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German Military Space Systems

Space capabilities have proven to be significant force multipliers when integrated into military operations. Space capabilities provide global communications; positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT); services; environmental monitoring; space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); and warning services to combatant commanders (CCDRs), Services, and agencies. To facilitate effective integration, joint force commanders (JFCs) and their staffs should have a common and clear understanding of how space forces contribute to joint operations and how military space operations should be integrated with other military operations to achieve US national security objectives.

Military use of space capabilities has changed significantly since military satellites were first placed in orbit. Continuous improvements in space technology have led to the development of more advanced space systems, as well as a host of commercially available capabilities. This has changed how commanders view space capabilities. Adversaries have also purchased and developed their own space capabilities. This has led to a situation where space is a congested, contested, and competitive environment.

Space situational awareness (SSA) involves characterizing, as completely as necessary, the space capabilities operating within the terrestrial environment and the space domain. SSA is dependent on integrating space surveillance, collection, and processing; environmental monitoring, processing and analysis; status of US and cooperative satellite systems; collection of US and multinational space readiness; and analysis of the space domain. It also incorporates the use of intelligence sources to provide insight into adversary use of space capabilities and their threats to our space capabilities while in turn contributing to the JFC’s ability to understand adversary intent.

The German Research Establishment for Applied Science (FGAN) FGAN operates Germany's primary ground-based radar used to catalogue satellite orbits (particularly those of reconnaissance satellites), and has historically held a strong relationship with the German Ministry of Defense. The Fraunhofer Society is one of Germany's leading research institutions and operates under the shared political ownership of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Research. DLR, however, operates under the Economics Ministry.

By 2008 the decision of what to do with FGAN was "completely up in the air" within the German government. Given DLR's integral involvement with Germany's space-based Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) programs, a DLR/FGAN partnership would logically consolidate operation of Germany's ground and space-based radars. DLR was seeking to out-maneuver Fraunhofer and the Ministry of Defense in a Chancellery-level space surveillance decision. They hoped to accomplish this resource-grab by eliciting US support as an important SAR partner.

The space support mission area includes the essential capabilities, functions, activities, and tasks necessary to operate and sustain all elements of space forces throughout the range of military operations. Components of space support include: spacelift, satellite operations, and reconstitution of space forces.

Space force enhancement operations increase joint force effectiveness by increasing the combat potential of that force, enhancing operational awareness, and providing critical joint force support. Space force enhancement is composed of ISR; missile warning, environmental monitoring; satellite communications (SATCOM); and PNT.

Space force enhancement operations increase joint force effectiveness by increasing the combat potential of that force, enhancing operational awareness, and providing critical joint force support. Space force enhancement is composed of ISR, missile warning, environmental monitoring, SATCOM, and PNT. They provide a critical advantage by reducing confusion inherent in combat situations. Space force enhancement operations also afford commanders access to denied areas and persistence, which are not provided by comparable air, land, or maritime capabilities. Space force enhancement functions often are provided by various departments and agencies, commercial firms, consortiums, and multinational partners.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance. Monitoring areas of interest [AOIs] from space helps provide information on adversary location, disposition, and intent; aids in tracking, targeting, and engaging the adversary; and provides a means to assess these actions through tactical battle damage assessment (BDA) and operational combat assessment. It also provides situational awareness, warning of attack, and feedback on how well US forces are affecting the adversary’s understanding of the Operating Environment. In countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD), monitoring from space can characterize and locate adversary WMD capabilities and neutral, enemy, and friendly activities that may be sources of potential chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) hazards. The support request procedures for products and information are dependent on the individual system.

Missile Tracking. Space-based systems, ground-based systems, correlation center C2 systems, and CCDR/national leadership decision support systems support time critical event conferencing. These systems provide allies and senior leaders the requisite timely warning and characterization of ballistic missile events to include launch, mid-course tracking, terminal phase re-entry, and nuclear detonations to support threat/non-threat determination and follow-on decision making.

Launch Detection. Space-based and ground-based sensors provide real-time and post-launch analysis to determine orbital characteristics and potential conjunctions with other objects in space. Detection of space launches is accomplished for both domestic and foreign launches. Launch detection data is used to evaluate events that could directly or indirectly threaten US or allied space assets. Similar to missile warning, this information is analyzed to determine potential impacts on assets so that timely warnings and recommendations for suitable countermeasures can be made. For domestic launches, this capability supports the characterization of nominal and anomalous space launch events.

Environmental Monitoring. Space forces provide data on meteorological, oceanographic, and space environmental factors that might affect military operations. Additionally, space capabilities provide data that forms the basis for forecasts, alerts, and warnings for the space environment that may negatively impact space assets, space operations, and their terrestrial users. Imagery capabilities can provide joint force planners with current information on sub-surface, surface, and air conditions (e.g., traffic capability, beach conditions, vegetation, and land use). Knowledge of these factors allows forces to avoid adverse environmental conditions while taking advantage of other conditions to enhance operations. Such monitoring also supports joint intelligence preparation of the operational environment (JIPOE) by providing the commander with information needed to identify and analyze potential adversary Courses of Action. In support of military operations in CBRN environments, this monitoring also provides geospatial information (weather, terrain impacts on CBRN hazard transport/persistency) along with the assessment of a CBRN hazard incident on the natural environment.

Satellite Communications [SATCOM] provides commanders with the ability to establish or augment telecommunications in regions of the world that lack suitable terrestrial infrastructure. The broad range of unique SATCOM capabilities allows the commander to shape the Operating Environment. SATCOM uses include instant global connection to information networks, transmission of critical intelligence, the ability to tie sensors to shooters, and establish survivable communications in austere locations with limited or no infrastructure. The term SATCOM includes military, commercial, civil, and allied SATCOM systems.

Positioning, Navigation, and Timing. Space-based PNT assets provide essential, precise, and reliable information that permits joint forces to more effectively plan, train, coordinate, and execute operations. Assured PNT information is a mission essential element in virtually every modern weapon system. Precision timing provides the joint force the capability to synchronize operations and enables communications capabilities such as frequency hopping, as well as network and cryptological synchronization, to improve communications security (COMSEC) and effectiveness. PNT also enables precision attack from stand-off distances, thereby reducing collateral damage and allowing friendly forces to avoid threat areas.

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Page last modified: 11-11-2016 19:25:29 ZULU