda items dedicated to examining the opportunities in or operational needs of the space domain.

    The Space Force Association (SFA), a non-profit education and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing spacepower for the United States, recently met with Lt Gen Saltzman, Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear to ask what he would argue for if given a similar audience. He said his priorities are “1) Normalizing force presentation, 2) Building an operational test and training infrastructure, and 3) Implementing advanced training and readiness standards. These three priorities compliment each other as critical elements in creating operational warfighting capabilities and culture across the force.”

    Lt Gen Saltzman addresses SFA members in Washington D.C.Lt Gen Saltzman, Deputy Chief of Space Operations, addresses Space Force Association members with Bill Woolf, SFA President, at an event in Washington D.C. this June.

    Normalizing Force Presentation

    Each service is responsible for presenting ready forces to combatant commanders. The USSF is no different. It must identify the functions necessary to assure space dominance, train Guardians to execute those functions, and present those forces to not just United States Space Command (USSPACECOM), but the other 11 geographic and functional combatant commands as well. Services, not combatant commands are responsible for preparing warfighters. It is only after qualification, certification, and advanced training that service warfighters are ready to conduct operations. Just as the other services prepare Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen, the USSF prepares Guardians to conduct their domain superiority missions and provide effects in space and across domains.

    Building an Operational Test and Training Infrastructure

    To ensure their capabilities meet the needs of the Joint Force the USSF, like all other services, will need a robust operational test and training infrastructure. Before the USSF, systems were often accepted after only developmental test, without thorough shakedowns of performance envelopes, suitability in contested environments, or tactics validation. Integration – the coordinated efforts of multiple systems across diverse missions, effects, and all domains to achieve synergistic effects – is becoming more important for space operations. The status quo of untested stand-alone capabilities is quickly becoming less an acceptable expedient and more an impediment to operational utility. Providing forces that can be confidently combined with others demands rigorous operational test. The requisite resources, such as instrumented ranges and realistic simulators connected to shared environments do not yet exist for space as they do for the other physical domains. Rather, current practices are akin to an F-22 being declared operational without confirming the fire control radar can correlate a target or certifying a pilot to fly it. Only with a properly designed and resourced range, test, and training infrastructure can Guardians be confident in their weapons and competent in their employment.

    Implementing Advanced Readiness Standards

    To prepare for future conflicts Guardians must do more than rehearse steady state operations. The Guardian must also be put into scenarios that represent contested, degraded, and operationally limited conditions. Scenario-based experiences pitting Guardians against a thinking adversary are vital. RED FLAG, a two-week aerial combat exercise held several times a year, offers realistic air-combat training for military aviators so their first combat experience is familiar, increasing their odds of success dramatically. In an interview with SFA, Col Mike “Sax” Mathes, former RED FLAG Commander, expressed the need for the USSF to develop a similar venue. Current offerings like SPACE FLAG lack the realism and integration required to meet Lt Gen Saltzman’s priority.

    The USSF has operational needs that must be integrated and objectively prioritized with other budget items. When space needs are presented through the lens of “aerospace” by DAF, they will be subconsciously obscured or even deliberately minimized in favor of airpower requirements. For the time being only specific demands from Congress can ensure the right information about the space domain is elevated. There are many ways to get the right military experts to present this information, but one approach would be for HASC and SASC to establish subcommittees dedicated to the national security space to call on senior USSF and defense space leaders to communicate their priorities for space domain superiority directly.

  • Saturday, June 05, 2021 3:49 PM | Gerrit Dalman (Administrator)

    This month is the start of something new for the Space Force Association (SFA). We are proud to announce a new mission, vision, and motto and to begin a series of initiatives to grow the organization, increase the value of your membership, and amplify your voice in the future of national security space and our U.S. Space Force.

    Our new mission is to achieve superior national spacepower by shaping a Space Force that provides credible deterrence in competition, dominant capability in combat, and professional services for all partners. To do that, we envision being recognized as the professional association for informed government, business, and private members to lend their diverse ideas, voices, and energy to defining national spacepower and building a Space Force capable of achieving it.

    SFA will engage not just with the Service, but around it as well. To participate in the whole of nation conversation about spacepower, find the Space Force’s best possible role in the U.S. as a space-faring nation, and work with policymakers and stakeholders to help the U.S. and it’s Space Force realize that potential. To accomplish that, we will connect our members to Guardians, academia, and partner organizations and empower them to:

    - Research forward and innovative ideas with rigor

    - Inform about Guardians’ stories and the nature of national spacepower

    - Advocate for the most effective Space Force possible

    The orbital environment in 2050 will be profoundly changed. SFA anticipates a future is imminent in which material, energy, and human capital are generated in space and that a coordinated whole-of-nation effort is required to ensure the U.S. is a leader in the domain. Emerging economic and environmental realities will drive space commerce beyond the familiar information services into new sectors that spur the emergence of the first material, energy, and manufacturing industries off the Earth. The number of nations participating beyond Earth orbit will grow. Humans will be working as far away as the moon and in much greater numbers than currently visit low Earth orbit. Some will even call space home.

    Meanwhile, the underlying risks to U.S. security and prosperity that led to the independent Space Force are real and increasing. Competition in technology and across the information and economic instruments of power are constant and the American lead is, in some respects, diminishing. Several adversaries have openly demonstrated anti-satellite weapons and blatantly tried to shape international norms through blatantly unprofessional behaviors in launch and on-orbit.

    We also must never forget that the most constant adversary in space is the environment itself. Space is far from being “tamed.” We have yet to achieve the kind of technological dominance over it that enables freedom of navigation in the air and maritime domains. For the foreseeable future it is as important to invest in the technology and ideas that will make space safer and more affordable as it is to acquire mission specific capabilities.

    Though the threats are real, the opportunities for prosperity exceed the risks to security. Information generated in and moved through space will continue to rise in value. Large scale space based solar power could meet the growing energy needs of expanding populations and modernizing communities. The mineral resources of the Moon and nearest asteroids are known to dwarf those of Earth.

    A nation that has the strategic will to bring those resources within their economic reach will be leaders in the century ahead. This cannot be done expediently by monolithic capital investments like previous grand works. Instead, the fastest way to sustainable success is for government to lead where it can set goals, reduce risk, nurture innovation, and incentivize investment and leave the rest to the best and brightest of their private partners.

    In space, as in other domains, national security is served by creating peaceful opportunities for prosperity that far outweigh the risks of conflict with a capable and competent adversary. SFA believes that the Space Force has a vital role to play in realizing the U.S.’ potential as a space-faring nation. The military has historically been at the forefront of new frontiers and that should remain increasingly true in space. The military is uniquely suited for interagency planning, metered risk-taking, establishing norms of behavior, and architecture for basic infrastructure. These functions all increase the safety, affordability, and probability of success for those who follow.

     Outright violence in space will continue to be rare as long as targets are exquisite and consequences extreme. Preeminence in spacepower is inherently technological and economic, but must be underwritten by warfighting capabilities. In addition to the de facto role in providing destructive options on the worst day, the Space Force has much to contribute to the constructive efforts that will shape the peace in the prevailing periods on the spectrum of competition in space.

    SFA was created to give a voice to Guardians and will continues to harness and refine the best ideas to inform the conversations and decisions that will shape our Space Force and enable Guardians to win in competition and conflict.

    We are proud to share this journey with you and look forward to sharing more of our plans over the coming months. There are exciting things on our burn plan! We encourage you to be an active participant by sharing and engaging with us online and volunteering some of your precious time to our shared cause. Together we will Catalyze Spacepower… At Home and on The Frontier!

Catalyzing Spacepower... At Home and on the Frontier