The U.S. Air Force is preparing airmen for a future in which war is waged in space, with training on hardening satellites against anti-jamming technology to protecting spacecraft from incoming missiles.
The goal is to train the service members to combat new and evolving threats against the service’s “vulnerable” space infrastructure, much of which dates to the Cold War, an official said.
The 527th Space Aggressor Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, is tasked with training service members to fight in a contested space environment. Historically, that has meant jamming Global Positioning System and satellite communications signals, making it so troops can’t access the space assets they rely upon and forcing them to think of alternatives.
“There really is no such thing as a space war — it’s just war,” said Lt. Col. Kyle Pumroy, chief of Space Force Structure Plans for the Space and Cyberspace Superiority Division of the Air Force’s Directorate of Strategic Plans. Military.com sat down with Pumroy at the Pentagon before he was awarded the General Bernard Schriever Award by the National Space Club last month for his service and enhanced training techniques while leading the space aggressors in 2016.
“We’re preparing for an age in which war extends into space because that’s where the capabilities are going to be able to operate, in addition to on sea, under sea and in the air,” Pumroy said.
This week, as Defense Department and industry officials meet at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, the conversation about threats — mainly from China and Russia — is likely to not only include defensive space capabilities, but also offensive options, or as leaders have called them, “space control.”
“The nature of the threat has changed,” Pumroy said. “It drives the need for the space aggressors to also provide … a training avenue that prepares the joint warfighter for those types of threats, whether that be anti-satellite weapons launched to blow up satellites, or nefarious [weapons] in orbit. Those are the types of things we need to prepare the warfighter for now.”
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