AUGUST 10, 2022 – The leader of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command said the command ensures space remains a capability for the Soldier, the Army and the nation during his address at the 25th Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Aug. 9.
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, focused on Army space during his speech reflecting the symposium’s theme of “Air, Space and Missile Defense: Ready today – Modernizing for Tomorrow.”
“Space is already an area of strategic competition, with Chinese and Russian space activities in particular presenting serious and growing threats to U.S. national security interests,” Karbler said. “Both are expanding their satellite constellations and developing multi-orbit capabilities with the goal of integrating cross-domain space, cyberspace and electronic warfare capabilities. These efforts not only give them the potential to deny, degrade and disrupt friendly land force targeting, navigation, and communications – the platforms that enable us to shoot, move and communicate – They also impact our ability to conceal and protect ground forces across the entire battlespace; from home station to assembly areas, and from assembly areas to objectives.”
Karbler said these adversaries by contesting American dominance in the space domain are increasing their operational reach and resilience in the land domain.
“Which means space, once viewed only through the strategic lens, now demands integration at the tactical level,” Karbler said. “No longer can the space domain be untethered from its air, surface and land components; rather, it stands as an equal among the other warfighting domains.”
He said to continue operating effectively in the space domain, the Army must retain organic capabilities tailored to meet demands that are responsive to priorities and reflective of Army’s space culture.
“What we do works because we do it together,” Karbler said. “This is a team sport where each of us has multiple coaches. It’s critical that our head coaches and assistant coaches recognize what each service brings to the table, so they can effectively integrate those strengths into their planning, and synchronize operations to achieve desired effects.”
Karbler said the command is maintaining the highest levels of readiness by putting in place the people needed to unify and synchronize Army space operations at the theater level, adding that is where Army space formations, both present and future, come in. These formations will not only integrate lethal and nonlethal capabilities to ensure freedom of maneuver and action in denied, degraded, or disrupted space operational environments, but also have the ability to deliver offensive and defensive space effects.
“So that’s what the Army, and specifically Army space, brings to the fight now, and it’s how we plan to integrate and synchronize these contributions going forward to gain and maintain contact with adversaries in the space domain, disrupt enemy capabilities, and enable land dominance,” Karbler said. “But as encouraging as these opportunities for future growth are, it doesn’t matter how advanced our weapons are, how well positioned they are, or how effective they are when used in combination, if our warfighters aren’t trained and ready to use them.
“We need experimentation, practice, training, and mission rehearsals and readiness exercises – from individual units to across our combatant commands – to enable Army space professionals, and the ground and joint commanders we support, to perfect their craft through repetition,” he added. “We must empower them to fight and win in a time of rapid change and greater dependence on technology.”
Karbler explained the Army’s integration and convergence of cyber, space, and special operations forces is an “Influence Triad” for modern competition to asymmetric threats.
This “Influence Triad,” as an emerging joint concept, will provide integrated deterrence and active campaigning options in competition, crisis, and conflict through synchronization of mutually supporting domain capabilities to shape the operational environment or create effects in support of strategic objectives. In this triad, special operations provides cyber access; cyber sets the conditions for special operations; and space effects enable both cyber and special operations or any combination thereof.
“We know Army space capabilities will become even more formidable when used in concert with cyber and special operations,” Karbler said. “This new triad allows us to leverage individual strengths to maximum effect, providing flexible options to counter mis- or disinformation, cyberattacks and irregular asymmetric threats. These options include striking anywhere and anytime with surprise and retaliating or responding to adversary attack.”
Karbler said the cyber-space-SOF Triad will also force adversaries to recalculate costs and gains, particularly within the competition continuum. He added it demonstrates ability to converge cross-domain effects without divulging sensitive capabilities, while at the same time supporting an integrated deterrence approach that signals to adversaries that malign actions in competition or low-intensity conflict will be met by the convergence of effects.
“Now, we’re not at the point yet where these three – cyber, space, and special operations – are fully integrated,” Karbler said. “Further organizational construct analysis, concept development, training and exercising, and even capability acquisition is needed, and success will inevitably depend on the components themselves communicating, coordinating and synchronizing at the enterprise level early and often.
“What the concept does is underscore the vital importance of Army space and the essential role it plays when used in combination with new and existing capabilities,” Karbler said. “Whether we’re talking about large scale combat operations or an anti-access and area denial environment, Army space continues to support maneuver commanders at echelon.”
Karbler also addressed the heart of the command, the SMDC family, who drive the mission onward.
“From our missile defense forces protecting the homeland to our space professionals enabling and shaping joint operations across the spectrum of conflict; from our integrators synchronizing the implementation our modernization efforts to our scientists and engineers developing innovative, affordable and sustainable next-generation technologies; from our trainers and educators ensuring the readiness of the future force to our astronauts providing NASA with technical and engineering expertise; and finally, to the Soldiers, civilians, and contractors who keep our headquarters here and in Colorado Springs running smoothly,” Karbler said. “Each and every individual brings value to the team, as do the families who support them and make it possible for them to serve, and we couldn’t do what we do without them.”
Story by Jason Cutshaw
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command