LANSING, Mich.—The Michigan National Guard (MING) is expanding its technological capabilities, partnering with a Michigan company focusing on space domain integration by linking deep space technology to operational and tactical fires.
According to the Defense Space Strategy Summary, space is now a distinct warfighting domain, demanding enterprise-wide changes to policies, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities and expertise for a new strategic environment.
“Space is vital to national security, and this partnership demonstrates an enduring solution for the Department of Defense Joint Fires applications by integrating the space domain from joint targeting to battle damage assessment,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director, Department of Michigan Veteran Affairs. “The technology Orbital Effects offers is near-real-time direct downlink of satellite radar imagery and intelligence data from space to the tactical user within minutes of overflight and demonstrates the rapid integration of technology prototyping and capability evolution into emerging Joint All Domain doctrine.”
The Michigan Guard and Orbital Effects, located in Ann Arbor, teamed up to advance emerging doctrine and develop associated tactics, techniques and procedures. The Guard lets Michigan-based defense industrial base companies use its facilities to demonstrate and test their technologies.
“The Michigan Guard identified a need to integrate the space domain into the National All Domain Warfighting Center, and Orbital Effects identified a need to develop and test their sensor to tactical end-user techniques and procedures,” said Ryan Farris, co-founder and chief financial officer, Orbital Effects. “This agreement benefits both organizations and originated during an industry day held at the 2020 Northern Strike Exercise at Camp Grayling, Michigan.”
The alliance can serve as a vehicle for MING to develop partnerships with sensor-to-end-users and Army Futures Command and to be the Army’s platform for space-based joint fires integration and effects delivery.
“Our technology provides a theater-level direct tasking and dissemination service model that enables tactical commanders to directly/dynamically-task/or retask an asset as part of an integrated intelligence plan,” said Farris. “This space-based radar technology promotes operational and tactical intelligence systems as a way to increase the effectiveness of the joint force.”
Space-based capabilities are integral to the Michigan National Guard and are an indispensable component of U.S. military power. One base in northern Michigan is receiving experience with this technology: Camp Grayling, the largest Army maneuver training center in the reserve component, is a full-spectrum, four-season joint training center that enables military commanders and civilian leaders to meet their unit readiness requirements.
“The addition of Orbital Effects to our robust defense industry partners’ portfolio allows the National All Domain Warfighting Center the ability to provide the warfighter with an immense training capability,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Kent Smith, Camp Grayling, Michigan National Guard. “This partnership provides the warfighter with near-peer and peer adversaries space sensor capabilities to enhance their tactics.”
This partnership can serve the MING to develop future collaborations with Sensor-to-Shooter cross-functional team/Army Futures Command and be the Army’s platform for space-based joint fires integration and effects delivery.
“Bringing the space domain to the Camp Grayling training complex is an important step in improving force readiness and also producing better trained, equipped and ready forces,” said Farris. “Space is the newest military domain, and it will take several years of experimentation and training to maintain our nation’s advantage.”
Farris said Orbital Effects is focused on providing the Department of Defense and intelligence community space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
“We also offer secure, rapid tasking, collection and delivery of SAR data, on-site SAR processing and automation of the tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination process to drastically compress user timelines and improve information advantage.“