Space Exploitation: Making Space Technology
"Space ... the final frontier."
So began a popular TV series of several years ago. As our military
transforms into smaller, lighter, more agile units with more responsive
capabilities to address global uncertainty, the necessity of harnessing
and exploiting this "final frontier" is quickly becoming
one of the most important enablers for Army transformation.
We have long relied on Space as a means of extending reliable communications
beyond line-ofsight and over-the-horizon, for providing early warning
of enemy missile launch, identification of military and military-related
construction, and detection of major military movements. It's important
to additionally note Space as a provider of products to support
position, location, navigation, weather, terrain, and environmental
Traditionally, the exploitation of Space has primarily supported
strategic concerns, but our recent campaigns in Southwest Asia and
other hot spots around the world have increasingly shown the importance
of Space support to warfighters at operational and tactical levels
of warfare. Fluidity and flexibility are required to win on future
battlefields, therefore, extending Space support as a complementary
enabler to Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) support
across all levels of warfare is critical as it relates to real-time
decision support and battlefield situational awareness.
Our involvement in Space is divided into four functional domains:
Space support, Force enhancements, Space control and Space applications.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) has a proud
lineage of supporting the development of Space systems, products,
and services to support the warfighter across all four of these
domains. SMDC is unique in that it not only develops requirements,
but also sees these requirements through to fielding and operational
The Army has not had a research and development entity as a single
agency focused on Space, as have the other military services. SMDC's
science and technology (S&T) research, development, and acquisition
(RDA) efforts have supported a wide range of Army customers with
diverse views on the importance of exploiting Space services and
products. Recently, this changed however, as the Program Executive
Office (PEO) for Air and Missile Defense (AMD) was redesignated
as the PEO for Air, Space, and Missile Defense (ASMD). Several of
the Space research and development efforts of SMDC are being transferred
to the PEO ASMD, and the PEO ASMD is realigning internally to provide
for integration of Space into the system-of-systems concepts that
are emerging to support Army transformation.
An exciting aspect of Space exploitation is the multi-dimensional
and multi-mission applications of its technologies and products.
For example, in our efforts to develop a Single Integrated Space
Picture (SISP), we are exploring applications of volumetric displays,
immersion technologies, biometrics, manmachine interface techniques,
and information technology advances.
When applied across the entire family of interoperable pictures,
these applications will enhance situational awareness and understanding,
and support intuitive and timely decision-making. Other technologies
initially developed with a primary focus on supporting Space systems
have shown tremendous potential for supporting atmospheric systems
in both military and commercial functions. One such example is Micro-
Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), which promises tremendous volumetric
decreases, while at the same time, increases reliability in accomplishing
critical functions within a system application.
As we look to Space, and the harnessing and exploitation of this
"final frontier," we must leverage Joint and other Service
activities through interoperability and common or standardized approaches.
However, just one Service cannot provide the resources necessary
to harness Space for the warfighter. The Department of Defense is
not the sole activity involved in Space. We must therefore leverage
commercial Space technologies and ventures to round out military
capabilities to ensure our warfighters have the best products and
services available to them. Commercial ventures in Space may be
both a boon and a curse.
Not only can the U.S. military leverage commercial Space efforts,
but our future adversaries can as well. In the past, Space control
involved concepts for the destruction of enemy military capabilities
in Space. Now, with the introduction of so many commercial ventures
into Space, Space control must consider denial of Space services
to an enemy without destruction of "neutral" Space platforms.
As we rely more and more on Space and Space products to support
our warfighters, we also introduce vulnerabilities to our warfighters.
For example, if a future adversary had a capability of denying Global
Positioning System (GPS) support to our precision targeting functions,
we would be denied a powerful technological advantage our warfighters
currently employ. Therefore, as we look to Space, we must also look
to how the technologies we are developing to support our warfighter
can be made more secure and reliable.
One aspect of reliability is replication or duplication. To that
extent, SMDC is exploring techniques and technologies for duplicating
Space capabilities, by regionally focusing capabilities using within
atmosphere platforms. Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and
an ultra-wideband signal transmitter, GPS functionality can be duplicated
within a theater of deployment to ensure GPS functionality remains
available to a warfighter, even if services from the GPS satellites
in Space is denied them. High Altitude Airships (HAA) may provide
an extended duration platform capability to replicate many of the
Spacebased sensor functionalities in supporting ISR and extended
range communications within the deployed theater.
As you can see, we have our work cut out for us if we are to effectively
embrace "the final frontier." The articles in this edition
of the Army Space Journal will more fully develop how the Army is
involved in harnessing and exploiting Space to support our warfighters.
Space and Space products are essential enablers of Army transformation.
The Army has recognized the importance of Space and has reorganized
within its development community to ensure that a focused effort
achieves the integration of these essential products into our future
forces, even as we improve the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering
needed Space-based services to our current Force.
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