By Spc. Tiffany MitchellDecember 23, 2019
A class of 40 Soldiers across the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Polk attended the two-week-long, Army Space Cadre Basic Course Dec. 2-13, at Fort Drum, N.Y. The course provided Soldiers knowledge on the fundamentals of space capabilities, and space systems and organizations to help them better understand their roles in the space community.
"One of the biggest reasons for implementing this course is situational awareness," said Sgt. Samantha Nevling, the 10th Mountain Division Space Support Element noncommissioned officer in charge. "With a lot of different jobs in the Army utilizing space assets, this course is going to educate them on better and quicker response times for getting the assets needed to conduct their missions accurately and in a timely manner."
The 10th Mountain Division released a space billet memo earlier this year with criteria for Soldiers to be eligible for the class. The requirements were based on a Soldier's rank and military occupational specialty.
Personnel were also selected according to how their MOS uses, effects or enhances space assets, said Nevling.
The course comes at a time when leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate reached an agreement for the establishment of the U.S. Space Force as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
"The direction that Army's going is multi-domain operations, with space being one of those domains," said Capt. Artur Dominiak, assistant operations officer for the Special Operations Training Detachment at Fort Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center. "It's important for Army Special Operations Forces to be able to use that domain to allow joint force entry to disrupt the enemy and allow for brigade combat teams to come in."
ASOF's goal is to implement more space assets and training into JRTC rotations to provide Soldiers with first-hand experience and knowledge on how to stop enemy threats from space.
"We want to take the lessons that we learned in this class and apply them to combat training centers to better replicate threats that are going to be occurring in multi-domain operations," said Dominiak.
For Spc. Riley Swinford, a satellite communication systems operator-maintainer with Signal, Intelligence and Sustainment Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 10th Mountain Division, the course was an opportunity to learn more about space and his MOS.
"I usually don't have many expectations going into classes, but I feel like I've gotten a lot out of this course," said Swinford. "Surprisingly, I've learned more about my job and what goes on around it. The most interesting thing that I learned was about orbital planes and a little bit more about how satellites interact with those."
Graduates of the Space Cadre Course earned the "3Y" skill identifier / additional skill identifier (SI/ASI) which allows Soldiers to get one step closer to earning a Space Badge. The badge is awarded to Soldiers who complete space training and attain the required Army space cadre experience. There are three levels: basic, senior and master. The required time for each is Basic Space Badge, 12 months; Senior Space Badge, 48 months; and Master Space Badge, 84 months.
"The Space Cadre Course is going to continue to be a wonderful addition to the 10th Mountain Division as a training aid," said Nevling. "A great number of the products and the different arsenal of assets that we're taught in this class are going to step up our ability to combat the enemy. I think that it's going to enhance our capabilities to better defend ourselves and protect our assets so that we're a much more formidable force whenever it comes to the warfighter."