By Larry Mize (Deputy Director, Institutional Training, SMDC DOTD)September 30, 2013
On May 9, 2011, the secretary of the Army and the Army chief of staff signed the Army Strategic Space Plan. An implementation memo for the plan followed later that year on Nov. 14. It was signed by the undersecretary of the Army, and tasked the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, as the Army proponent for space, to analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate a training and leader development strategy to improve space knowledge across the Army.
The Army Space Training Strategy, or ASTS, addresses key components of space training and education for Soldiers at every grade level and echelon. Its objective is to improve understanding and utilization of space capabilities, products, force enhancements and protection that enable unified land operations, especially in contested operational environments. The draft strategy addresses institutional and operational domain space training for all Soldiers and the continued training and education of the Army's space professionals.
The strategy ensures Soldiers and leaders are properly educated and trained to understand the capabilities, limitations, products, enhancements and protection that space systems provide in the execution of unified land operations. The ASTS key tasks toward an end state of an integrated and seamless continuum of career-long space education and training are:
• Increase Space knowledge across the force by incorporating it into institutional training
• Train units at home station and CTCs on how to exploit space capabilities and respond in a contested environment
• Continue to train our space professionals
Space-based capabilities are a critical part of daily military, civil, and commercial activities as documented and articulated throughout national, Department of Defense and Army policy and doctrine. The 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance places "operate effectively in space" as one of the top defense mission areas, recognizing space capabilities as a critical component of an agile, responsive, tailorable force capable of responding to any mission, anywhere, any time.
The importance of space-based capabilities is documented in the 2012 Army Strategic Planning Guidance and referenced throughout the Army Concept Framework beginning with the 2012 Army Capstone Concept, the Army Operational Concept, and the Army Functional Concepts. The Army has evolved from a space-enabled force to a space-dependent force and is now one of the largest users of space-enabled capabilities within DoD. Space-based capabilities are critical to the planning, preparation and effective execution of unified land operations.
Integrating space training and leader development in Army Centers of Excellence, proponent schools, home station training, exercises, and training centers reinforces the strategy to train as the Army fights by incorporating realistic impacts of using space-based capabilities through all operating environments, including degradation and disruption of those capabilities. SMDC's Directorate of Training and Doctrine is leading the Army's efforts to conduct a review of Army institutional training materials and programs of instruction in coordination with CoEs and proponent schools.
The focus will be on all mission areas, equipment, and Army systems enabled by space-based capabilities. Key elements of space training will include common knowledge, education and training shared across all warfighting functions and focused training specific to each warfighting function.
Initial efforts will address the common education and training that exists in the Officer Education System, Warrant Officer Education System, Noncommissioned Officer Education System, functional training, Initial Military Training including the Basic Officer Leader Course, Midgrade Learning Continuum, Intermediate Level Education, Army War College, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Warrant Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Warrior Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, and Structured Self Development distributed learning.
SMDC will cultivate collaborative partnerships with CoEs and proponent schools and provide continual reach back support for space subject matter expertise and space training support across the Army. This model is already in place with several CoEs, proponents, and schools where, for the past decade, SMDC's DOTD has worked with school training developers, instructors and course managers to integrate relevant and current space topics into the curriculum.
To further aid in this effort, SMDC will provide space operations officers on assignment at the headquarters of select CoEs. Duties will include integrating space education and training into CoE training, and where appropriate, provide or assist with instruction of space training. Currently, space operations officers are attached to the Fires, Maneuver Support, Maneuver, and Mission Command CoEs. SMDC, based on availability, will continue to expand the use of space operations officers to other CoEs.
SMDC's G-31, in conjunction with U.S. Army Forces Command, will lead operational domain efforts on space education and training by developing a plan to integrate realistic and relevant space capabilities and vulnerabilities into home station training, exercises and Combat Training Centers' rotations. This operational training progressively moves Soldiers and units from exposure to competence to confidence by leveraging space-enabled capabilities and operating effectively in contested environments.
The end state will be an integrated and seamless continuum of career-long space education and training beginning at initial military training and continuing through unit-level collective training arenas and individual professional development programs. Army leaders and Soldiers will be able to initiate and maintain access to space capabilities and mitigate attempts to deny, degrade, and disrupt that access.
The space education and training fostered in institutional training must be put into practice and reinforced in operational training domains to ensure the Army is a decisive force of action trained and ready to Prevent, Shape, and Win.