Army developing space strategy

By Jaspreet Gill / October 16, 2019 at 1:28 PM

The Army is in the beginning stages of developing a space strategy to help the service utilize space in four different areas.

The idea for the strategy came to fruition 18 months ago from the service's then-Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy and then-Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville, according to Willie Nelson, director of the Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing cross-functional team.

"[They] asked that we pull together Army space strategy needs, how does the Army utilize space as a tactical warfighting campaign to enable synchronized efforts on the ground?" Nelson told reporters Oct. 16 at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting. "Out of that really came four main thrusts for the Army."

The first component of the strategy involves communications capabilities the service is trying to leverage, including high database bandwidth and multiple avenues to get data in and out of the battlefield. The second area of the strategy is assured PNT capabilities that will aid soldiers in GPS-contested environments. Nelson added the Army is working with the Air Force on the conversion to Military-Code GPS.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is the third component of the strategy, including capabilities like overhead sensors and figuring out the best ways to use them to provide situational awareness.

"And then lastly, how do you bring that all together? How do you use all that data . . . and how do you bring that data to the battlefield system?" Nelson said. "And that really is a consolidation of a lot of current capabilities on the battlefield."

Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, told reporters today the notional strategy will be developed in conjunction with the service’s Space and Missile Defense Command, and "the Department of Defense has a large say in the Army's role in space" as well.

"Part of that is: SMDC will always be part of the Army, but with the standup of [U.S.] Space Command . . . how does that all work itself out over the next months in terms of what roles, responsibilities, services, versus in this case a global commander?" he added.