LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Army’s top space and missile defense leader chaired a panel on the importance of space in multi-domain operations during the 2019 Association of the U.S. Army Space and the Network Symposium, June 7.
Lt. Gen. James Dickinson, commander of Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, and the members of the panel discussed what is happening in the Army, DOD and in the commercial sector to position the Army for continuing space dominance in multi-domain operations.
“The operational environment has the potential to be very crowded with platforms, capabilities, and effects, in overlapping layers, in all domains,” Dickinson said. “Space capabilities and applications are pervasive and essential to success in all other domains.”
He said the fundamental issue that multi-domain operations addresses is the adversary’s ability to create and maintain standoff.
“The threat seeks to achieve this by employing layers of anti-access and area denial systems designed to separate the elements of the joint force in time, space, and function, and rapidly inflict losses on U.S. and partner military forces, to achieve their objectives faster than the U.S. can respond,” he said.
Their intent is to impact operations by separating the U.S. and allies in various aspects.
“Multi-domain operations provide a solution to potentially integrate joint capabilities to compete, penetrate, disintegrate, and exploit peer and near-peer adversaries’ anti-access and area denial systems,” Dickinson said.
“As part of an interoperable joint force, Army space forces will integrate national, joint, commercial, and partner space and high-altitude capabilities to employ theater-focused space capabilities that deliver, down to the tactical level, space effects on tactical timelines that contribute to deterring and defeating adversary hostile actions.”
The Army is making organizational changes in response to competitors’ growing layered standoff capabilities.
A new and innovative formation specifically built to support multi-domain operations is the I2CEWS unit. It stands for intelligence, information, cyber, electronic warfare and space.
In January, the first I2CEWS Battalion stood up in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Panel member Richard De Fatta, director, SMDC/ARSTRAT Future Warfare Center, said the I2CEWS Battalion provides related, but distinct capabilities to provide offensive and defensive cyber effects, Army space control capabilities, and to employ electronic warfare to support theater Army and geographic combatant commander mission objectives.
“The I2CEWS Battalion conducts intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, by employing organic multi-domain sensors and leveraging joint and national assets that detect, identify, and geo-locate enemy communications and non-communications, like radars and other emitters, as well as weapon systems. They also provide near-real time signals and geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT, target acquisition and products,” De Fatta said.
“I2CEWS space capabilities provide freedom of action and maneuver by protecting U.S. and friendly space systems, preventing an adversary’s hostile use of U.S. or third-party space capabilities, and negating an adversary’s ability to employ space systems and services for purposes hostile to U.S. national interest,” De Fatta said. “These capabilities include the negation of adversary space capabilities through deception, disruption, denial, degradation or destruction.”
Another ongoing effort is the concept to develop the Theater Space Warfare Battalion, which is assigned forward to conduct operational preparation of the environment and preplanned space operations.
De Fatta explained how it differs from the I2CEWS Battalion.
“Where I2CEWS Battalion provides only space control capabilities as part of a mixed tool bag of effects to deter or defeat the adversary, the Theater Space Warfare Battalion focuses on providing a larger set of space capabilities to echelons above brigade, which provides the ability to proactively control the environment to dictate terms and conditions of competition to the adversary,” he said.
“While still in a conceptual development, the Theater Space Warfare Battalion core functions are planning and employing space and high-altitude capabilities in support of multi-domain effects for the warfighter,” De Fatta said. “These capabilities will provide the theater commander an organization capable of integrating space and high-altitude operations from the global down to the tactical edge.”
Following the remaining panel members remarks, the group answered questions from attendees and Dickinson, the panel leader, made closing comments.
“We all need to remember we have 180,000 Soldiers amongst 10 named operations around the world, who are all relying every day, all day, on space capabilities,” Dickinson said. “We exist for one reason and that is to support the warfighters on the ground, so that they can do their assigned missions and come home safely to their families.”