FORT CARSON, Colo – In August, the Space and Missile Defense Command’s 1st Space Brigade will begin training select Marines on how the Army uses space-based capabilities to assist warfighters.
Marines from the newly activated Marine Corps Forces Space Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, will train at the Space and Missile Defense School in Colorado Springs, and then move on to embed with Army Space Support Teams. Training will include situational awareness of space capabilities, space assets, space products and the impact of space on operations.
“The Marines will fall in on SMDC’s training,” Maj. Steven Richards, an ARSST officer-in-charge with 2nd Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, said. “We will get them schooled up on certification tables to be fully prepared to bring their space expertise back to whomever is requesting it.”
That expertise will be in the form of Marine Space Support Teams, similar to 1st Space Brigade’s ARSSTs.
Marine Capt. Jacob Loya, a communications officer with a background in satellite communications, is a space operations planner working with 1st Space Brigade to begin the process of training the Marines.
“We are in our initial building stage of SOPs (standard operating procedures) and TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures) and force structure,” Loya said. “Right now this is a capability that doesn’t exist in the Marine Corps. It’s always us reaching out to the joint force to provide it. With the renewed emphasis on space and the standing up of the Space Force and Space Command, the Marine Corps needs to have skin in the game. We want to be able to operate independently and that starts by learning all the TTPs built out by 1st Space Brigade. It’s a knowledge base we just don’t have.”
Maj. Gen. David Furness, assistant deputy commandant for plans, policy and operations at the Marine Corps, recently visited 1st Space Brigade to get briefed on the overview of the training and overall SMDC operations.
“We will learn from Army Space on how to conduct our operations,” Furness said. “We are looking to fill gaps in what you (SMDC) do for the entire joint force or multi-domain task force.”
Col. Donald Brooks, commander of 1st Space Brigade, was attached to a Marine unit while deployed to Iraq in 2007-08 and has a deep appreciation of what they do.
“I have a huge affinity for the Marines and now to be able to bring them into our organization and train them on a mission set that not many people truly understand or know is special for me and this organization,” Brooks said. “The relationship we have been building with the Marines is coming to fruition with the Marine Space Support Teams introduction and integration into the command not only at the company level, but also integrating Marine space professionals into the brigade staff. As we execute operations for an exercise or a real-world deployment, having those Marines in the Army together in that connective tissue working hand-in-hand is critical as we fight this future joint fight.”
As of now, there is no set time limit on how long Marines will remain integrated into 1st Space Brigade companies, but the intention is to establish their own autonomous Marine Space Support Teams.