By Staff Sgt. Dmitriy Arkannikov
126th Military History Detachment
Schofield Barracks, Hawaii — The importance of space capabilities, critical to successful Army ground combat operations, will continue to grow as the multi-domain operations concept is fully implemented, and testing the integration of these capabilities and their effects at the theater level is crucial.
Joint Warfighting Assessment 2021, the Army’s largest annual live multinational experiment focused on MDO, focuses on refining concepts, capabilities and formations through Soldier and leader feedback at live experiments. The exercise took place in Hawaii, Colorado and Washington, June 14-24.
Col. Brian Moore, deputy director, Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, is leading the effort to experiment with space capabilities and formations during the exercise.
“As the Army moves toward an MDO-capable force and the demand for space effects on the battlefield increases, the Army will require the right formations to integrate and synchronize effects in an increasingly complex space domain,” Moore said. “We want to ensure that we identify friction points and opportunities that will allow us to increase the lethality and precision of the Army and increase ways in which we are able to influence enemy actions.”
Testing new tactics and techniques can take patience, time and planning.
“Exercising a brand-new concept for the Army is always difficult,” said Lt. Col. Erikk Hurtt, SMDC, chief, Current Operations. “Where do we need to be and where don’t we need to be? Is there a gap that we intended to fill that we are not filling? Those are the things we are learning with this concept.
“We hope to validate integrating space effects at the theater level, to ensure that for the future we provide commanders the capabilities they need to go forth and do their mission,” Hurtt said. “We hope to learn that we constructed the right capability and mix of equipment and personnel to help buy back capability for the commander and also be able to take away from our adversaries.”
Hurtt said that to compete with adversaries in the space domain, the Army needs to develop and test new tactics and techniques
“Our adversaries across the globe are using space for tactical functions, and they increasingly incorporate space operations into their conduct of war,” Hurtt said. “Space effects allow the United States Army to remain a modern fighting force.”
The Army’s unique land force requirements in MDO cannot be met by another service, Moore said.
“Even with the establishment of the Space Force, the other services must retain organic space-related capabilities that solve their respective problem sets,” Moore said. “The Army will retain organic space-based capabilities to contribute to cross domain fires enabling maneuver and support across all warfighting functions and formations in multi-domain operations.”
The Army, in coordination with key stakeholders, focuses on Army and land targets and mission sets while the Space Force focuses on global space capabilities.
“We won’t be able to fight future conflicts without space capabilities,” Hurtt said. “We cannot conduct our operations without space and the effects that space provides.”