FORT CARSON, Colo.--The Soldiers of 1st Space Brigade brought the power of space-to the warfighter during exercises Keen Edge and Space Lightning ’22 earlier this month at Shafter, Hawaii, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Keen Edge, an annual U.S./Japan exercise that alternates between field training exercises (called Keen Sword) and command post exercises, is designed to enhance interoperability of each country’s military tactics, communication protocols and combat readiness.
Coinciding with Keen Edge over a 10-day period in late January and early February, Space Lightning trained joint combined forces to assess operational readiness in creating conditions for effective operations for a new three-star command called the Combined Joint Task Force Space Operations.
Army Space Control Planning Teams assisted both U.S. Indo-Pacific (Keen Edge) and U.S. Space Command (Space Lightning) in providing intelligence and planning in evaluating non-kinetic warfare support to the theater fires element.
Capt. Justin Martirosian, officer in charge of SCPT 4, 2nd Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, was impressed with his team, and stressed the importance of having them in the exercise.
“Supporting the U.S Army Pacific staff and advising them on Army space capabilities is what we do for these types of exercises,” Martirosian said. “By integrating space planners into the USARPAC staff, we ensure Army space capabilities nest with the Theater Joint Forces Land Component Command’s mission and intent.”
Martirosian’s five-Soldier crew routinely coordinated with Air Force and Space Force personnel within USINDOPACOM to accomplish their mission. More than half of it consisted of intelligence analysts.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Hershman, a senior intelligence analyst for SCPT 4 who is relatively new to Army space, brought advice concerning various threats across the Pacific theater to the table, which was relayed to the joint service branches his team worked with.
“I brought an analytical function of taking pieces of information from multiple platforms and disciplines within intelligence to create coherent information that I can give commanders,” Hershman said. “It’s about taking the small pieces of the puzzle, finding where they fit, and then enabling the decision makers to come up with the best decision possible with the most accurate information available.”
Hershman said the biggest takeaway for his team was building a stronger relationship with the joint services and organizations the team worked with and some lessons learned on how to navigate between all of them.
Across the Pacific at Vandenberg AFB, 2nd Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, sent two SCPTs to Space Lightning to assist with targeting synchronized threats for Keen Edge.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Heath Auerbach, an all-source intelligence technician for SCPT 7, said this was the first integration of an SCPT into USSPACECOM.
“It’s a reciprocal relationship,” Auerbach said. “Indo-PACOM would nominate targets, and we would synchronize them, all the while attempting to get authorities to connect operations for those targets, as well as SPACECOM’s.”
SCPT 7 also served as a direct link to USSPACECOM for SCPT 4, said Martirosian. The two teams were intrinsically affiliated and in constant contact with each other throughout the exercise to ensure mission success.