|Army's First Space Operations Course Ends|
Army's First Space Operations Course Ends
By Donald J. Montoya, Army News Service.
Colorado Springs, Colorado -- (ANS) August 8, 2001 -- Fourteen officers graduated Aug. 3 from the Army's inaugural Space Operations Officer Qualification Course.
"There is only a small cadre of space operational officers," said guest speaker Lt. Gen. Joseph M. Cosumano Jr., commanding general of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and U.S. Army Space Command, before a group of 75 military and civilian personnel during the graduation ceremony in the U.S. Air Force Space Command Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
The graduates are trailblazers within the Army and Department of Defense, Cosumano said.
"You are breaking new ground here," he said. "In many respects we are really late in getting this course for the U.S. Army, but we are here and it is a milestone for us. It is like any trailblazer. There are really no markers for you. But you know you have to go somewhere and there is a destination.
"So we in the Space business in the U.S. Army, and the Army itself, understand the criticality of Space to its future. And so it is an uncharted path, you graduates will go down that path and mark the trail for those who will follow.
Space will be a key enabler for the force of the 21st century, Cosumano said.
"All the products of space -- navigation, communication, warning and intelligence -- will be key products for the U.S. Army objective force, which will be a much more lighter and lethal force. And for it to accomplish this mission, it must be able to see first, understand first, decide first, and then finish decisively. And Space will enable that force to do that."
The Army has been involved in Space from early on, according to Cosumano.
"The Space Program that we know, the NASA Space Program, even the Space Program that the U.S. Air Force has a large investment in, began in the U.S. Army in the 1950s and 1960s," he said.
This legacy continues as the Army moves ahead, Cosumano said.
"As we look at the 21st century, Space-based radars will look deep into areas where aircraft both manned and unmanned will not go," he said. "Space-based communications will enable soldiers anywhere in the world to enter and gather information from the global information grid. The fact is that the Army's objective force must be and will be a Space-based enabled force."
Cosumano advised the graduates of challenges.
"You will be spread thin across the Army and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, various defense agencies and among our warfighting CINCs. They will come to you and ask, where are the Army Space requirements and they will expect you to know.
"You are the ones who stake out the left and the right limits of the Army's fighting position concerning Space control. You are the ones who get OSD and the services to commit to the battlefield characterization, Space-based Blue Force Tracking, and more tactically responsive relevant Space-base infrared satellite radar systems."
After his address, Cosumano presented a diploma to each graduating space officer: Lt. Col. Robert H. Bruce, assigned to SMDC; Maj. Richard E. Brence, assigned to Colorado Army National Guard; Maj. Dennis L. Campbell, assigned to U.S. Space Command; Maj. Steven B. Choi, assigned to III Corps; Maj. Duncan C. Currier, assigned to National Reconnaissance Office; Maj. Robert R. Fabrizzio II, assigned to NRO; Maj. Robert A. Guerriero, assigned to NRO; Maj. Thomas L. James, assigned to III Corps; Maj. Robert E. Klingseisen, USSPACECOM; Maj. Patrick M. Marshall, assigned to Eighth U.S. Army; Maj. Jim R. Meisinger, 1st Space Battalion, ARSPACE; Maj. Jim D. Patterson, assigned to 1st Space Battalion, ARSPACE; Maj. Jim D. Pruneski, assigned to the National Security Space Architecture; and Maj. Sean M. Scally, assigned to NRO.
Col. (P) Richard V. Geraci, deputy commanding general, ARSPACE and DCG for Operations, SMDC, followed by awarding each graduate with the United States Air Force Space and Missile Badge. Cosumano pointed out that the awarding of the badge was a significant event.
" I think it shows the recognition by our sister service of your excellent qualifications and your contribution to Space, " he said.
The destination of these students will include assignments with the U.S. Army Space Command, SMDC, USSPACECOM, U.S. Army Corps Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, NSSA, and NRO, according to FDIC officials. One of the graduates, Brence, is currently with the Colorado Army National Guard. Upon graduation, he will segue into the newly formed 193rd Space Support Battalion.
Officials from FDIC, creators of the Functional Area 40 Space Operations Qualification Course, began the intense seven-week course June 15 in Colorado Springs, Colo., designed to train Army officers who will be experts in using Space to support the warfighter.
Course instruction was divided into three segments beginning with 25 days of classroom instruction. A week was then devoted to off-site visits to places such as the NRO, National Imagery and Mapping Agency in Washington, D.C., and Fort Bragg, N.C. This included hands-on training with the Army Space Program Office, which developed Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities Space support systems in use by Army warfighters.
The course also included a 43-hour command post exercise designed to test each student's proficiency in 24 individual critical tasks culminating in graduation and assignment to operational staffs and Space systems program offices.
Plans are under way for the next two FA40 classes that are slated for January and June, officials said.
(Editor's note: Donald J. Montoya is a member of the Army Space Command public affairs team.)