recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated the asymmetric advantage provided by
space systems and their significant contribution to the most flexible, precise, and lethal
military the world has ever seen. To ensure that our high-demand, low-density
space systems continue to provide an asymmetric advantage for us, we must employ them as
efficiently and smartly as possible to meet war-fighter needs. The foundation for such
employment lies in well-developed, comprehensive space-operations doctrine.
every major conflict since Operation Desert Storm, space capabilities have provided
increasing levels of support to combat operations. Command relationships continue to
evolve to maximize theater commanders ability to integrate space effects into their
campaigns. Similarly, space-operations doctrine has grown and matured by continually
capturing the lessons learned and best practices discovered in each successive conflict.
We are now at a point where we can evaluate our current space doctrine in light of the
lessons learned in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. How should our
space-operations doctrine build on these lessons? What, if any, new such doctrine is
necessary? This article examines these questions and proposes a course for enhancing and
expanding the body of space-operations doctrine. However, before we proceed, a short
discussion on existing operational-level space doctrine is appropriate.
Air Force and the joint community have codified operational-level space-operations
doctrine in Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-2, Space Operations, and Joint
Publication (JP) 3-14, Joint Doctrine for Space Operations, respectively. (A rather
dated Army documentField Manual 100-18, Space Support to Army Operations, 20
July 1995is not discussed here.) AFDD 2-2 and JP 3-14 are similar in both scope and
Air Force operational-level space doctrine resides in AFDD 2-2, last revised in 2001.1
This document provides significant detail in the areas of command and control (C2)
of space forces as well as the planning and execution of space operations. The first
chapter serves as a primer on the contribution of space operations to air and space power,
examining the relevance and contribution of these operations to the principles of war,
tenets of air and space power, Air Force functions, and Air Force distinctive capabilities
(formerly known as core competencies). The second chapter offers guidance for the C2
of both global and theater space forces. It introduces the construct of a joint force air
and space component commander (JFASCC) although this entity has not found acceptance with
the other military services. The third and fourth chapters discuss planning and execution
of space operations, respectively. The planning chapter covers campaign planning and
highlights development of the Air Force Space Operations Plan. The execution chapter
provides guidance for conducting both global and theater space operations. Of particular
note are sections that cover the integration of civil, commercial, and foreign space
assets into operations and development of the space tasking order. The final chapter
addresses training and education for space operations in the context of developing space
warriors. AFDD 2-2 provides a solid doctrinal foundation for Air Force space operations,
but as we will see later, it needs updating to incorporate the lessons of Enduring Freedom
and Iraqi Freedom.
3-14, which treats joint space-operations doctrine, finally saw publication in 2002 after
undergoing development for well over 10 years.2 Even though a fairly recent
document, it needed revision as soon as it appeared due to the merger of US Strategic
Command (USSTRATCOM) and US Space Command (USSPACECOM). Divided into five chapters and
eight appendices, JP 3-14 includes material similar to that of its service counterparts.
The first chapter provides an overview of military space operations and the operational
considerations for space. The second, which covers space organizations and their
responsibilities, requires significant revision because of the creation of the new
USSTRATCOM. The third chapter offers guidance for the C2 of space forces,
focusing primarily on global space forces but including limited guidance on command and
support relationships for theater space operations. The fourth discusses military space
operations in the context of the principles of war and the four mission areas for space
(control, force enhancement, support, and force application). The final chapter discusses
deliberate and crisis-action planning for space operations. The appendices provide a
tutorial on several topics, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
(ISR); integrated tactical warning and attack assessment; environmental monitoring;
communications; position, velocity, time, and navigation; and orbital characteristics.
Although lacking detail in some areas, JP 3-14s guidance for joint space operations
serves as a good primer for familiarizing the joint community with what space brings to
thousand four promises to be a banner year for space-operations doctrine. AFDD 2-2.1, Counterspace
Operations, currently in draft, should see publication in 2004, and a revised version
of AFDD 2-2 should appear by spring 2005. Additionally, JP 3-14 may begin an out-of-cycle
revision this year as well. Standup of the new USSTRATCOM and experiences from Enduring
Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have provided significant rationale for updating existing Air
Force and joint space-operations doctrine and have reinforced the need for additional
space doctrine, particularly for counterspace operations. One should also explore any
possible rationale for developing new Air Force space doctrine to cover the other
space-related functions or mission areas.
merger of USSPACECOM and USSTRATCOM to form the new USSTRATCOM necessitates many changes
to both Air Force and joint space-operations doctrine. A number of these alterations are
only cosmetic, requiring nothing more than a simple find and replace of USSTRATCOM
for USSPACECOM, but others are more substantial. Of particular significance to JP
3-14 is the transition of USSPACECOMs joint space-support teams into STRATCOM
support teams, which involves more than a simple name change. Whereas the joint
space-support team provided space support to joint theater operations, the STRATCOM
support team works with all STRATCOM-assigned missions (space, global strike, global ISR,
information operations, and integrated missile defense). One concern raises the question
of how the space portion of the STRATCOM support team will interface with the designated
coordinating authority for space, especially if that authority is delegated to one of the
functional component commanders (e.g., the joint force air, land, or maritime component
commanders), as was the case during Iraqi Freedom and several subsequent major exercises.
USSPACECOM-USSTRATCOM merger also drove changes to the service-component structure. Army
Space Command became Army Strategic Command, and Naval Space Command merged with Naval
Network Warfare Command. The Air Force component to USSTRATCOM is still evolving, faced
with the difficult task of presenting space, ICBM, ISR, information operations, and global
strike capabilities that are distributed across two separate Air Force major commands
(MAJCOM) (Air Force Space Command and Air Combat Command). The likely solution will
involve establishing a Warfighting Headquarters, a STRATAF that will draw
forces from both MAJCOMs to accomplish USSTRATCOM-assigned missions. The exact structure
of the STRATAF and the ways it will affect the Fourteenth Air Force air and space
operations centers (AOC) remain undetermined, but we expect resolution by mid-2004. The
appropriate sections of AFDD 2-2 and JP 3-14 should be updated to include these new
Lessons from Enduring Freedom and Iraqi
recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq provide ample opportunity to assess the
effectiveness and utility of current space-operations doctrine in the crucible of actual
combat. The lessons from these conflicts fall into two areas. First, experience shows that
existing space-operations doctrine, both Air Force and joint, lacks sufficient detail
regarding the coordination and integration of space forces supporting theater operations.3
This is particularly true of the roles and responsibilities associated with the
coordinating authority for space (JP 3-14) and the Air Forces senior space officer
(SSO) (AFDD 2-2). Second, Iraqs use of global positioning system (GPS) jamming
demonstrates a new reality of warfare: our adversaries have recognized how much US war
fighters rely on space systems and will attempt to disrupt our ability to use them. This
combat experience reinforces the need for dedicated Air Force counterspace-operations
and Coordination of Theater Space Support.
When Enduring Freedom began, we had no approved joint space-operations doctrine to guide
the joint force (US Central Command) as it established command relationships for space
forces. The joint force commander (JFC) elected to retain authority for theater space
operations. The lack of doctrinal guidance led to suboptimal command relationships,
resulting in confusion and duplication of effort among the JFCs staff, theater
functional components, and reachback organizations.5 The Air Force later
proposed a possible solution, as codified in AFDD 2-2, that involved redesignating the
JFACC as the JFASCC, taking on the roles of coordinating authority for space and supported
commander for joint space operations.6 This proposal was not well received by
the other services, eventually prompting the compromise wording found in JP 3-14, which
states that a JFC will normally designate a single authority to coordinate joint
theater space operations and integrate space capabilities.7 The JFC can
either retain space coordinating authority or delegate it to a component commander.8
The publication includes a general list of space-authority responsibilities such as
coordinating space operations, integrating space capabilities, and having primary
responsibility for joint, in-theater space-operations planning.9
Iraqi Freedom, the JFC delegated space coordinating authority to the combined force air
component commander (CFACC). In that operation, as in Enduring Freedom, an SSO served on
the special staff of the commander, Air Force forces (COMAFFOR)/ CFACC as an
assistant/advisor on space matters. During Iraqi Freedom, this individual assisted the
CFACC with execution of space coordinating authority, and, though consistent with the
position stated in Air Force doctrine, some problems arose in the execution of this
primary causes contributed to this situation. The first resulted from the late-breaking
decision, made only two days before hostilities began, to delegate responsibility for
space coordinating authority to the JFACC.10 This arrangement, which differed
from the one exercised prior to the conflict, required last-minute changes to coordination
plans and procedures. The second contributor resulted from the lack of any real detail in
joint doctrine that would identify the exact responsibilities of the space coordinating
authority and a similar lack of detail in Air Force doctrine regarding the roles and
responsibilities of the SSO.11
a result of the difficulties experienced during Iraqi Freedom, Headquarters Air Force
Space Command and the Air Force Doctrine Center were directed to flesh out the SSO
construct and brief the proposal at Air Force Doctrine Summit IV in November 2003.
The proposed construct refined the roles and responsibilities of the SSO in situations in
which the JFC retains space coordinating authority or delegates it to the JFACC or a
different component. Although briefed at the doctrine summit, the SSO construct resulted
in a new action item for Headquarters Air Force Space Command to develop and form a
red team to explore an alternative director of space forces (DIRSPACEFOR)
construct for presentation at Corona South in February 2004.
team representatives from Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Air Mobility Command, Air
Force Director of Space Operations and Integration, Fourteenth Air Force, Air Force
Command and Control Training and Integration Group, Space Warfare Center, and Air Force
Doctrine Center met in early January 2004. The proposed DIRSPACEFOR construct, consisting
of a five-person unit type code attached to the COMAFFORs special staff, facilitates
execution of space coordinating authority on behalf of the JFACC (when designated) or
coordinates Air Force theater space requirements with the designated space coordinating
authority. Personnel familiar with the director of air mobility operations will have a
fairly accurate sense of the type and scope of responsibilities held by the DIRSPACEFOR.
However, although the director of air mobility operations has the authority to direct the
Air Mobility Division in the AOC, the DIRSPACEFOR has no corresponding Space Division
within the AOC to direct. Therefore, the DIRSPACEFOR is a director in name only, simply
acting on behalf of the COMAFFOR/JFACC.
attendees at Corona South 2004 decided to press ahead with the DIRSPACEFOR construct, the
draft of AFDD 2-2.1 now includes information on the detailed roles and responsibilities of
the DIRSPACEFOR and space coordinating authority; AFDD 2-2 and JP 3-14 must do likewise
when they are revised. This updating is essential to ensuring that we employ space
capabilities and establish C2 relationships as efficiently and smartly as
possible to meet the needs of our war fighters.
for Counterspace Operations. Iraqs employment of GPS jamming in Iraqi Freedom
emphasizes the need to get serious about counterspace operations. Although Iraqs
efforts proved militarily ineffectivedefeated by GPS-aided munitionsthey show
that our adversaries recognize US dependence on space and will attempt to disrupt our
ability to exploit the asymmetric advantage that space capabilities give us. Obviously, we
need detailed counterspace-operations doctrine to ensure that campaign planners consider
such operations and that we properly conduct them in combat.
Air Forces current counterspace doctrine is inadequate for the task at hand,
existing entirely as single-page descriptions in AFDD 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, and
AFDD 2-2. The former defines counterspace operations as those kinetic and nonkinetic
operations conducted to attain and maintain a desired degree of space superiority by the
destruction, degradation, or disruption of enemy space capability.12
These operations have both offensive and defensive components.
counterspace (OCS) operations deny, degrade, disrupt, destroy, or deceive (the five
Ds) an adversarys space capability.13 AFDD 2-2s more detailed
discussion of OCS seems inconsistent with the one in AFDD 1 in at least one respect. As
Maj John Grenier points out, AFDD 1 handles the five Ds as effects while AFDD 2-2
describes them as methods.14 The revision to AFDD 2-2 should correct this
problem, emphasizing effects, as does AFDD 1.
to AFDD 1, defensive counterspace (DCS) operations preserve space capabilities, withstand
enemy attack, restore/recover space capabilities after an attack, and reconstitute space
forces.15 AFDD 2-2 adds a discussion of active and passive defenses and
includes a single-paragraph introduction to space situational awareness.16
Technically, such awareness is not part of counterspace operations, but it functions as
the foundation of counterspace and other space actions.17
need for detailed, stand-alone Air Force counterspace-operations doctrine gained formal
recognition when the Air Force Doctrine Working Group voted unanimously in April 2002 to
approve development of AFDD 2-2.1, Counterspace Operations.18 Currently
in final draft, the document likely will appear in mid-2004. On a related note, because of
pressure to reduce the number of joint publications, a plan to develop JP 3-14.1, Joint
Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Space Control, will probably be scrapped and the
material combined with JP 3-14 when it is revised.
draft of AFDD 2-2.1 includes six chapters. The first provides an overview of counterspace
operations, threats to space systems, and space-policy considerations, as well as a
discussion on the linkage between Air Force counterspace operations and the space-control
mission area. This chapter alone offers greater insight into counterspace operations than
do the existing references in AFDD 1 and AFDD 2-2. The second chapter devotes itself to
discussion of the C2 of counterspace operations, significantly detailing
command relationships, roles and responsibilities, and the C2 of theater and
global counterspace operations. The new command relationships and roles/ responsibilities
resulting from the standup of the new USSTRATCOM and lessons from Enduring Freedom and
Iraqi Freedom will be incorporated prior to publication. The third chapter includes a
detailed discussion of the tasks and components of space situational awareness, which, as
noted before, is not part of counterspace operations exclusively but is a fundamental
enabler of counterspace operations. The fourth chapter greatly expands the DCS construct
found in AFDD 2-2 by presenting it in terms of deterrence, defense, and recovery. The
fifth chapter covers OCS, includes the five Ds (as effects, not methods), discusses OCS
targets (nodes and links), and lists forces capable of contributing to OCS operations. The
final chapter outlines detailed guidance for planning and executing counterspace
operations. AFDD 2-2.1 should embody the guidance necessary to assure that counterspace
operations effectively contribute to achieving campaign objectives in future conflicts.
for New Air Force
2-2 is the space equivalent of AFDD 2-1, Air Warfare. The publication of AFDD 2-2.1
will give us a single subordinate doctrine document to AFDD 2-2, in contrast to the nine
such documents for AFDD 2-1. Given the proliferation of air doctrine, is a similar
proliferation of space doctrine likely? One should examine the possibilities for new Air
Force operational-level space doctrine, keeping in mind that Air Force doctrine focuses on
the desired effect rather than the platform that creates the effect or the location of the
example, some individuals believe that space-based missile defense should be a part of
counterspace operations. But consider the hypothetical launch of an ICBM against a target
in the United States, which a space-based system intercepts while the missile is in space.
Surely this occurrence belongs in the realm of counterspace. Right? Wrong. The adversary
launched the missile against a terrestrial targetdefense of terrestrial targets
against air or missile attack constitutes defensive counterair. If we change the scenario
slightly to make the missile a direct-ascent antisatellite weapon, it now becomes a case
AFDDs are associated with the 17 Air Force functions identified in AFDD 1.19 In
fact, only two of the functionsspace lift and navigation and positioningdo not
have counterpart doctrine documents, making them candidates for new AFDDs. Navigation and
positioning, though predominantly space-related functions in the form of GPS, are not
exclusively provided by space systems. Additionally, the effect produced primarily
enhances terrestrial operations. If we ever develop a doctrine of navigation and
positioning, it would likely become a subordinate document to AFDD 2-1. The space-specific
tactics, techniques, and procedures should be captured in the tactical space doctrine
found in Air Force Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (AFTTP) 3-1, volume 28, Tactical
subelements of the four space-mission areas represent another possible source for new
space-operations doctrine. One finds these mission areas in JP 3-14 but not in Air Force
space doctrine.20 The space-control mission area and its subordinate elements
of surveillance, prevention, protection, and negation are adequately covered by the
counterspace doctrine publication in development. As for the space force-application
mission area, existing documents include both subordinate elementsmissile defense
and strikes against terrestrial targets. Missile defense is an integral part of defensive
counterair, and terrestrial strike would fall under strategic attack or
counterland/counterair/countersea, depending upon the target. The space force-enhancement
mission area has five subordinate elements: integrated tactical warning and attack
assessment; communications; ISR; environmental monitoring; and positioning, navigation,
and timing. These elements are not likely candidates for new space doctrine because (1)
none is exclusively space related or produces primarily space effects and (2) several are
associated with existing Air Force doctrine publications. Nevertheless, the relevant
space-specific tactics, techniques, and procedures should be captured in AFTTP 3-1, volume
28. The space-support mission area, however, contains the subordinate elements of space
lift and satellite operations, both of which are potential candidates for future
stand-alone doctrine documents.
Air Force Doctrine Center has three criteria for judging new doctrine proposals:
appropriateness, distinctiveness, and sufficiency.21 As for appropriateness,
the center determines whether the proposal applies to the operational level of war and
whether a validated need for the new doctrine exists. It then examines the proposal for
sufficient distinctiveness to warrant a stand-alone document. Finally, the center judges
the proposal to ascertain the availability of sufficient material to develop a stand-alone
document. It is instructive to examine how the two possible contenders might fare against
the Air Force Doctrine Centers criteria.
lift, which allows us to place spacecraft into orbit, is fundamentally important for space
operations. However, the close linkage of current space-lift capabilities to acquisition
and its schedule-driven nature make space lifts appropriateness for
operational-level doctrine questionable. Space lift is certainly a distinctive capability
not easily combined with air-mobility operations. Given the nature of current space-lift
operations, sufficiency of material may also pose a problem. Overall, space lift is
probably not quite mature enough to justify a stand-alone doctrine document. This
assessment could certainly change in the future as operationally responsive space-lift
capabilities come online and launch-on-demand becomes a reality.
operations control and monitor on-orbit satellites. As with space lift, the current state
of satellite operations may not pass the appropriateness test. Since our satellites are
relatively nonmaneuverable, most satellite operations concern themselves with status
monitoring and updates. These operations are distinctive, but sufficient operational-level
material may not be available. This situation could change drastically in the future as
operationally responsive satellites, microsatellites, and, potentially, space-based weapon
platforms enter the Air Force inventory.
on the rationale above, augmenting the counterspace-operations document now in development
with additional stand-alone space-operations doctrine may be 1015 years away. In the
meantime, the US military must ensure that existing space doctrine provides the best
guidance possible to the war fighter and permits the proper incorporation of space
equities into other Air Force or joint doctrine, as appropriate.
establishing a baseline of what constitutes doctrine, as opposed to policy and strategy,
and exploring the content and scope of current space-operations doctrine, this article
examined the way ahead for that doctrine. As noted previously, 2004 promises to be a
banner year for space-operations doctrine, and the standup of the new USSTRATCOM and our
experience in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have given us ample
justification for updating and expanding the body of that doctrine. Furthermore, although
dedicated doctrines for space lift or satellite operations will not likely appear in the
near future, their time will come. Our growing body of space-operations doctrine reflects
the increasingly important role that space plays in US military operations. The future of
space operations and space-operations doctrine is limited only by our imagination.
Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-2, Space Operations, 27 November 2001,
Publication (JP) 3-14, Joint Doctrine for Space Operations, 9 August 2002,
Headquarters Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and Air Force Doctrine Center (AFDC),
subject: Air Force Doctrine Summit IV, November 2003.
of the Spring 2002 Air Force Doctrine Working Group, 23 April 2002,
gained from the authors numerous interviews/discussions with Enduring Freedom
participants during the course of performing duties within Headquarters AFSPC/XPXS
(Policy, Strategy, and Doctrine Branch).
2-2, Space Operations, 23.
3-14, Joint Doctrine for Space Operations, III-1.
gained from the authors numerous interviews/discussions with Iraqi Freedom
participants during the course of performing duties within Headquarters AFSPC/XPXS.
Headquarters AFSPC and AFDC.
1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 17 November 2003, 52.
John Grenier, A New Construct for Air Force Counterspace Doctrine, Air and
Space Power Journal 16, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 1718, http://www.airpower.
1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 53.
2-2, Space Operations, 10.
of the Spring 2002 Air Force Doctrine Working Group.
1, Air Force Basic Doctrine, 4970.
3-14, Joint Doctrine for Space Operations, IV-5 through IV-10.
Force Doctrine Working Group Charter, 4 March 1999,
Todd C. Shull (BA,
Colorado State University; MS, University of North Dakota) is chief of the Policy and
Strategy Section, Headquarters Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), Peterson AFB, Colorado. He
has previously served as chief of the Doctrine Section, Headquarters AFSPC; executive
officer for the 30th Space Wing and current-operations plans officer for the 30th
Operations Support Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, California; missile-warning test manager for
the 721st Support Group, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado; and ICBM
instructor crew commander with the 446th Missile Squadron, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.
Major Shull is a graduate of Squadron Officer School.
& Space Power Journal
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