[FPSPACE] Counterspace technology unit enacted at Peterson AFB
Dwayne Allen Day
Tue, 23 Jan 2001 10:47:40 -0500 (EST)
Counterspace technology unit enacted at Peterson
01/22/01 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (Air Force Press Network) --
Concepts of futuristic offensive and defensive counterspace weapon
systems will soon be taken out of the lab and put to the test because of
the activation of the 76th Space Control Squadron here.
The new squadron became part of the 21st Space Wing Jan. 22.
The control squadron, Air Force Space Command's first counterspace
technology unit, will explore future space control technologies by
testing models and prototypes of counterspace systems for rapid
achievement of space superiority.
"The freedom to operate in space is widely acknowledged as an American
vital interest," said Brig. Gen. Gary R. Dylewski, Air Force Space
Command's director of operations. "We must plan to both protect our
access to space and deny access to those adversaries who want to use
their own space systems against the United States and our allies.
Investigating today's technologies better postures us for tomorrow."
The squadron will concentrate on working through the challenges
associated with future operations, according to Brig. Gen. C. Robert
Kehler, 21st Space Wing commander.
"Assessing the technological feasibility of an idea is only one piece of
the puzzle," Kehler said. "You also have to consider how each concept
might be deployed and employed in harsh combat environments. That's the
job of the 76th Space Control Squadron -- to think through operational
issues with an eye on improving potential designs."
Report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space
Management and Organization
III. U.S. Objectives for Space
A. Transform U.S. Military Capabilities
1. Deterrence and Defense Policy for Space
The 1996 National Space Policy states, =93Purposeful interference with
systems shall be viewed as an infringement on sovereign rights.=94 That
policy directs that steps be taken to protect against attack through such
measures as deploying sensors on satellites, hardening them to
electromagnetic effects and radiation and improving the security of
stations and communication links. It also directs that measures be taken
prevent attack on the communication links by encrypting messages, by
tracking satellites and through warnings. Generally, commercial satellite
operators have not seen a need to do this, as there are associated costs
customers have not demanded protection measures.
Current policy also calls for a capability to negate threats to the use
space by the United States. In 1999 then-Deputy Secretary of Defense John
Hamre stated that the preferred U.S. approach was =93tactical denial of
capabilities=94 used by an adversary, not =93permanent destruction.=94 The =
=93reserves the right to be able to retaliate and destroy=94 either ground
satellites, if necessary. The preferred approach to negation is the use
effects that are =93temporary and reversible in their nature.=94
Such approaches rely on jamming signals or interfering with the function
of hostile satellites rather than disabling or destroying them. Temporary
and reversible approaches are technically elegant and valuable, but they
may not serve equally well across the full spectrum of possible
contingencies. This is especially true when it is important to know with
high confidence that a satellite can no longer function.
The U.S. will require means of negating satellite threats, whether
temporary and reversible or physically destructive. The senior political
military leadership needs to test these capabilities in exercises on a
basis, both to keep the armed forces proficient in their use and to
their deterrent effect on potential adversaries. Besides computer-based
simulations and other wargaming techniques, these exercises should
include =93live fire=94 events. These =93live fire=94 events will require t=
development of testing ranges in space and procedures for their use that
protect the on-orbit assets of the U.S. and other space-faring nations.
exercises may give adversaries information they can use to challenge U.S.
space capabilities, that risk must be balanced against the fact that
capabilities that are untested, unknown or unproven cannot be expected to
A policy of deterrence would need to be extended to U.S. allies and
consistent with U.S. treaty obligations and U.S. interests. In the case
NATO, the U.S. might consider whether a planning group should be
formed to develop a common appreciation of the threats, discuss potential
responses and consult on the formulation of alliance policy and plans to
deter and defend against threats from space. Only by extensive prior
consultation, planning and appropriate exercises will the U.S. have the
cooperation it would need in a crisis.