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Space Symposium panel discusses ‘Army Space Today’


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's former commanding general retired Lt. Gen. Richard Formica serves as moderator for a seven-member panel focused on "Army Space Today" during the 34th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs April 19. Brig. Gen. Tim Lawson, deputy commanding general for operations, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, talked about the Army's use of space during the panel. (Courtesy photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A seven-member panel focused on “Army Space Today” discussed the changing operating environment in space during the 34th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor here April 19.

The panel, moderated by U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s former commanding general retired Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, also discussed how the Army plans to conduct multi-domain operations, and how it is implementing its Army Space Training Strategy to leverage space capabilities in both the institutional training venues and at its combat training centers.

Brig. Gen. Tim Lawson, deputy commanding general for operations, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, talked about the Army’s use of space.

“Why is the Army interested in space?” Lawson asked. “We are the biggest user of space. For instance, there are currently 2,500 position, navigation and timing-enabled devices and 250 satellite communication-enabled devices in an Army Brigade Combat Team – the building block of a large unit like the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. We rely heavily on space to shoot, move and communicate.

“In the past, we have assumed that space is mostly a benign environment,” Lawson continued. “That is no longer true. Future conflicts with a near-peer competitor will likely extend into the space domain. The first shots in a future conflict could be in space, done through jamming and spoofing, anti-satellite weapons and cyber attacks.

“Military space capabilities must be persistent and resilient to help deal with today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” he said. “The Army must be prepared to fight as part of a joint force, across multiple domains, to gain advantage over our enemies and achieve national objectives.”

USASMDC/ARSTRAT is the Army’s force modernization proponent for space, global ballistic missile defense and high altitude.

“We help to enable space capability, not only from using space to help us effectively conduct warfare, but we provide capability to enable space for many others to include government agencies, allies, military services and international partners,” said Lawson.

He then went on to explain how the Army helps to enable space, how they are fighting in a contested environment and what the Army brings to the fight when it comes to space.

“The Army manages the payload on the wideband satellite systems. To put the importance of that into perspective, about 70 percent of all military satellite communications are conducted over the wideband network. The Army is responsible for providing that to agencies, allies, services and partners out there,” Lawson explained.

"We execute this mission through Wideband Satellite Operations Centers in five locations throughout the world, by providing wideband payload control, transmissions control and defensive space control,” he said.

“If users rely on wideband communications, the Army is extremely important to ensuring that,” Lawson concluded.

Another SMDC panel member, Joan Rousseau, discussed how the command trains the Army to conduct its mission-critical operations while experiencing the effects of a denied, degraded and disrupted space operational environment, or D3SOE.

Rousseau described D3SOE as “a component of those conditions and influences in which space-enabled capabilities have been impaired by hostile threats or non-hostile means. In other words, “Our adversaries will challenge our ability to conduct operations by creating a D3SOE.”

Rousseau explained why it is important to train in a D3SOE.

“What was once assured is no longer assured,” she said. “The Army is critically dependent on space-enabled equipment, and our adversaries know this, making this environment ripe for being contested.”

The adversary is trying to take away our access to GPS and satellite communications, she continued. Jamming technology is readily available to adversaries creating a risk to the Army conducting its missions.

“Since GPS jamming is much more prevalent and easier to do as the GPS signal is very weak, our team spends a great deal of time in our current training model focusing on aspects of navigation warfare, specifically position, navigation and timing,” Rousseau said.

“Soldiers need to be able to operate in any environment by using the mitigation strategies they learn in the institutional schoolhouse setting, which is reinforced at home station and culminated at the combat training centers,” she continued.

“Institutional training is being conducted by SMDC’s Directorate of Training and Doctrine in the Space and Missile Defense Schoolhouse, through mobile training teams and in various centers of excellence. This training largely provides fundamental knowledge and skills of space operations, threats to space-enabled systems, and basic mitigation techniques. It is also incorporated in senior leader training, to include a number of pre-command courses and Sergeants Major Academy to improve overall awareness,” said Rousseau.

The panel concluded by answering questions from the audience.

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