U.S. Army Space Capabilities: Enabling the Force of Decisive Action
The U.S. Army’s worldwide mission takes place in an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic environment. Although the Army is transitioning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will play a key role in the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) new global strategy, “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.” The Army will be part of a “joint force for the future that will be smaller and leaner but will be agile, flexible, ready and technologically advanced.”1 Unified land operations across a range of terrains, locations and populations will be the norm. With increased mission diversity and complexity, however, come increased risks. To mitigate those risks, the Army relies on a technological backbone to provide its Soldiers informational and situational dominance. Global positioning, high-resolution imagery, satellite communications and missile defense are critical force multipliers that sharpen the Army’s combat edge. The Army is inextricably linked to spacebased capabilities.
Space capabilities are involved with all aspects of the prevent, shape and win framework that guides the Army, both in current conflicts and in its future vision. The Army of 2020 will require space-based assets to quickly link distributed forces and missile defenses to mitigate anti-access/area-denial techniques designed to degrade American power projection. As the Army’s space proponent, United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) provides trained and ready space and missile defense forces and enablers to combatant commanders. The unique capabilities associated with space will be in high demand as the Army continues to use technology to overcome the significant challenges of the operational environment and remain the force of decisive action.