"The United States must win and maintain the capability to control space in order to assure the progress and pre-eminence of the free nations. If liberty and freedom are to remain in the world, the United States and its allies must be in position to control space."
                    General Thomas D. White,
                    Air Force Chief of Staff, 1955


As space products and services become ever more interwoven with our nation's politics, economics, culture, and security, they become an increasingly lucrative target for potential adversaries. With such growing dependence (Figure 5-1), a future foe could gain an advantage by denying, disrupting, or destroying our ability to access and use space. As space becomes an area of vital national interest, USCINCSPACE must be prepared to protect and defend it. Control of Space is essential to achieving the force multiplying effect of Information Superiority.

Control of Space is the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space, if required. Achieving and maintaining Control of Space will influence all national and military objectives. Future space programs will be "consumer oriented" to assure information dominance to the warfighter. This operational concept encompasses today's missions of space control and space support (Launch and Satellite Control).

Figure 5-1 Space Becoming a Key to National Interests

"Given the importance of space-based capabilities to information operations, our ability to operate in space, support military activities from space and deny adversaries the use of space will be key to our future military success."
                    NDP Report, December 1997

Control of Space requires USCINCSPACE to achieve five interrelated objectives: (1) assure the means to get to space and operate once there; (2) surveil the region of space to achieve and maintain situational understanding; (3) protect our critical space systems from hostile actions; (4) prevent unauthorized access to, and exploitation of, US and allied space systems and, when required, (5) negate hostile space systems that place US and allied interests at risk (see Figure 5-2).


By 2020, we'll have a robust and wholly integrated suite of capabilities in space and on the ground. They will enable us to have situational understanding in space and to ensure access to, through, and from space while defending against all hostile threats. Maintaining dominance of space will require new systems, concepts of operation, and organizations.

The strategy begins with reliable, flexible, and cost-effective means to launch space payloads and operate them once there. Driving the cost of space systems down is important to finding the trade space necessary to provide increased space-based capabilities to the warfighter. Assured Access requires a mix of reuseable launch vehicles, expendable launch vehicles, space operations vehicles, and space tugs to deploy, reconstitute, replenish, refurbish, augment, and sustain space systems. The highly dynamic operations tempo in 2020 will require space-based support to be there when needed vice when available. Access to space must be flexible, inexpensive, and available on demand. Command and control of on-orbit assets will be nearly continuous to allow on-demand changes to satellite configurations. National "spaceports" will make access routine, and key partnerships between the DoD, commercial and civil agencies will help manage the increasing space traffic to, through, and from space. Achieving our goals in 2020 will require us to provide timely, low-cost launch and to command and control satellites in near real time.

Figure 5-2 Concepts of Operations for Control of Space

To assure access to space, we must surveil it. Surveillance of Space allows total battlespace awareness, freedom of operations, and deconfliction of activities to, in, and from space-the cornerstones to "enforcing the peace." It also means we must quickly track, identify, characterize, and catalog objects launched into space with ever greater precision. A robust surveillance architecture will spawn a space organization similar to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)-possibly a much enhanced Space Control Center supported by USSPACECOM Battle Managers. To get there, we'll need a mix of much more capable ground- and space-based sensors, which will provide situational understanding of space in near real time.

With these foundations established, the first priority is to protect our vital national space systems, so they'll be available to all warfighters when and where they are needed. Protection requires warning of possible threats (natural and man-made) to US and allied space systems, receiving reports of possible attacks against satellites, cross-cueing other owners or operators, and directing forces to respond to a threat. Space systems must have on-board sensors to detect attacks and quickly report anomalies or suspicious events. The core of protection will be a robust battle manager that receives, processes, correlates, and distributes information reliably, unambiguously, and rapidly. This capability may deter hostile actions against US space systems because, if we know we're under attack, and can quickly identify the source and warn others of the event, an adversary may gain little advantage and choose not to attack.

Prevention denies an adversary's source of power from exploiting US or allied space capabilities, at least temporarily, by any means short of applying military force, including political, informational, or economic. Prevention concepts and systems must be able to identify, report, and distribute audit infor-mation on unauthorized access to, and exploiting of, US and allied space systems. USCINCSPACE's main role will be to provide the command, control, and communication architecture necessary to detect and report use and to assess its impact.

Finally, Negation means applying military force to affect an adversary's space capability by targeting ground-support sites, ground-to-space links, or spacecraft. Negation will be executed when prevention fails. High-priority targets include an enemy's ability to hold US and allied space systems at risk. Negation will evolve from current concepts, which emphasize terrestrial attacks on an adversary's ground nodes, to a full range of flexible and discriminate techniques against the most appropriate node. Acting under clear lines of authority and rules of engagement, USCINCSPACE will take actions necessary to meet the National Command Authorities' objectives and defend our nation's vital space interests. Actions will range from temporarily disrupting or denying hostile space systems to degrading or destroying them. Our objectives must consider third-party use, plausible deniability and how actions will add to debris or otherwise affect the environment.

A robust battle management capability is crucial to the execution of the entire operations concept. The battle manager will automatically cue systems; fuse information from surface-, air-, and space-based systems; and distribute tailored information from all sources and at multiple levels of security to various users in real or near real time. Besides providing a common operating picture, USSPACECOM Battle Managers will also provide the status of forces, planning tools, decision aids, and execution paths needed to control space. This information will allow USCINCSPACE to select and employ the proper response against threats, assess combat results, and reengage if the threats aren't neutralized. The USSPACECOM Battle Manager will also support a dynamic modeling and simulation capability to support rigorous training, testing, and exercising of joint operations. The USSPACECOM Battle Managers are the key enabler for Control of Space (shown in yellow as CoS in Figure 5-3).

In the following section, this plan addresses the key tasks for each specified objective and the key capabilities needed to achieve the desired end state for 2020. Although we have assigned metrics to each capability, they may change as the plan matures and our vision of 2020 becomes clearer. In other words, the metrics capture the right direction but not necessarily the final destination. For example: for safer human spaceflight, we need to accurately track and avoid smaller objects in space. But the 2020 goal of tracking 1 centimeter objects may change because spacecraft may safely withstand impacts from larger objects.

For each key capability, we also discuss road-maps with associated candidate systems, potential technologies, organizations, CONOPS and partnerships. The systems listed for each specified objective were not necessarily built to meet its requirements for these capabilities. Through the Mission Area Assessment Working Groups, Service components provided candidate systems to achieve the 2020 end state. Finally, we've assessed how well we can achieve these capabilities by 2020.

Figure 5-3 Global Defense Information Network and the Battle Managers

Figure 5-4 Key Tasks for Assured Access


Assured Access

Assured Access is the "on-demand use" of space lines of communication to enable unimpeded operations in and through space. It's essential to the conduct of space missions (see Figure 5-4). With the dramatic expansion of space operations by 2020, space transport are evolving along lines similar to early aviation-from military, single-use platforms to commercial use. Assured access will involve DoD, national, civil, and commercial organizations, with global partnerships developing to build cost-effective, responsive, flexible systems. Moreover, it is the key to affordable use of space. We must, as a matter of priority, solve the access to space problem in order to free investment to evolve other space capabilities.

Assured Access involves three key tasks:

Key Capabilities for Assured Access

Based on the three key tasks just described, there are six key capabilities required for 2020. Figure 5-5 depicts the desired warfighter capabilities, current ability, and the goal for 2020.

Figure 5-5 Assured Access Capabilities and Goals for 2020

Assured Access-Systems Assessment

Assured Access-CONOPS, Organizations, Global Partnerships and Policies

Around 2004, commercial spacelift will largely supplant the DoD's spacelift fleet because it will be so dependable. For DoD to use commercial space-lift, we'll need to resolve the policy issue of launch priorities. The nation will need to build consensus by 2005 on whether reusable launch vehicles make sense and then determine the proper mix. Demand for commercial launches will far exceed that for DoD launches by 2004. Thus, opportunities will arise to partner with industry so we can convert launch ranges to commercially managed spaceports (analogous to airports) that will provide space-lift infrastructure and range control. To do so, we'll need to negotiate agreements with the Department of Transportation and the commercial providers starting around 2001. For "load and launch" CONOPS, spacelift systems and force-enhancement satellites must be readily available with short preparation time. Standard interfaces between launch vehicles and satellites will help select the launch vehicle based on availability and mission profile. The increases in spacelift traffic call for merging the launch ranges' safety control function and air traffic control into an FAA-like space organization. The resulting global traffic control will require collaboration among the DoD, Department of Transportation, FAA, civil, US commercial, and international space-lift communities, and international traffic-control organizations. To ensure access to frequencies needed for commanding satellites, the DoD must coordinate with other government agencies and commercial interests. An integrated satellite operations mission planning CONOPS will optimize on-demand commanding and streamline resource planning.

Figure 5-6 shows the roadmap for Assured Access.

Figure 5-6 Assured Access Roadmap

Assured Access-Overall Assessment

The overall assessment for Assured Access is GREEN in 2020 provided the US acquires the required systems, supporting technologies mature, and CONOPS, organizations, and partnership opportunities develop. For the transition period, having launch on-demand by 2008 drives Assured Access from RED to YELLOW. Although the Space Operations Vehicle will arrive by 2012, the assessment won't move from YELLOW to GREEN until these vehicles are acquired and in sufficient number by 2018. Satellite operations are a strong YELLOW because of the virtual satellite-control network which will allow operator access through desktop computers. Figure 5-7 shows this assessment.

Figure 5-7 Assessment of Assured Access

Assured Access-Technology Assessment

New launch-processing techniques are needed to reduce timelines and costs that currently prohibit launch on demand. Reusable vehicles-such as the Space Operations Vehicle or NASA's technology demonstrator, X-33-may be the solution. If so, they'll require lightweight, durable materials for thermal protection and improvements in propulsion system operability and reusability. They will also need advanced launch-processing techniques, such as systems to handle propellants and cryogenic materials, plus new procedures for weather forecasting, integrating vehicles, and payloads and managing ranges. Lastly, expendable and reusable vehicles will need new technologies for tankage, structures, rocket-engine parts, propellant handling, advanced upper stages, and extending the lifetimes of satellite components. Assured Access to space has many dimensions and requires changes in architectures and philosophies, as well as several breakthroughs in technology.

Assured Access-Recommendations and Directives

(Recommendation) Determine the future architecture and organization for controlling space traffic.

(Recommendation) Update national policy to protect the DoD's need for space-based frequencies. (SPJ6)

(Recommendation) Jointly develop a national technology roadmap that further reduces costs for spacelift. (AFSPC/Labs/Industry)

(Recommendation) Fund demonstrations of space-maneuver vehicles for Fiscal Years 2002 and 2003. These vehicles are the key to recovering politically sensitive platforms from space. They also can dramatically change how we use our satellite constellations. (AFSPC)

(Recommendation) Revise national policy on launch priorities to benefit all users while accounting for the DoD's transition to commercial launches and the expected emergence of launch on demand. (AFSPC)

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