Academic journal article Military Review

Integrating Space into Training Simulations

Academic journal article Military Review

Integrating Space into Training Simulations

Article excerpt

LIEUTENANT Commander Pete McVety envisions a future Navy reliant upon light, highly versatile, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to perform remote sensing, act as communications relays, and function as attack platforms.' Because of today's emphasis on technology to increase the reach and capabilities of U.S. weapon systems, the U.S. Navy employs a mix of current and emerging technology. In fact, the space systems required to implement McVety's vision exist now-lightweight satellite communications (SATCOM) and global positioning system (GPS) receivers. Across the services, evolving command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) systems' reliance on space-based systems becomes increasingly transparent to operators but ever more critical to successfully operating those systems. Training commanders and operators to exploit the space capabilities supporting their C31 systems and to mitigate potentially debilitating degradations due to natural causes or threat activity is a progressive challenge as reliance on space becomes increasingly transparent.

Space applications at the operational level exploded into the Army's consciousness during the Persian Gulf War. Once seen as the domain of national capabilities, tactical commanders could exploit space products at an unprecedented level during that conflict. For example, it is difficult to overstate the impact of precision navigation that GPS receivers provide in the desert or their ability to detect and warn people of incoming Scud missiles. Recalling the near-revolutionary impact of GPS on maneuver warfare during the conflict, the official history records: "The appearance of GPS during Desert Shield obliged combat units to change tactics and operating procedures in order to realize the full potential of precision locating devices."' More recently in Kosovo, the U.S. Air Force used the multiple-- source tactical system in the cockpit to provide crews unprecedented situational awareness by integrating GPS, SATCOM, and space-based sensors.' Yet, most of the space-based capabilities integrated into tactical units' day-to-day operational systems are not included in the simulations used for Army training. In short, commanders generally lack the opportunity to train units to work through the space systems degradation they are likely to experience during deployments or to fully exploit the space products available to them.

Evolving Space Capabilities

Space operations officers are being trained and will form space support elements (SSEs) at corps and division levels. SSEs will provide unprecedented expertise to integrate and synchronize space within those units. Army space support teams (ARSSTs) from the U.S. Army Space Command supported corps commanders and their staffs for most of the past decade. The combination of a dedicated SSE and an ARSST manned by experienced space operators and deployed with specialized equipment will provide a robust, focused capacity to leverage both government and commercial space systems and organizations. Specifically, they will improve the space force enhancement aspect of space operations, defined as "any operation from space with the objective of enhancing, enabling, or supporting terrestrial operations in peacetime, conflict, and war."4 Doctrinally, elements of force enhancement include communications, position and navigation, weather, terrain, environmental monitoring, and surveillance.5 Theater missile warning is commonly included in this list as well.'

Exploitation of force enhancement elements has been aptly demonstrated in recent years, particularly during operations in the Balkans, and include bulk data transmission using the Global Broadcast Service (GBS) to predict space weather that affects satellite and terrestrial communications, and commercial high-resolution imagery. Beyond force enhancement is an emerging space capability known as "space control." Space control ensures the availability of space capabilities to friendly forces while denying it to the enemy. …

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