Integrating Space into Joint Warfighting
Integrating Space into Joint Warfighting : Continuing the
at the National Reconnaissance Office Space Warfighter Conference dinner,
Chantilly, Va., July 14, 2003 by Dr. James G. Roche, secretary of the Air Force.
Thanks Pete (Hon. Peter Teets, Undersecretary of the Air
Force). I'm pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this event, and
I'm honored to address this august group of leaders on a topic that is near and
dear to my heart -- integrating air and space capabilities into joint
warfighting. Actually, closer to my heart these days is integrating air, space
and ground in joint warfighting. And unless all of you get to work on the
campaign to oppose my nomination as Secretary of the Army, it may soon be of
even more interest to me than it is today. Seriously, for our agency and joint
colleagues in the audience tonight, the Air Force leaders here will tell you
that I am 100 percent supportive of the President's nomination because, like so
many of them, I serve where I can best help our armed forces. But, as General
Jumper enjoys pointing out, this "old salt" has really enjoyed his time as an "aging
As many of you are aware, we've been engaged in a
wide-ranging effort to adapt the Air Force -- and the Department of Defense --
to the era in which we find ourselves -- to meet the threats we face now, and to
be prepared to defeat those that will emerge over the next several decades. And,
sometimes our past illuminates our way forward, for example, with close air
support -- more on that later. As airmen, we have been evolving our
organizations, concepts of operations, and technology for several decades now --
all with the objective of improving our ability to generate overwhelming and
strategically compelling effects from air and space. It is our heritage to adapt
-- to develop skilled airmen, to move technology to warfighting, and to
integrate our capabilities and organizations to produce effects on the
battlefield that our combatant commanders need. Our recent achievements in Iraq,
Afghanistan and in defending the homeland for nearly two years now, have
validated this heritage -- and your relentless efforts. And for that, each of
you should be very proud.
Tonight, I'll be brief in my comments, first, because that
wonderful meal should be enjoyed over coffee and light conversation. But more
important, if I say too much, we run the risk of Dave MacGhee (commander, Air
Force Doctrine Center) attempting to write counter-arguments into Air Force
doctrine and coming to CORONA this fall with yet more slides to fit into his
There are several points that bear mentioning as we work to
build the links between Air Force warfighters and our National Security Space
leaders. I particularly like the objectives you've established for this
conference: strengthening relationships, understanding capabilities, discussing
how we integrate Air and Space, and, most important, identifying issues that we
need to address as a corporate Air Force. The result of your work this week will
be important pieces of the puzzle we are putting together as we move forward
from OIF. But, please never lose sight of why this integration is so important
-- our combatant commanders are depending on us.
The task of dissecting the lessons learned from Operation
Iraqi Freedom has become a growth industry of late. As the variety of think
tanks, interest groups, and defense subcultures race to define the lessons of
this recent conflict, we need to avoid defining those lessons through the prism
of our special interests. We need to draw conclusions that contribute to
America's overriding national objectives versus those that may be more
appropriately interpreted as post-conflict posturing by one service or agency.
Many of us agree on the major lessons from this most recent
conflict and why we were so successful.
First, this was the first war that executed a campaign as
designed by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986: a truly joint warfighting effort
from planning to execution. That's not a trivial point. Air, ground, maritime,
and space forces working together -- at the same time for the same objective --
and, not just because they occupy the same battlespace -- exactly the objective
Secretary Rumsfeld is pursuing. Think about that for a moment: Combat Air Forces
-- Air Force/Navy/Marines, Army Tactical Missile System and Patriot units,
coalition air forces, and space in a combined Air Tasking Order. Wow!
Next, it is quite clear to all concerned that ground forces
were able to bypass major enemy formations for two reasons: First, our precision
systems and weapons were and are very lethal -- and plentiful. And, as (Vice
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff) General Peter Pace noted, because of the "trust
our ground forces had in precise and timely airpower." We're proud that our
warrior brethren would share this sentiment.
Generals Jumper and Foglesong worked very closely with our
ground counterparts after Operation Anaconda to make sure we didn't repeat the
mistakes that were made there. We refer to it as a "wake-up call." Both Army and
Air Force learned from this sad episode -- and changed. For example, in Iraq, we
had unprecedented coordination with the land component commander, with Major
General Dan Leaf (Director of Operational Capability Requirements) working "up
close and personal" with the Combined Forces Land Component Commander to ensure
air and space forces were fully integrated with our Army and Marine counterparts,
as well as British troops.
In fact, as I've often noted, the air-ground coordination was
a return to the historic cooperation demonstrated by Generals Patton and Arnold
(implemented by Bradley and Quesada) in their famous breakout of Normandy, and
Patton's race across France in 1944 - - a goal General Jumper and I have shared
and pursued for the last two years, to return to the relationships and dramatic
capabilities of that era. Interestingly, space systems and capabilities created
the opportunity for this to happen -- and John and I could see it coming with
the systems we employ today: JDAMs (joint direct attack munitions), GPS (global
positioning system), satellite comms, reach-back and wide-area ISR
(intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance).
Third, and potentially most instructive to those of us
charged with the organize, train, and equip function, this conflict was a
coming-out party for Special Operations Forces. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they
controlled large areas with limited forces; timely, accurate and relevant ISR;
and the strength of rapid, precise airpower. They were a light, yet lethal
mobile force and were truly joint in how they operated. And, space systems
created the opportunity for this to happen as well.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege to join General Paul
Hester (Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command) in presenting 31
decorations to our Air Commandos at Hurlburt Field. One of the points I shared
with them, that I'd ask you to think about as you work to integrate air and
space, is the method we used to bring special operations capabilities to bear in
the campaign. You'll note we didn't set up a Joint Special Operations Task Force
that went out and did things on its own with limited integration into the Joint
Force Commander's scheme of maneuver. Rather, in Iraq, special operators were
integrated into the theater commanders campaign plan as an independent maneuver
element. Strategic, operational and tactical objectives were linked to their
operations -- and they performed brilliantly. I only wish we could tell more of
their story. In time, we will. In the tradition of Colonel Daniel Morgan's
rifleman and their innovation at Saratoga, a turning point in our War of
Independence, someday the rest of the world will become aware of yet another
revolution in the conduct of military affairs, one that is befitting of the
heritage of Special Operators throughout our nation's history.
From an Air Force perspective, we have many reasons to be
pleased. We achieved air superiority throughout the theater of operations,
enabling our joint forces to conduct maritime, maneuver, and humanitarian
operations without fear of attack from the air.
We demonstrated the incredible effects that advanced
technology could have on the battlefield. Weapons conceived in the 1970s and
1980s, and fielded in the 1990s, now are having a revolutionary effect on
And we've learned that with the right training, technology,
organizations, and concepts of operation, we can command and control warfare
better than ever before, and we can produce decisive effects faster, farther,
and with greater precision than at any time in the history of armed conflict.
Much of this superb performance is a result of how well we've
done in integrating air and space operations into (former U.S. Central Command
Commander) General Frank's campaign plan. In Iraq, we did a great job of
integrating space professionals at the strategic, operational, and tactical
For the first time, we designated a Space Coordinating
Authority in the CAOC, bringing a senior space advisor and his reachback
support network to the CFACC's leadership team.
Space capabilities are increasingly becoming part of the
planning process. The "airmen" in our strategy and targeting cells -- and
that's "airman" with a little "a" (in other words: Combat Air Forces airmen)
-- understand the need to take into account space support when they consider
various courses of action, such as satellite support for BDA, or the wonderful
tweaking of GPS satellites by the young U.S. Air Force captain and her watch
team in Colorado Springs.
You should be very proud of the generation of air and space
professionals we've grown over the last decade. From the Space Support Teams of
the early 1990s to the Weapons School "space" grads, we are growing a new cadre
of airmen who understand -- and more important -- have learned to exploit our
nation's advantage in space
Continuing; Army space support team members were embedded
with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and provided expertise in GPS
operations, counter GPS-jamming techniques, and digital terrain data
And, among many other examples of space integration with
the joint warfighters, the Navy launched hundreds of Tomahawks, all of which
are extraordinarily dependent on space to accomplish their missions.
But, despite these successes, there are many areas where we
need to improve.
While the designation of a Space Coordinating Authority was a
success, we need to accurately analyze the lessons we learned from this effort
and then codify those roles and responsibilities into our doctrine. As you heard
earlier today, Brigadier General-select Larry James has a wonderful perspective
he gained from his experience in this role -- we need to capture his thoughts
and make them part of our way ahead. Plus, we need to define what "authority"
this officer has and how he/she fits into the CAOC organization.
We also need to make sure we have the right staffing in the
CAOC to support space missions, such as space control. We didn't have a Space
Common Operating Picture; it existed only on PowerPoint slides. While we gained
much operationally from commercial SATCOM capabilities, some operations were
constrained by lack of dedicated satellite communications.
Doctrinally, we need to continue to evolve how we think about
Space control. During the campaign, we would not have tolerated overflight of
Baghdad by an Iranian or Russian reconnaissance aircraft, but what to do when
other nations' overfly some future conflict with satellites performing the same
Of great concern to me was our inability to detect
short-burning theater ballistic missiles; none of the 19 launches in theater
were detected from space; more important, our air and ground radars failed to
detect the six cruise missiles launched against Kuwait. I've spoken and written
of the emerging cruise missile threat for two decades. Do you really believe
that the U.S. can continue to pop hundreds of cruise missiles before some smart
enemy gets the same idea? Iraqis killed 17 U.S. sailors on May 16, 1987, with
air launched, anti-ship, cruise missiles. Sixteen years later, Iraqis shot six
Seersucker missiles (modified Chinese Silkworms) into Kuwait. And potential
enemies know that we did nothing to defend against them.
Also, as John Jumper has pointed out many times, we need to
ensure our space systems are talking to each other so we can produce information
at the machine-to-machine level that results in a cursor over the target.
Currently, we have too many obstacles and security cultures in the way of
achieving this vision.
There are many more lessons and improvements we can make in
our integration of air and space capabilities with our joint counterparts. But
that is why you are here this week -- to make progress in achieving these goals.
So, we can feel good about ourselves. But, we can't be
complacent. There are troopers, standing, riding or walking into harm's way as I
speak. With all our brains, with all our technology, what are we doing this week
to ensure that each trooper finishes his or her patrol or duty safely? Why is
that patrol alone? Where are we? Why are we not taking this phase of war as
seriously as our troopers? Where is the Predictive Battlespace Analysis for that
patrol? Where are eyes around the corner? Where are the eyes watching our
troopers' six? Why aren't we figuratively "by those troopers' side"? John and I
created Project "Eyes" in our Air Force under General Ron Keys (Deputy Chief of
Staff for Air and Space Operations). It's very embryonic; and, there are no
silver bullets. We are determined, however, that our troopers will not long walk
alone. I challenge you to help.
I offer my sincere congratulations to each of you. Your
leadership, service and sacrifice in this most recent conflict -- and throughout
your careers -- culminated in the great results we've achieved in Afghanistan,
Iraq and in our continuing global war on terrorism. I offer my thanks and best
wished for continued success. And I challenge you. I challenge you: there are
troopers walking in harm's way tonight. Do not forget them.
Thank you very much.