Academic journal article Military Review

Space Control Operations and the U.S. Army

Academic journal article Military Review

Space Control Operations and the U.S. Army

Article excerpt

THE U.S. ARMY's ability to achieve battlefield dominance critically depends on global information dominance (ID), the free flow of information to and from our forces while denying the enemy that same free flow. In today's battlespace, space superiority is a key ingredient of ID. Space systems provide critical force multipliers needed to conduct successful full-dimensional operations. To achieve ID, the Army needs communications satellites; navigation satellites; and reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition (RISTA) satellites. Achieving space superiority to protect space systems is of paramount importance to Army commanders.

Department of Defense Directive 3100.10, Space Policy, states that "the degree of dominance in space of one force over another . . . without prohibitive interference by opposing force" is dominant space control (SC).1 Another document, Joint Publication (JP) 3-14, Joint Tactics. Techniques, and Procedures for Space Operations, defines SC as "ensur[ing] freedom of action in space for friendly forces while denying it to the enemy."2 SC operations include space surveillance, prevention, protection, and negation. Effective SC actions help ensure the Army's ability to provide intelligence support to U.S. forces. It enhances a commander's situational awareness of the battlespace, ensures in-depth coverage of the battlefield, facilitates unit coordination and critical resource management, helps rapid force projection, and protects vital battle command functions. Effective SC also denies those same advantages to an enemy and helps create the foundation for swift victory.

As with any military capability, the Army has a vested interest in mastering SC. A land component commander's (LCC's) strengths will be magnified and weaknesses lessened by effectively applying SC measures. Protecting and defending space systems requires various applications. Protective measures encompass everything from perimeter defense around a ground antenna or control station to jam-resistant communications and data streams. Likewise, denying an enemy's access to space might include destroying a ground station, jamming the data stream or destroying the satellite itself.

Most likely, depending on the threat and theater, the commander will employ a combination of organic assets and nonorganic capabilities from other services and national agencies using reachback. If these assets are unavailable through reachback, the theater commander must have his own organic capability to perform these functions.

According to U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 100-- 6, Information Operations, "Information is an essential foundation of knowledge-based warfare. When transformed into capabilities, information is the currency of victory."3 Space is today's high ground, and satellite systems provide critical information. The Army uses space systems to enhance force deployment, detect problems, provide early warning, fill information gaps, reduce vulnerability, and facilitate entry into a theater of operations. Space systems also provide assured communications, reliable intelligence and weather information, and dependable and accurate positional data. The connectivity provided by satellite communications systems enhances the flexibility, agility, and battle command of Army forces. Satellite systems provide Army units with imagery and meteorological data to support mission planning, terrain analysis, and mapping. Information-the currency of space operations-enables commanders to act before an enemy does and helps create conditions for victory.

Unfortunately, similar data may be readily available to an adversary on the open world market, much of which can be used for military purposes. The United States' advantages in collecting, processing, and disseminating military data are steadily eroding. Other nations openly share their satellite products, and commercial products can be purchased over the Internet. …

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