One of the primary efforts of all space advocates is to integrate, fully and effectively, the tremendous force enhancement capabilities of space-related assets into our national war-fighting capabilities. Lt Gen Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., states that Air Force Space Command's focus should relate to learning what the war-fighting commands need in the way of space systems. Part and parcel of this job is to demystify space and develop new applications for our space products.
Recent military operations have shown that the immense tactical application possibilities of current space systems are underused. The reason is that the war fighters are not familiar with space assets or capabilities and therefore do not have the tools or training to use them. The primary focus of this volume is to educate and begin to convince war fighters that space systems can do so much more for them than simply let them watch the fight. If the vast potential of space systems is fully understood and effectively applied, space can have a tremendous impact on mission planning and execution, saving friendly lives and increasing weapon effectiveness.
Support from space assets has been successful in several recent operations. For example: Desert One (Iran), Urgent Fury (Grenada), El Dorado Canyon (Libya), and Just Cause (Panama). Prior to the massive effort to integrate space into the Desert Storm theater, most efforts using space had limited success and focused mostly on communications and intelligence. Primarily, this focus was due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of space systems capabilities within the war-fighting community. Most requests were ad hoc reactions and piecemeal efforts, not fully coordinated between users and providers of space systems.
Classified Annex A to this handbook covers in-depth space support to Operation Desert Storm. Even though Desert Storm was tremendously successful, it showed the need for better space understanding and applications. Gen Norman Schwarzkopf echoed this idea when he briefed Congress on problems with battle damage assessment and intelligence dissemination. Better space applications can greatly improve these areas as well as other missions.
We have not fully exploited the expansive potential of space systems. We have extremely sophisticated and capable space systems that have the advantages of high volume collection and relay of global data in real time or near real time. These advantages allow our forces to see, measure, and proactively respond to a threat. However, among other problems, the users have prototype equipment operated by untrained personnel which results in a trickle of noncurrent information to the unit and aircrew level. Also, there is the continuing problem of overclassifying the output and products of some space systems. Space asset owners and operators must capitalize on the enormous amount of money already spent on space systems and maximize their capabilities in supporting combat execution.
Desert Storm featured a great improvement in space system utility, giving us a new baseline from which to grow. According to Lt Gen Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., "We proved our worth in the Persian Gulf, and in the future we will prove our worth as we continue to enhance combat effectiveness with space systems." Space provided critical support to all the services in navigation, communications, weather, and intelligence. In an encouraging article from Air Force Magazine, James Canan writes, "In military circles, space is losing its high-flown, R&D aura and is taking on a down-to-earth, operational look. Warfighting commanders are fast becoming sold on space systems." The information that space systems provide to tactical forces is extremely well received and changes the way we plan a lot of missions. We are making a difference! This difference is an example of what needs to happen, but we must also improve our education process.
Increasing the War Fighter's Comfort Index for Space Systems
According to Lt Gen Thomas S. Moorman, "Our goal [as space advocates] is to create a climate where the flying commands are comfortable with space, and think of space solutions to their operational problems." The space community needs to sell the utility and value of space to the war fighters and thereby increase their comfort index on space. Lt Col Randy Peixotto, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) states, "AFSOC forces use space capabilities on a daily basis and on every operational mission, but like most organizations, we do not normally recognize the extent to which we are dependent on satellites." War-fighting commands have to become familiar with what is available and practice using it. We need to ensure they have continuous hands-on access to hardware even during peacetime. The phrase "train as we fight" applies here and lies at the heart of the Space Handbook. This text is a training tool or a stepping stone for the uninitiated and is for use by neophytes who need to be aware of the capabilities and potential of space. We must educate our leaders and war fighters on space, and the Handbook is a means to help.
The bottom line is that Air Force Space Command and the Space Handbook focus on space as a force enhancer to war-fighting operations. The objective is to provide better understanding which will capitalize on the billions of dollars invested in space systems to allow us to execute combat operations more effectively.