We know that the air and missile threat to U.S. forces and interests is expanding, not only in numbers of weapons but also in capability. As technology advances and proliferates, the number of potentially hostile countries possessing ballistic missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and other systems has grown to more than 80. Furthermore, the success of American Tomahawks has prompted a move in many countries to develop sophisticated land attack cruise missiles, many with GPS-assisted guidance. Their extended range, maneuverability, low altitude and low observable profile allow them to attack, potentially undetected, from any direction. There is no doubt that the air and missile threat to our allies and friends, our forward-deployed forces and our homeland is real and growing.
The global, integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) concepts and architectures being developed by the Missile Defense Agency, the Joint Air and Missile Defense Organization and the services will provide an effective counter to this emerging air and missile threat. Kinetic and directed energy weapons, coupled with a wide array of ground-, sea- and space-based sensors, all seamlessly integrated through a comprehensive battle management/command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (BM/C4I) network, will effectively deal with both the short- and medium-range air and missile threats we and our allies face today and will continue to face tomorrow, as well as the longer-range threat we will soon face.
None of this would be possible, however, without space. Transformation in general, and IAMD in particular, are enabled by assured, reliable access to space-based communications, missile launch warning and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites and their associated ground stations. Through robust beyond line-of-sight connectivity and their ultimate high-ground perspective, space systems are essential to providing joint warfighters near real-time and real-time situational awareness of force composition and disposition (red and blue), detailed knowledge of the battlespace and the associated environment, the status of support and sustainment efforts, and the linkages required by military leaders to plan, execute and sustain dynamic military operations.
As the largest consumer of space products, the Army uses space capabilities to support land force and IAMD operations. Army Space equities are represented in two of the four space mission areas: force enhancement and space control. Of the other two space mission areas, space support is primarily a U.S. Air Force and U.S. Strategic Command responsibility, while the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Strategic Command will be involved in the last mission area, force application, with the Army contributing its ground-based interceptors and lasers.
Force enhancement embodies the warfighter’s use of space. Force enhancement capabilities include beyond line-of-sight satellite communications; ISR; positioning, navigation and timing (PNT); weather, terrain and environmental monitoring; and missile warning.
Satellite communications provide a robust, flexible and seamless surface-through-space network that extends terrestrial capabilities. As a result, the Army has reliable, on-demand, non-line-of-sight communications it can use to provide enhanced early warning, command and control of air and missile defenses, while maintaining a reduced logistical footprint in theater.
Embedding global, real-time PNT in our air and missile defense weapon systems, command and control systems, and support systems contributes to enhanced situational awareness, lethality, agility and survivability for the warfighter. The ability to locate and identify friendly forces and aircraft on a common, relevant operational picture of the battlespace, for example, greatly reduces the chances for fratricide. Precision guidance and timing capabilities have enhanced lethality and effects for long-range munitions. Over the next decade, enhancements to the global positioning system will make its use more secure from jamming and spoofing while maintaining the precision critical to so many defensive and offensive operations.
Access to real-time and predicted tactical weather enhances planning and decision making for IAMD commanders. Combined with terrain and environmental data from space sensors, such monitoring allows warfighters to determine weather effects on weapons; assess trafficability; and determine changes to terrain or infrastructure that may constitute obstacles to positioning of IAMD assets.
The operational value of missile warning from space was proven in Operation Desert Storm. The current defense support program satellites, and the mid-term fielding of space-based infrared system (SBIRS), provide critical, time-sensitive, early warning. Missile launch detection data provided by these satellites to the in-theater joint tactical ground station (JTAGS) and the follow-on mobile multimission processor (M3P) allows these systems to calculate missile launch points, trajectories and predicted impact points and times, and selectively warn affected units and areas. SBIRS will include infrared information allowing greater battlefield resolution. In the far term the space-based radar will provide moving target indications from space to track hostile vehicles, which when combined with highly accurate digital terrain elevation data, will support precision attack of critical targets and nodes. The near to far term capability of a direct downlink process will make timely, assured receipt of this and other information available to the appropriate level tactical commander, where and when he needs it.
Space-based ISR capabilities will most often be the first eyes on target and play a critical role in the pre-boost phase of missile defense. The space-based radar with moving target indications from space will be able to track adversary vehicles on the ground. This information, combined with launch detection data and highly accurate digital terrain elevation data, will enable precision attack of time-critical targets: missile launchers, support vehicles and their infrastructure.
As the Army relies more on force enhancement capabilities, our vulnerability also increases. Rapid growth in commercial and international space capabilities increases potential adversaries’ ability to monitor U.S. forces and to potentially negate U.S. advantages in space. Space control is the means by which space superiority is gained and maintained, ensuring friendly forces’ use of space while denying it to the enemy.
Space operations and capabilities are inextricably linked with and dependent upon their supporting infrastructure and its protection. The maintenance and upgrade of space infrastructure includes improvements to fixed site facilities, such as permanent satellite communications ground stations like the JTAGS/M3P systems in theater. This infrastructure also supports the space control mission areas of negation, surveillance, protection and prevention and ensures the capability to control space while denying its use to the enemy.
The Army has been, is, and will continue to be a prominent player on the joint space team. One of our primary contributions to space capabilities is in defining the requirements for space products and services needed by IAMD forces. The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, through its Force Development and Integration Center, integrates these requirements for the Army and plays a key role in the development and testing of these capabilities, including doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, personnel and facilities.
The Army also provides operational space forces and capabilities. The 1st Satellite Control Battalion of Army Space Command (ARSPACE) operates defense satellite communications system ground terminals and control centers around the world, providing the secure worldwide communications necessary for a responsive, deployable contingency force.
To provide deployed forces with access to many satellite-based capabilities, ARSPACE provides Army space support teams from its 1st Space Battalion and 193rd Space Support Battalion. These teams bring organic equipment and expertise to provide land component forces critical data on space communications, weather, imagery and other related space capabilities. Paramount to their success is their ability to reach back to the Army Space Operations Center in Colorado Springs to provide a wealth of additional space expertise.
ARSPACE’s 1st Space Battalion also provides in-theater missile-warning capabilities through the deployment of JTAGS/M3P ground stations to the theater of operations. Teams are currently located in Korea, Europe, the Middle East, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Fort Bliss, Texas.
The Army Space Program Office, located at Fort Belvoir, Va., has the lead for the Army’s tactical exploitation of national capabilities (TENCAP) program to identify national space-based capabilities that help meet the commanders’ intelligence needs. TENCAP systems leverage national- and theater-level space assets to provide intelligence products directly to tactical commanders. The Army’s newest TENCAP system, the tactical exploitation system (TES), provides commanders with near real-time correlated imagery and signals intelligence products from national and theater sensors. TES operators can redirect specific sensors to provide commanders with an unprecedented ability to see and affect the battle space. With TENCAP systems, tactical commanders have the communications and processors needed to receive and use intelligence in near real time.
The Army is also developing a cadre of trained space operations officers, functional area 40 (FA 40). These officers provide in-depth expertise and experience to adequately leverage space assets for the Army. As the Army identifies requirements and develops capabilities for the space-empowered Objective Force, Army space operations officers are being aggressively integrated into current operations, future planning, research and development, and acquisition positions at all organizational levels within the Army and Department of Defense. The infusion of space operations officers into existing headquarters will ensure current and future space force enhancement tools and products are integrated into Objective Force operations.
U.S. dominance in space is not guaranteed. Adversaries also understand the advantages of operating from space. Some 40 nations have space programs, and the array of commercial systems is growing daily. Many commercial systems have military applications, such as targeting, intelligence gathering and communications. Adversaries will probe our space systems for vulnerabilities, or they might attempt to alter the space environment (with debris, for example) to disrupt or deny our space operations. They might gain access to our systems and tamper with data through computer network attacks or exploit it for hostile purposes.
Adversaries are likely to turn to third parties to buy services and products of military significance without making the huge investment of resources to develop their own space infrastructure. Each of these approaches has unacceptable implications for our land and IAMD forces.
Space control, a mission shared by all services, includes combat and combat support operations to ensure freedom of action in space for the United States and its allies and, when directed, actions to deny an adversary freedom of action in space. The space control mission area includes the elements of prevention, surveillance, protection and negation. The Army contributes in many ways to the space control capabilities of the commander, U.S. Strategic Command and the various theater combatant commanders.
Through strict operational security measures and adherence to national laws and policies on technology transfer, the Army contributes to the prevention of adversaries’ developing and/or exploiting space capabilities.
The U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll facility provides unique space surveillance capabilities. There, powerful ground-based space surveillance systems assist the commander, U.S. Strategic Command in identifying and characterizing potential adversary space capabilities.
The Army develops technologies to protect our space systems (on-orbit elements, ground stations and communications link segments) from electronic warfare and other potential denial, disruption or destruction. The High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., helped determine the vulnerability of satellites to laser weapons by the actual employment of ground-based directed energy against a low-orbiting U.S. satellite. The Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center in Huntsville, Ala., is assuring space access for our Objective Force by conducting research on hardening and electromagnetic pulse that will enhance the survivability of our space systems. The Technical Center is also analyzing a tactical laser communications system that has the potential to provide increased capacity for communications satellites while lowering vulnerability to interception and jamming.
The Army has always been the lead in ground-based air and missile defense and its enabling technology. Today those efforts include the development of technology to negate, both temporarily and permanently, an adversary’s space capability. This will be a key capability in future conflicts and a strong deterrent to potential adversaries.
Military use of space is inherently joint and increasingly critical to land force and air and missile defense operations. The Army has been, and must continue to be, an active participant in the design and development of space architectures and capabilities. IAMD commanders at all levels (strategic, operational and tactical) must have assured, direct access to the full range of space capabilities. Ensuring that the Army’s Objective Force and its integrated air and missile defense capabilities are protected by maintaining space dominance is essential to Army Transformation.
BRIG. GEN. RICHARD V. GERACI is currently the deputy commanding general for Army Space Command and deputy commanding general for operations for Space and Missile Command. He is also chief of the Information Operations Element of U.S. Space Command. Previously, he was the deputy director, J-9, Joint Warfighting Experimentation, U.S. Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.