You Can’t Look Back

Though many wish space and cyberspace were benign environments, today they are both “threatened” and the Air Force must better adapt its space and cyber forces to anticipate potential conflict, Air Force Space Command’s top airman said Dec. 4. From anti-satellite weapons to GPS jammers, adversaries are spending money to go after capabilities that have underpinned US power for decades, Air Force Space Command boss Gen. John Hyten said at an AFA Mitchell Institute-Rand Corporation forum on aerospace power. “We used to fight based on mass. Now we have information as the discriminator on the battlefield,” Hyten said. America’s space and cyber forces are critical to leveraging information over any foe, from the GPS constellation to space-based infrared missile warning assets. This is why AFSPC is overhauling its shift system to stand up a “space mission force,” Hyten said. The command will now have two sets of crews, rather than a separate day staff, with one crew performing operations and the other in garrison four months at a time. In garrison, he added, these airmen will undergo “high-end training,” such as integrating into Red Flags. Though AFSPC may not yet fully know how to respond to threats in space, there is tremendous capability in its existing force of satellites, he noted, and this training will sharpen new capabilities and tactics to defeat the hardest future threats on orbit and in cyberspace.