Yesterday I blogged about the coming new "space race", and the U.S. House of Representatives' desire to see NASA shift from its "direct-to-Mars" horizon goal to a return to manned Lunar missions as a stepping stone to Mars. You'll recall my argument yesterday was that this shift in policy and objectives was ultimately geo-celestial-politically motivated, given the stated intentions of China to reach, permanently base, and mine the Moon. As I argued yesterday, having a direct Mission To Mars while leaving foreign pwoers to base the Moon would be to endanger any communications between the Earth and the Red Planet to fundamental potential for interdiction of that communications lifeline. (and there's a wider context here, if you'll recall, with China wanting to build its own version of CERN's super-collider. But I digress).
Within that context, this article was shared by Ms. M.W., and I want to pass it along, together with some "high octane speculation reading-between-the-lines":
Note first of all, that the general thrust of the article and of General Hyten's remarks is toward an integrative approach to military operations on planet Earth:
General Hyten began his presentation with a video highlighting the importance of space and cyber integration into everything we do in the military. The video also depicted how easily that integration can be taken away by a determined adversary if we don't properly defend our capabilities.
At the conclusion of the video, he posed the following question to the audience: "What if we lost space and cyberspace?"
General Hyten went on to elaborate on the importance of space and cyber effects on the battlefield, saying, "Those soldiers on the battlefield in the Middle East can never be left alone."
"All of the domains have to play at the same time with things happening simultaneously. That's multi-domain operations," he said.
General Hyten stressed that the Air Force is changing and moving toward a multi-domain mindset that relies on "the integration of all the domains - land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace - working together to deliver an effect in the battlefield."
"A year ago today we didn't have the term multi-domain operations," said General Hyten. "Multi-domain means it doesn't matter where effect comes from, what domain we use or what platform as long as it creates an effect on the battlefield. That's multi-domain operations. That is fundamentally different from the way we operate today."
So far, soo good: here is nothing here we have not heard before: dominance of the high ground of space is essential to military operations on Earth. We've been hearing this ever since Lyndon Johnson was Senate Majority leader in the late 1950s, helping Dwight Eisenhower in the creation of NASA in the first place.
But then there's a subtle shift:
General Hyten expressed the importance of the Joint Interagency Space Operations Center in building a resilient enterprise, saying, "We have done three experiments, lasting about three weeks apiece. In those experiments we have learned a lot of things including that the intelligence community is the key to everything. The most important thing about the JICSpOC right now that we maintain a tight partnership with the entire National Security Space community."
He then laid out specific ways AFSPC is organizing, training, and equipping Airmen to operate in a threatened operating environment.
"We need to train a Space Mission Force. We need our space operators focused on what to do in case of a threat and to operate through the threat environment," General Hyten said. "We have to change the way we train our Airmen."
SMF is designed to make space operator training and crew force resemble the rest of the Air Force. The cornerstone of SMF is the creation of a twin crew force. One crew will be in the fight, operating the mission, while the other crew force is in garrison receiving advanced training. The crews will switch every four months so they continue to gain experience through training and then apply that training in real world operations.
General Hyten also highlighted the need to focus on equipping forces with more resilient capabilities, explaining how AFSPC "came up with something called a Threat-Focused Space Enterprise Vision, the Space Enterprise Vision for short. If war does extend into space someday, and I hope it never does, the first response is not going to be in space. The first response could be in cyberspace, or the air, or terrestrial or any number of places meaning we must share common information across various domains. In other words, space Enterprise Vision."
Now, I do not know about you, but what this sounds like is (1) "we need to be prepared for an actual war in space" and (2) we need to be aable to think in terms of all servicce branches being involved in prosecuting sucha potential war." You'll note Generl Hyten lays great stress onn new training of airmen, but the implication of his remarks is that all service branchs will have to be retrained to fight such a war: soldiers, for example, will need to be retrained not only to fight on the ground on Earth, but presumably, on other types of "territory." Implicit also in the remarks is the need to respond to space-based threats from the Earth, via cyber warfare and other platforms.
In short, and viewed in the context of yesterday's blog, it defiinitely appears that the US military is beginning the transition from a merely terrestrially-based force with merely terrestrial missions, to a long term strategic mission of being capable too fight a war extended into space.
The real question is, is it really just China or Russsia that they're worried about?
See you on the flip side...