SCHRIEVER SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. – Members of 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, participated in Space Flag, a joint training exercise sponsored by U.S. Space Force, Aug. 8-19.
Space Flag 22-3, the largest iteration to date with approximately 120 participants, is a tactical mission planning exercise designed to ready space crews to operate through a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment. Additionally, it is intended to prepare space warfighters to defend U.S. and coalition partners’ interests in space as well as deter adversary aggression and deny their actions in the space domain.
Col. Donald Brooks, commander, 1st Space Brigade, said his unit played several different roles. He was tasked with playing the role as the Joint Task Force-Space Defense commander, or space boss, and Lt. Col. Michael Dyer, commander, 1st Space Battalion, played the role of the JTF-SD J3. He also had members of his Space Control Planning Teams integrated into the space electronic warfare package.
The exercise included three vulnerability periods where combat missions were planned and executed. Each vulnerability period grew in complexity as the participants adjusted and applied lessons learned from the previous periods. The Army had the lead on the third one.
“It was great to be asked to run any of the vulnerability periods, but to be asked to run the most difficult, complex one was a true honor,” Brooks said. “I was definitely humbled by it.”
Brooks said that was significant because it was the first time anyone from the Army has been the lead in any element of this exercise.
“This was the first time anyone outside of the Space Force has played the role of space boss, or any role for that matter,” he said. “This was very significant for us, as we have shown the value of Army Space within the joint force, and we have shown the value of Army space within the Space Force. We don’t compete against each other as services. We are very much complementary.
“I think by showing that nested synergy between the services, it lends credence to having a joint exercise called Space Flag,” Brooks said. “As such, it is vitally important to train and exercise as we operate and fight in the domain just as we do across the land, maritime, air, and cyber domains. So if called upon, we can gain and maintain the advantage to impose costs, deny benefits, and induce doubts upon our adversaries to ultimately win.”
Brooks said Space Flag affords the joint community the opportunity to do that against a thinking peer enemy in a training environment. He said this exercise focuses on training and preparing service members in the art and science of planning and the decision-making process to properly evaluate risk to mission and risk to force that readies space warfighters to dominate the ultimate high ground.
“Gone are the days of setting the theater with air superiority. Today and in the future fight, we must set the theater with space, special operations forces and cyber-enabling air superiority that further facilitates land and maritime superiority.”
The next iteration of Space Flag is scheduled to occur in December with plans to train U.S. and coalition space warfighters from multiple nations.