Space Technology and Concept Development for the Army's Future Force

Article excerpt

The U.S. Army has been a leader in space operations and research throughout the second half of the 20th century. The Army is continuing this heritage in the 21st century in accordance with new DoD guidance and emphasis on space dominance and operations. The battlefield has already been transformed by space capabilities such as satellite communications and global positioning system (GPS). With the battlefield centricity now provided by space assets, it is also imperative to protect and secure these vital space capabilities. On our watch in just the past decade, we have seen space concepts evolving from yesterday's achieving the "high ground," through today's power extension, and now, tomorrow's global capabilities for the future force. The Army's role in space, supporting Transformation, is critical to the success of the future force-a transformed joint force relying heavily upon the full range of space-based assets in the conduct of military operations.

The U. S. Army is in the initial stages of transforming to the future force. New operational and organizational (O&O) concepts-unit of employment and unit of action-are being developed. New hardware and software to support these concepts-Future Combat Systems (FCS)-are in the early programmatic stages. O&O concepts are currently being defined and validated. The future force is based on tenets of agility, mobility, versatility and responsiveness that exploit greater lethality in more survivable, lighter weight and survivable systems. The future force will rely more on information superiority and information dominance than does the current force, and space is rapidly emerging as a major contributor to information dominance. As unit of employment and unit of action staff functionalities are being defined, a change in focus for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) planning from an intelligence perspective to an operational perspective is under way. In other words, the immediate purpose of ISR is changing from data collection for intelligence analysis to immediate support of rapidly maneuvering forces on an asymmetrical and dynamic battlefield. This change in perspective is recognized in Field Manual 3-21.31, Stryker Brigade Combat Team. As the reliance of future forces on immediate ISR increases, the need for ISR planning as an integral part of operational planning will also increase. The ISR focus changes from intelligence data collection to ISR data integration with ongoing operations. This will require a higher degree of integration, synchronization and optimization of ISR assets with operational maneuver that is not available today.

The continuing research nnd development of emerging space technologies is based upon operational concepts that support the future force. Implementation and full integration of the Army's recently published Army Space Policy and the Concept for Space Operations in Support of the Future Force is vital if we are to achieve the Army's vision of future force capabilities. Vertical integration of our space concept must support units of action and units of employment with the revitalization of our functional control of these new units achieved through reengineered battle command, maneuver support and maneuver sustainment systems. Horizontal integration of our space concept must enable the establishment of force projection and homeland security capabilities. The documents also address employment of national, civil, commercial, joint and Army space capabilities across the full spectrum of military operations as an integral part of an Army, joint, interagency and multinational force. Consistent with this approach, the Army must integrate space control, force application and space enhancement mission needs for the next generation of battlefield system capabilities to accomplish Army and joint warfighting missions.

Within this context, Army space operations focus on five essential tasks (that is, operational concept requirements) for the future force:

* Support increased deployability and reduced theater footprint. …