Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

Space Force Insignia Survey

Friday, March 5th, 2021

According to the popular Facebook group Air Force amn/nco/snco US Space Force is crowd sourcing rank insignia for their Enlisted Guardians via an online survey of its members.

As you may recall, the rank names were designated in late January. Now, it’s insignia.

Personally, I prefer the third choice with its throwback to 19th century rank but with the Space Force Delta.

First Multi-Domain Task Force Plans to be Centerpiece of Army Modernization

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Army’s first Multi-Domain Task Force is charting an unknown path to help reshape how the total force fights and wins on future battlefields, its commander said Wednesday.

Initiated in March 2017, the MDTF pilot program focused on defeating an enemy’s anti-access/area denial, or A2/AD, capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region. Since then, through exercises and assessments, the program ensured the task force was able to deploy and operate in the region before it officially activated in the fall.

“There is little doctrine for [MDTFs],” said Brig. Gen. Jim Isenhower, the commander, adding his trailblazing unit will be a centerpiece of Army modernization.

As a centerpiece for the future Army, MDTFs are “new, networked, maneuver theater assets, focused on adversary A2/AD networks,” Isenhower said. Their capabilities also provide deterrence options for combatant commanders.

“The Army has empowered us, and asked us to figure out how we’re going to maneuver effectively in all domains, which will characterize how we fight in the future,” he added.

Down the road, the MDTF, which is based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, won’t be alone. Later this year, a second MDTF is being planned to stand up in Europe. A third task force may also stand up and serve the Indo-Pacific next year.

The first MDTF originally had a field artillery brigade as its core that merged with an Intelligence, Information, Cyber, Electronic Warfare and Space, or I2CEWS, element.

“Through distributed operations and with access to requisite authorities, MDTFs are advanced headquarters that synchronize kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities in support of strategic objectives,” Isenhower said.

“We face increased physical and virtual standoff through layered and integrated networks, where adversaries leverage all instruments of national power to blur the lines between competition and conflict, altering international norms to the detriment of the international community,” he said.

Great power competition

For the MDTFs, the plan ahead is to evolve and outpace the speed of any persistent, great power competitors like China and Russia, said an officer assigned to the task force.

“Great power competition requires an Army that is capable of complete integration across the joint force to compete with our adversaries,” he said.

From a joint warfare perspective, this is where the MDTF comes in. “Our exercises are joint, our plans are joint, and we incorporate input from across the joint services at every turn,” he said.

That foundation enables the total force to use a broad range of multidisciplinary capabilities. It also gives joint forces the freedom of action to fit the needs of each service, he said.

Preparing Soldiers

Like with other Army organizations, it’s the individuals selected who make the task force exceptional, according to one of its senior enlisted members.

“Within our ranks are highly-trained Soldiers with specialized skill sets, [and are] technologically astute, creative thinkers, who are looking at new ways to address complex problem sets,” they said. “The diversity of our formation fosters an environment of critical thinking, and the Soldiers who comprise our task force are leaders at the front of their career fields.”

The MDTF Soldiers reflect the nation, he added, and are “the best at coming together to leverage technology and joint resources to meet the imperatives of our national defense strategy.”

After qualifying for the task force, they said, each member represents the best of each priority they specialize in. “That’s one of the most exciting parts of this — the Soldiers who comprise our organization,” he said.

Whether in exercise or garrison, the MDTF members do things others simply cannot, they said. Specifically, the experience of working in joint exercises, or becoming fluent in the synchronization and planning efforts typically linked to the joint environment.

“Every member on the MDTF values their opportunity to contribute to the Army’s — and the joint force’s — efforts to develop these new concepts, like [multi-domain operations] and all-domain warfare,” Isenhower said.

Joint problems need joint solutions

But the task force will only be as successful as the joint partnerships they maintain, they said. Those partnerships have come with their share of eye-openers.

“Our proximity to joint partners [has given us] a few lessons learned,” said a senior officer assigned to the task force. “We tend to get these large gains out of exercises that we’ve been on in the Pacific, but one of those lessons we were coming away with is that we need a more persistent training environment.”

On any given week, the MDTF may partner alongside a Carrier Strike Group from the U.S. Navy or fire planners from the U.S. Air Force.

These are prime examples of how the task force is a joint-enabler, and “without those joint partners, we’d become an Army solution [for] only Army problems,” the officer said. Instead, “we’re looking to work [with] joint partners toward joint solutions.”

“Many times, joint solutions are inhibited by closed architectures within respective forces, Isenhower said.

The task force “found opportunities to accelerate joint interoperability by just getting the right people in the room to talk to each other and figure out how to break down both literal and figurative firewalls that might inhibit rapid communication,” he said.

Although there is still work to do, the task force is on the right track, he said. MDTFs will simultaneously integrate joint partners and emerging technologies to inform the Army’s transformation into a faster, more dynamic force.

“This is a unique opportunity, and the MDTF — Soldiers and family members alike — feel privileged to be a part of it and don’t take for granted the responsibility and the privilege the Army’s given us to chart this path forward,” Isenhower said.

By Thomas Brading, Army News Service

US Space Force Selects Rank Structure, Still No Insignia

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

This will come in handy for those of you working in a joint environment. Late last week, US Space Force issued a memorandum outlining the rank structure for their Guardians with an effective date of 1 February 2021.

E1 Spc1 Specialist 1

E2 Spc2 Specialist 2

E3 Spc3 Specialist 3

E4 Spc4 Specialist 4

E5 Sgt Sergeant

E6 TSgt Technical Sergeant

E7 MSgt Master Sergeant

E8 SMSgt Senior Master Sergeant

E9 CMSgt Chief Master Sergeant

E9 CMSSF Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force

You may address the junior enlisted specialist ranks as “Specialist.” Alternatively, you may use “Spec” or “Specialist” and the grade, as in “Spec4” like they used to do in the Army.

Sergeants are of course addressed as “Sergeant,” which can be used for TSgt and MSgt as well. TSgt may be also addressed as “Tech Sergeant” or “Technical Sergeant” although a MSgt may be only alternatively addressed as “Master Sergeant.” Interestingly, a SMSgt may be called “Senior” and a CMSgt “Chief.”

This convention is an interesting break in logic for Senior NCOs. Of course, in the late ’50s the Air Force was so enamored with the so-called “super grades” of E8 and E9 that they traded their Warrant Officers in for more of them. In fact, until 1995, Air Force enlisted rank insignia kept the MSgt and below visually distinct by only putting SMSgt and CMSgt stripes above the star. I guess in the mid-90s something finally made them give in and acknowledge MSgts as Senior NCOs. But I digress. I almost let you off by tiptoeing earlier around the fact that you can call a CMSgt just “Chief,” but you can’t call a MSgt just “Master.” Marinate in that one for awhile.

Having said all of that, there’s still no word on what USSF enlisted rank insignia will actually look like aside from this temporary CMSSF insignia.

Although Officer ranks were also mentioned in the memorandum, there is no difference from the Air Force, Army or Marines. Alas, USSF seems to have taken the Air Force’s lead and chosen to forego Warrants.

US Army Space Company Replaces Communication System with Portable Alternative

Friday, January 15th, 2021

FORT CARSON, Colo. – The 1st Space Battalion’s 4th Space Company is trading in their old ground satellite terminals for a lightweight, portable option – the Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carlos Gil, network management technician, 4th Space Company, said the GATR‘s portable design will provide the company the satellite terminal mobility Soldiers need in theater.

“It’s a lightweight, portable and durable system that will be beneficial in remote areas,” Gil said. “We can pack it in just two cases and we can set up in 30 minutes or less.”

4th Space Company provides support to geographical combatant commanders and U.S. Strategic Command by supplying critical information and timely data on the health and status of various satellites, ensuring reliable communication channels. This means being able to communicate from anywhere, even remote locations difficult to reach in large vehicles.

The GATR is replacing the company’s Secure Internet Router/Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point ground satellite terminals, which weigh 300-400 pounds and are typically transported in the back of high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles or helicopters.

The GATR, consisting of a flexible, inflatable ball and a dish, weighs approximately 25 pounds and can fit into two cases the size of checked airport baggage. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan Paquette, a 4th Space Company network management technician, said it is small and light enough for Soldiers to carry.

“The antenna is easily deployable and provides the same high-bandwidth satellite communications as the larger, heavier SNAP ground satellite terminals,” Paquette said.

The company recently completed a 10-day training session to become familiar with assembling and operating the new system. All three companies in 1st Space Battalion will receive GATRs for field communications.

1st Space Battalion, which generates and provides space combat power for Army and joint forces to conduct global and continuous multi-domain planning and operations, is assigned to the 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

By SFC Aaron Rognstad (USASMDC)

I MEF Information Group, NIWC Pacific Put Next-generation Technology to the Test

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group and personnel from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific conducted characterization testing of the Mobile User Objective System at Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, on Camp Pendleton, California, in September 2020.

MUOS is a satellite communications system that provides voice and data communications for U.S. service members, anytime and anywhere in the world.

The testing supported PMW 146, the Navy’s Communications Satellite Program Office, which reports to Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and Space Systems.

The focus was on three areas of satellite communications: susceptibility of detection and geolocation of MUOS transmissions; susceptibility of detection and geolocation of legacy transmissions; and the performance of the MUOS radio in the presence of in-band radio-frequency interference.

“The purpose was to test the capabilities of the system, in a field environment, in a manner that Marines employ the system,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Meser, the electromagnetic space operations chief at I MIG. “The testing allowed us to identify gaps and determine if the underlying issues were related to the equipment, training or procedures.”

Aside from testing various frequencies and equipment sets, one of the key takeaways from the event was furthering Navy-Marine Corps integration with the MUOS.

“This is part of supporting naval integration; being able to understand we are key stakeholders, both Navy and Marine Corps,” said Meser. “They provide the technical expertise, and we provide the field expertise.”

This is just one way that Marines with I MIG have been working side-by-side with the innovative minds at NIWC Pacific. During the past several months, I MIG Marines have provided hands-on feedback to help drive future research, development, test and evaluation, and engineering.

“Integration between I MIG and NIWC-PAC is good because we are able to provide them a firsthand look at how the equipment is employed in a real-world environment, which provides feedback to the engineers on how the system performs,” said Meser. “We are the end-users and being able to conduct a field-user evaluation further ensures the security and functionality of the equipment’s capability.”

Capt. Josh Gonzales, a space operations officer with PMW 146, said the participants operated the MUOS radios at various operational data rates in three data transmission types that included burst, flow, and stream. All three data types worked successfully and they were all clear and precise.

The results confirm the MUOS Wideband Code Division Multiple Access performed significantly better than legacy UHF in a contested environment. This is the second of three planned tests, the third test is planned for 2021, and will incorporate additional assets and more terminals to better simulate an operational environment.

Story by LCpl Isaac Velasco, I MEF Information Group

Space Force Unveils New Insignia

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Last week, Chief Master Sergeant Roger A. Towberman, Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Space Force showed off new collar insignia created for USSF members to wear on their service dress.

In a video address Towberman said, “This is how we’re going to space up the Air Force uniform while we’re wearing it.” However, he clarified that, “It doesn’t mean we’ll carry this onto a Space Force uniform when it’s designed.”

He also displayed his the new Space Staff Badge for those who have served on the Space Staff.

Here are some other examples of Space Force insignia. It includes the Space Force SEA rank insignia. The Space Delta plays a significant role in every example of their new insignia.

Disruptive Technology Levels the Battleground for US Space Force

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Catalyst Accelerator’s (Catalyst), Cyber for Space Applications, launched eight small businesses into the reaches of the U.S. Space Force, with its sixth accelerator Demo Day on November 19, 2020. Powered by Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate and sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, the cohort of small businesses concluded its 12-week accelerator, gaining traction into moving technology from commercial application to the military warfighter.

Cyber applications have long been the mainstay in the Department of Defense, but with the creation of the U.S. Space Force, a rigorous hunt for disruptive cyber technology has begun. No longer is the warfighter confined to air, land, sea and cyber. Space is now a contested domain, with near-peer adversaries with comparable capabilities, unsettling operations in both the public and private sectors. U.S. data exfiltration by malicious actors is staggering. In 2019 it was estimated that 6.5 million documents per day were stolen by U.S. adversaries, according to keynote speaker Brigadier General D. Jason Cothern, Vice Commander of Space and Missile Systems Center.

The U.S. Space Force is tasked with protecting America’s interests in space, deterring aggressive acts and sustaining operations in this far-off region. With this in mind, Catalyst’s Cyber for Space Accelerator invited small businesses to apply to become a cohort company and demonstrate how their technology might “secure the next generation of space operations and increase resiliency.” “We had a team of 19 people that helped us choose the best companies for this cohort and judging from the response of subject matter experts from Industry and the Department of Defense over the course of the Accelerator, our selection was excellent. I look forward to these companies gaining the traction they need to get their technologies into the hands of the United States warfighters, making the cyber-physical systems they rely on more relevant and secure in the 21st Century fighting domain!” says KiMar Gartman, Program Director of Catalyst Accelerator.

With the support of LinQuest, the platform sponsor, the twelve-week all-virtual accelerator helped cohort companies mature their messaging, understand the government space and pivot their technology to meet the needs of the warfighter. The cohort received guidance from industry and government Sherpas and subject matter experts like Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center; spoke to operational warfighters to determine their needs; were instructed on the acquisition process; and began building relationships with key personnel interested in their technology. Gentry Lane, CEO and Founder of ANOVA Intelligence explained her experience with Catalyst’s accelerator, “I’ve been through other accelerators but Catalyst was different.

They absolutely delivered on their promise to connect us [cohort companies] with people in the U.S. Space Force that make decisions about purchasing and using our technology.”

Demo Day, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, was the Accelerator’s culminating event in which government and industry scouts learned about the cohort’s dual-use technologies that will disrupt space cyber and place the U.S. in an even better position to dominate space. Cohort companies rose to the challenge and presented technologies that will improve warfighter capability today and well into the future. The cohort company pitches can be viewed at catalystaccelerator.space/cacsa

US Space Force OCP Guidance

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

The US Space is only a year old so it hasn’t gotten around to issuing much in the form of regulations or guidance yet, but it has issued guidance on how to wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform, aka the ACU.

Space Force Guidance Memorandum 2020-36-01 published late last month spells it out. Although there aren’t many enlisted in the fledgling service yet, they’ve already started deploying space support teams to ongoing operations, taking over the role long filled by USAF Space Professionals.

As far as insignia goes, the minimum configuration consists of a full-color US flag patch, grade insignia, occupational badge, and name and service tapes with space blue embroidery on three-color OCP background. Insignia can be sewn on or Velcro, but it all must be the same.

USSF occupational badges are mandatory, but sister revive badges are optional. However, only two can be worn at a time.

The full-color US flag will be worn on the left sleeve, “centered at the top of the velcro, and worn unless deployed to a contingency operation that aligns under separate/independent OCP wear guidance.”

A higher headquarters patch is required to be worn centered below the flag patch on the left. Spice brown subdued patches are authorized until space blue patches are available. The assigned unit patch is required to be worn centered on the velcro patch of the right sleeve.

Space Professionals will wear velcro or sewn-on space blue name tapes on the back of their patrol caps, and officers will also wear rank insignia on the front.

No word on the configuration of enlisted ranks yet, as the service is waiting to see whether they’ll be forced to use naval ranks. But my money is on USAF-style stripes with the star replaced with the Space Force Delta like CMSgt Roger A Towberman is wearing in his official photo as Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Space Force.

Regardless, there’s a grace period until April 1, 2021, for members to update their uniforms to the Space Force-specific configuration. Former Airmen may also continue to wear ABUs until 1 April.