A Warfighting Domain, Not Just a Science Project

Gen. John Hyten, Air Force Space Command boss, said the United States, along with the rest of the world, needs to recognize space as a warfighting domain, and needs to act, accordingly. “We need a resilient space architecture that can fight through any threat and come out on the other side,” he said Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. Resilience comprises factors like disaggregation of orbital assets, he said. “Right now, we have a very small number of satellites in orbit, and our adversaries know exactly where they are. And if you know exactly here they are, then it’s very easy to deny the capabilities that come off of those satellites,” he said. To mitigate that threat, Hyten said the focus needs to be on spreading capabilities across a number of platforms, a response that “makes the problem [for] our adversary fundamentally different.” In addition to disaggregation, “we also need to be able to defend ourselves,” he said. He continued, “We also need to be able to deny an adversary the use of space, if we’re called upon to do that. All of those things together” make up resilience, he said. Resilience and survivability are not the same, as “resilience is a warfighting concept that has to be able to come out of any challenge that you come to,” said Hyten.