The Space Force is studying the needs of the U.S. military in low-orbit observation satellites

Battlefield commanders demand more reliable and timely data that can be provided by commercial services

WASHINGTON – Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has ordered the space forces to broadly consider military requirements for top-down surveillance that can be met by commercial constellations of satellites in low Earth orbit.

“This question was asked to us by the Secretary of the Air Force: how will we use commercial opportunities?” This was announced on February 15 by Deputy Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Intelligence Joseph Rouge.

“And so we are now in the middle of trying to first understand the needs and requirements,” Rouge said at the online event En ExecutiveBiz.

The use of commercial space services for military ISR (reconnaissance, surveillance and reconnaissance) is growing conversation for commanders on the battlefield demand more reliable and timely data. The military receives images from government satellites and drones. But he also wants to take advantage of new technologies from commercial companies that offer high-quality images from low-orbit satellites that can visit the same place several times a day.

Rouge said the common term for this new capability is “tactical ISR from space”. The space force is now in talks with military services, global combat commands and various defense and intelligence agencies to “really understand what the needs are,” he said.

The Space Force is responsible for providing space support services to all Ministries of Defense, such as satellite communications, GPS navigation and weather data. The ISR has now been added to the list, Rouge said. The Space Forces will assess demand, recommend how to meet that demand, and the funding that will be needed. These recommendations will be reviewed by the Air Force Department and submitted to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Part of the demand for ISR will be met by government satellites, but there is clearly a need for commercial services in low Earth orbit, and the question to be answered is what the right combination is, Rouge said. “Once you understand the needs, you can begin to understand and be able to look at the gaps, and then how commerce can help us address those gaps.”

“Tactical ISR is our first venture in this,” Rouge said. “It’s an interesting challenge. We find a lot of requirements. ” Once the Space Forces receives wish lists from all military personnel, they will be analyzed Center for Space Combat Analysis, he said. “Their job is mostly to help us understand what the right decisions are and what the options are for missions from space.”

Kendall said the teaching of military space support requirements is “a chance for the Space Forces to take on a leadership role that is truly shared.”

Deputy Chief of Space Operations General David “DT” Thompson is responsible for coordinating these requirements, Kendall said Feb. 15 at an event at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Research. The Space Force is studying the needs of the U.S. military in low-orbit observation satellites

Back to top button