Tenets of Air and Space Power: A Space Perspective

Article excerpt

SEVEN FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS set air and space power apart from surface-force capabilities. As noted by Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-2, Space Operations (27 November 2001), Airmen "should not assume airpower and space power are interchangeable. Applying the operational art of war requires an understanding of the similarities and unique qualities of each" (p. 8). Understanding how space ops fits within these tenets helps Airmen employ the correct mix of forces to achieve desired effects. AFDD 2-2 outlines the following space power tenets:

Tenet One: Centralized Control and Decentralized Execution. This tenet provides the commander "oversight and ability to direct and coordinate component space forces through mission-type orders, while allowing component forces the flexibility to determine how they will employ their resources to achieve the mission" (p. 8). Once established in-theater, the director of space forces (DIRSPACEFOR), who holds the delegated position of space control authority, facilitates coordination between the joint force commander's (JFC) operational/tactical needs and national global/ strategic requirements.

Tenet Two: Flexibility and Versatility. These characteristics of space capabilities increase theJFC's options. "Air and space forces [allow exploitation of] mass and maneuver simultaneously to a far greater extent than surface forces" (p. 9). "Space forces, like air forces, operate simultaneously at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war, increasing their versatility across the range of military operations" (p. 10). During Operation Iraqi Freedom, US forces conducted preemptive strikes on Iraqi leadership based on real-time satellite feeds to the cockpit, sent warning/execution orders over satellite communication links, and delivered precision-guided munitions (PGM) using global positioning system (GPS) navigation and timing.

Tenet Three: Synergistic Effects. "Space forces enable synergistic effects that increase the capability of our forces" (p. 10). GPS receivers fitted to munitions transform "dumb bombs" into accurate, all-weather weapons. Operation Allied Force highlighted the synergy of these new "space-aided" weapons; the enemy could no longer rely on weather as a sanctuary.

Tenet Four: Persistence. …