February 10, 2005

US : Space war game is under way in a global environment scenario in the year 2020

2/10/2005 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFPN) -- The Schriever III space war game is under way here, where a 350-person team of space professionals battle in a global environment scenario set in the year 2020.

The simulation was designed to verify space capabilities and tactics and techniques used by the 21st century joint warfighter, officials said.

The game began Feb. 5 and runs through Feb. 11. It brings together officials from about 20 Department of Defense agencies and Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom to investigate future space systems, the missions they support, and how to ensure their survivability.

“Schriever III is more than a war game -- it’s a valuable forum that establishes partnerships and fosters innovative thought at the strategic- and operational-levels of war,” said Gen. Lance W. Lord, commander of Air Force Space Command.

More specifically, the game examines the capabilities required to ensure global stability and explores how to build a seamless integration of manned and unmanned space systems, supporting homeland defense and U.S. global and theater interests, said Brig. Gen. Daniel J. Darnell, game executive director and commander of the Space Warfare Center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.

The phrase “space war game” lends a notion that the game is focused on a military fight in space, but that is not the case, game officials said.

“Our focus is how best to use space assets to coordinate the joint terrestrial fight,” General Darnell said.

The war game aims to ensure the United States maintains its ultimate high ground -- space superiority, officials said.

There are very few things in conventional combat today that do not involve space systems, General Darnell said. Missile warning, battle-space awareness, precision munitions guidance, navigation and timing, and military satellite communications all critically rely on space support.

How to consistently provide these combat tools to the joint warfighter is a focus area in the war game, officials said. Game participants investigate the optimal combination of space, air and near space assets to best support the warfighter.

“Space is a medium just like air, land and sea,” General Darnell said. “Our goal is to ensure we have the assets our warfighters and national decision-makers need to maintain space superiority.”
Near-space maneuvering vehicles, for example, will augment satellite constellations gaps for the combatant commander in the game scenario. Communication, friendly-force tracking, imaging capability and signals intelligence gathering are few of the areas that near-space capabilities can complement.

The near-space concept is a subset of joint warfighting space, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper’s initiative to more rapidly and effectively harnesses space-based communications and intelligence capabilities to support warfighters on the battlefield.

Near space is the outermost part of the atmosphere, generally defined as the area between 65,000 feet and 320,000 feet above ground. Near-space platforms under development that might operate in a new mission area include balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles, officials said.

Machine-to-machine integration is another focus area during the game, officials said. The concept will ultimately speed up decision times in getting approval for a pilot to engage a time-sensitive target, improving the information relay process.

“About 90 percent of the time it takes right now to detect a target and to decide what to do with it and finally get (clearance) back to the pilot is spent in trying to get communication up the chain and back down,” said General Darnell, an experienced fighter pilot. “We’d like to reduce it to an almost instantaneous decision-making process where the only time required is the time it takes for the missile or bomb to arrive on target.”
More specifically, machine-to-machine integration requires different machines cueing one another to look at and validate a specific target. Ideally, decision-makers at the strategic, operational and tactical level would receive and view this information simultaneously, officials said.

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