PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – As close allies, American and British forces routinely operate side-by-side across a wide range of military operations. The two countries preserve and strengthen historic bonds through educational, cultural and professional exchange and development opportunities.
For the first time, a British Army officer has attended the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Army Space Cadre Basic Course, which educates Soldiers and civilians on the fundamentals of space capabilities, space systems and space organizations. This enables heightened understanding of their roles in the space community.
Maj. Paul Wooster, a land staff officer for U.K. Space Command, attended the two-week course Sept. 12-23, potentially leading the way for others to follow.
“I have certainly found the course very useful. We are still growing in numbers in terms of Army personnel in U.K. Space Command, which is Joint by design,” said Wooster. “This course will absolutely have benefits for officers and soldiers in appointments within the command and across field army formations. Understanding the effects and impact of space on the warfighter is really important, and I would like to think that this is going to be the first of many iterations of British personnel attending this course.”
Wooster, who has attended the UK’s Intermediate Space Operations Course previously, said the ASCBC exceeded his expectations and that the instructors’ knowledge has been a real credit to U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense School, Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, and USASMDC. The course teaches the fundamentals and theoretical aspects of space, which are important, but it continually brings it back to the relevance and perspective of the warfighter and how it impacts them.
“By being a part of this course and witnessing how the U.S. Army is currently delivering that, allows me to identify what’s working well, align that with our own current and future capabilities, and direction of travel, and then look for crossover as a way to refine our own internal processes,” Wooster said. “This will be useful for not only how we integrate space within the U.K. across domains, but also how we can potentially integrate space in a combined multi-national environment in the future.”
Wooster said the second phase of the course was the most relevant for him in terms of the real-world application of space effects and space capabilities and how they impact and can be accessed by the warfighter.
“From the perspective of my role within U.K. Space Command, understanding the roles of the ARSST (Army Space Support Team) and the SSE (space support element) have been really critical,” he said. “At this moment in time, we don’t have support teams within U.K. defense. What we do have though is a structure of space liaison officers who are embedded across defense into various headquarters, advocating the importance of space and delivering space support to real-time operations.
“Learning how the Army supports division, corps and Army level headquarters, the products they are generating, and the technology they have access to has been really useful to see,” added Wooster. “As U.K. Space Command grows, how SMDC supports those operational and tactical formations is something we may look to replicate or build upon in the future.”
Wooster said although the British army doesn’t have ownership of the space domain in the U.K., a responsibility that has been delegated to U.K. Space Command, they are one of, if not the largest user of space-based capabilities in defense.
“The British army is just as reliant as the U.S. Army on space-based capabilities and interests,” Wooster said. “We are structured to operate NATO by design and attendance in this course reiterates the partnership and the intent that both the U.K. and the U.S. have to work cooperatively.”
Wooster said he was grateful to USASMDC for the opportunity.
“Personally, I’d like to say thank you to SMDC for allowing this opportunity. It’s been an insightful and enjoyable two weeks and will be followed by visits to the 1st Space Brigade and numerous interactions with the staff departments within SMDC, discussing potential opportunities for future collaboration.
“It is yet another example of the strength of our partnership, and I’m sure the dialogue between myself, U.K. Space Command and SMDC will only continue and develop further,” said Wooster.