Space capabilities vital to Army, MDO
Richard De Fatta, director, Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, speaks during the 2020 Institute for Defense and Government Advancement’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense virtual conference, Dec. 3, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Mikayla Mast) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – One of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s senior leaders said keeping unique Army space-based capabilities organic to the Army is necessary to support multi-domain operations.

Richard De Fatta, director, Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, discussed the command’s satellite communications, space situational awareness, missile warning and missile defense support to the Army and the Department of Defense during the 2020 Institute for Defense and Government Advancement’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense virtual conference, Dec. 3.

“The Army’s unique land force requirements in MDO cannot be met solely by reliance on another service providing support,” De Fatta said. “Army space capabilities are critical to successful ground combat operations today, and their importance will only grow as the MDO concept is fully implemented.”

USASMDC serves as the Army Service Component Command for USSPACECOM. In this role, USASMDC integrates Army space into the USSPACECOM warfighting culture through trained and ready Army forces performing crucial no-fail missions around the globe while continuing support to other combatant commands.

With the establishment and development of USSPACECOM and the U.S. Space Force, De Fatta said USASMDC does not plan to lose or transfer any vital Army space capabilities.

“As SPACECOM and the Space Force mature, SMDC’s focus is on how to transition between new and legacy architectures, not missions and functions between services,” De Fatta said. “Any transfer of Army space capabilities or personnel will require a deliberate conditions-based approach.”

De Fatta said that during this period of transition and transfer, USASMDC’s top priority is—and will always be—USSPACECOM’s mission readiness.

In addition to retaining its space capabilities, De Fatta said it is also important for Army space to integrate with other military capabilities.

“Military space power achieves its greatest potential when combined with all other forms of military power,” De Fatta said. “Therefore, integration is a top priority as we move toward an MDO environment and a force designed for large-scale combat operations.”

According to De Fatta, this kind of integration began earlier this year when the Army and the Air Force signed a two-year collaboration agreement to develop the Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

“This integration and information-sharing between joint platforms—from mud to space—is what will enable us to defeat advanced threats in the near to mid-term,” De Fatta said. “It will be critical as we continue to develop capabilities to address future threats.”

With future threats in mind, the Army and key stakeholders are developing a tabletop exercise to mature the Theater Strike Effects Group, which will provide operational support for MDO by providing organic space forces to the theater Army.

“These capabilities are integral to theater planning and cannot be effectively provided in the form of an external service,” De Fatta said. “TSEG forces will coordinate with, but operate outside of, SPACECOM giving the theater commander the authority and ability to integrate space capabilities.”

De Fatta said Army space capabilities, provided by Army space operators are already integrated in Army warfighting formations.

“For the theater Army, the responsibility for deterring armed conflict during competition, setting the theater and enabling joint maneuver in conflict requires direct support from Army space, high-altitude and missile defense forces and capabilities,” De Fatta said. “These formations provide maneuver commanders the full range of space- and high altitude-based capabilities and effects across warfighting functions in support of theater and all domain fires and maneuver.”

De Fatta said Army space, with its current space capabilities and new projects under way, is vital to Army missions and MDO and will continue to support these missions.

“SMDC is perfectly positioned to provide the necessary support to the joint force on behalf of the Army,” De Fatta said. “We will continue to ensure that our Army space professionals, units and systems are ready to provide commanders at all echelons potent capabilities to counter our adversaries in competition and conflict, and in all domains.”