Space is Already in the Battle

Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said space capabilities are already intimately engaged with ongoing US military operations, and he offered an example from Operation Inherent Resolve to illustrate his point. Speaking on Friday at an AFA Mitchell Institute event in Washington, D.C., he told the story of an MQ-9 flying an ISR mission recently over Iraq. When the Reaper encountered “satcom interference” that impaired its ability to fulfill its mission, the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) took up the problem. Because they had “a space team integrated into the mix,” the command group was able to feed an operational report to “space operators,” who began “working a solution.” Within “minutes,” the team had identified the signal interfering with the MQ-9’s operations as well as the “offending party,” which in this case turned out to be “a coalition member that had their equipment configured wrong.” Goldfein said integration of space operators into the CAOC made all the difference. In the past, solving the problem would have taken “days or weeks,” Goldfein said, but now the process is “eight times faster.”