Contested space training occurs on Fort Carson
Lt. Col. Sig Ullrich, course manager, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's Future Warfare Center, guides his students through defense advance GPS receivers operations in a c... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (Dec. 29, 2015) -- U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, or USASMDC,/Army Forces Strategic Command, or ARSTRAT's G-3 Training and Exercise Division, or TREX, recently conducted a proof of principle contested space training event.

The event, which took place here Dec. 18, demonstrated the effect of electromagnetic, or EMI, interference on Defense Advance GPS Receivers, or DAGRs.

"We had two objectives for the exercise," said Capt. Will Archbold, Home Station Training chief in the TREX Army Space Training Integration, or ASTI, branch. "First was to show counter-electromagnetic interference techniques to the training audience, and second was to practice the execution of the training."

The day started with briefings on GPS concepts, DAGR operations, and range safety instructions. TREX trainers divided the 48 members of the training audience into eight teams, with each team walking a simple land navigation route using DAGRs for situational awareness.

A few minutes after the exercise began, trainers turned on a commercial-off-the-shelf short-range EMI generator, designed to transmit a signal that interferes with DAGR GPS-signal reception. Students witnessed the readings on their DAGRs, compared the performance of encrypted and unencrypted DAGRs, and practiced techniques for mitigating the effects of EMI.

Archbold said the students' reaction to the training was very positive.

"One E-6 from the training audience told me that it is good to learn this in the classroom, but it's great to have it demonstrated in a field environment," Archbold said. "Another student said that his was great training and asked why it wasn't required for everyone."

TREX trainers planned this exercise as a proof of principle for a future program of instruction to be used by Army Soldiers during Home Station Training. The team collected observations on the optimum location of the EMI generator, communications between instructors, timing, and adjustments to the exercise script. These lessons will inform development of a program of instruction that can be left with units - after receiving appropriate training with EMI-generators and the process for obtaining required approvals - to enhance realistic training in a contested space environment.

"Planning for this event was extensive, but it was worth the effort," said Archbold, who served as the lead event planner and range safety officer-in-charge. "Our vision is to have this training available to every warfighter in the Army. This event moved this vision forward significantly."

The event was a culmination of months of planning with many agencies and stakeholders. TREX coordinated closely with the USASMDC/ARSTRAT's Future Warfare Center's Directorate of Training and Doctrine, or DOTD, to schedule students in the December Army Space Cadre Basic Course as the training audience. Transmission of the short-range EMI signal required approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, Fort Carson spectrum managers, and U.S. Strategic Command.

TREX also coordinated with Fort Carson installation leaders to reserve a range optimally located to avoid interfering with flight operations at Butts Army Airfield.

Another ASTI branch member, with extensive experience in USASMDC/ARSTRAT, likewise found the training event valuable.

"Our organization supports implementation of the Army Space Training Strategy," said Lt. Col. Sig Ullrich, a Department of the Army civilian and course manager in DOTD. "G3 TREX supports on the operational side and DOTD on the institutional side. It was great to see us working together on this event."

Ullrich is currently on reserve orders with the ASTI branch serving as chief of Combat Training Center Integration.

TREX plans to continue refinement of the training and building support to obtain funding and institutional integration of EMI training at home station. The goal is to train Army Soldiers at every echelon how to succeed in a contested space environment wherever they are called to serve.

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