FORT CARSON, Colo. - The Soldiers of 3rd Space Company, 2nd Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade are mostly made up of Army Reserve Soldiers who work civilian jobs. They are one of three companies within the battalion - the Army’s only Reserve space battalion - whose mission is supporting the warfighter on the ground at the division and corps level through Army Space Support Teams, or ARSSTs.
ARSSTs have a robust skillset that includes space situational awareness, commercial imagery downloads, position navigation timing warfare, and a host of other space-related jobs.
There are currently six ARSSTs in 3rd Space Co - ARSST 31-36 - with fluctuating personnel upward of 50 Soldiers.
Each team is composed of six Soldiers, (two officers and four enlisted) with different roles from the space operations officers that lead them, to satellite communications, intelligence, and geospatial engineers, all which provide expertise on space support operations, along with space-related capabilities that make warfighters with boots on the ground more effective and efficient in combat operations.
“The Reserve is almost exclusively responsible for supporting all of the global requirements for the ARSST mission set,” said Lt. Col. Adam Stanley, commander, 2nd Space Battalion. “That includes different contingency and operational plans at the joint level in addition to all the tier one level exercises that occur and require that mission-set.”
ARSST 33 of 3rd Space Co., and ARSST 51, of 5th Space Co., both recently provided support for one month at a time, each, to U.S. European Command for an ongoing real-world mission. ARSST 31 is the final team supporting the mission for the time being.
Maj. Matthew Lynes, ARSST 33 officer in charge, and a program evaluations manager for the Army Resilience Directorate at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for his civilian job, assembled and mobilized his team in less than two weeks. They worked out of Fort Carson providing navigation warfare, space-situational awareness, satellite communications, and other space capabilities.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of my team responding as quickly as they did for the mission, as well as working through all of the challenges that were presented to them,” Lynes said. “They are phenomenal Soldiers and leaders. We have a unique blend of different backgrounds and a lot of experience on our team, and I’m glad we were able to support the mission.”
Maj. Harold Sylva has been the 3rd Space Co. commander for a little over a year. He praised the ARSSTs for their duty and sacrifice to the critical ongoing mission in Europe.
“These Soldiers are bringing the tactical integration and synchronization of space to the mission over there,” Sylva said. “They are the force multiplier for space and have been providing the information others need for space-based capabilities. And as (Reserve Soldiers), they have been called to support the mission and are doing an outstanding job. Within the first week they had numerous customers and had a high demand for their products.”
Over the last year, ARSSTs have been placed in the Reserve and Army National Guard from their active duty counterpart, which now has Space Control Planning Teams - smaller four-person squads that focus on planning and integrating the full breadth of offensive and defensive space-control capabilities into schemes of operations, fires and maneuver for Army, joint and coalition forces.
“The ARSSTs are a multi-component organization consisting of National Guard, Reserve, and some active duty support,” Sylva said. “But that doesn’t mean they can’t mobilize and deploy for a mission in rapid time. ARSST 31 was able to spin up and be in place in a matter of two weeks to provide support to organizations that require space capabilities and integration.”
ARSST 31 came onboard for the EUCOM mission in mid-April, and is working from Fort Carson to support it.
Capt. Thomas Acker, a former UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and now ARSST 31 officer in charge with 13 years of combined active duty and Reserve service, said the mission has opened his eyes to the capabilities of an ARSST, and is proud of the job his team has done so far.
“We are dealing with everything from overhead precision infrared radar software to GPS modeling software, and electronic intelligence software, which all comes together to correlate and paint a picture for our supported agency, and higher headquarters,” Acker said. “Everyone is onboard for this mission, morale is very high, and there are no issues in supporting it.”
A sizable proportion of 3rd Space Co’s Soldiers have jobs and careers in the civilian space sector, said Sylva, a former instructor at SMDC’s Center of Excellence, who now works as a contractor for U.S. Space Command as an exercise planner.
“Many Reserve space Soldiers are constantly in the space field working and adapting,” Sylva said. “So, they are able to apply their skills and knowledge to the mission tied to their Reserve jobs and the ARSST mission. Working both sides of the house, whether it be a contractor or a GS (general schedule) when they put on that green suit, there is little to no change. They are ready to go, thus giving us a great advantage.”
Every two years ARSSTs go through a rigorous computer simulation-based certification process dubbed ‘tabling. There are currently four certified, fully-functional teams in 3rd Space Co, with a fifth on the way by the end of this month. The final team, ARSST 36, is short-staffed, and Sylva said he needs to start recruiting for Soldiers to fill slots soon by attending active duty Soldier out-briefs in an attempt to pull them into ARSST slots.
Critical military occupational specialties include the all-too-rare 25 Yankee, (geospatial engineer) and 25 Sierras and Bravos, (satellite communications and information technology).
“A lot of Soldiers just don’t know what we do in terms of space operations, and it’s important that we get the word out,” Sylva said. “That’s why I want to educate and recruit Soldiers to help meet the demand.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, if interested in an Army Reserve or National Guard career in Army space.