Space Criticality to Ongoing Military Operations
ARMY SPACE AND MISSILE DEFENSE COMMAND/ARMY FORCES STRATEGIC COMMAND HUNTSVILLE AL
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Draft copies of books describing lessons learned from Operation Enduring Freedom are already being written. No matter what the authors take on our successes and failures, I can guarantee you each will dedicate a significant portion of his or her book to the critical role Space is playing in this worldwide war on terrorism. In this article I intend to highlight examples of the more salient force enhancement support that Space assets have provided. Before the first soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine was placed in harms way - and well before the first unmanned aerial vehicle was deployed - we used satellites to scan hundreds of thousands of square miles of Afghanistans rugged terrain. This information gave us a feel for the terrain, for the weapons that potentially could be employed against us, and for an initial set of targets to be attacked with cruise missiles and high-altitude bombers. We used satellites to collect electronic and signals intelligence on the enemy. Satellites fed constant data about cloud cover and moisture into weather forecasting programs. Satellites with spectral imagers were used to detect changes in terrain features indicating potential use by the enemy. Satellites were also available to detect the infrared signature of a missile launch if the terrorists had possessed that capability. Satellites were our first eyes on target operating 24 hours a day, during day and night and in all weather. As the decision neared to deploy forces into theater, digital terrain data provided by satellites were used to develop 3-D images of terrain and streets and even to give military planners an idea of the view from a terrorists window. This proved to be a boon for pilots flying low-altitude missions through rugged mountains and for special operations forces carrying out covert raids.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Defense Systems
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Space Warfare