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Research Questions

  1. How can some of the elements of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) be modified to improve space mission resilience?
  2. What near-term, mid-term, and far-term DOTMLPF-P actions will help improve space mission resilience, independent of the space segment architecture?

Space is now a congested, contested, and competitive environment. Space systems must become more resilient to potential adversary actions and system failures, but changes to space systems are costly. To provide a complete look at resilience and possibly realize some benefit at lower cost, the Air Force asked RAND to identify non-materiel means — doctrine, organization, training, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy — to enhance space resilience over the near and far terms.The authors developed implementation options to improve resilience based on a notional space protection operational concept: enhancing the capability of space operators to respond, in a timely and effective manner, to adversary counterspace actions. Operators need actionable information, appropriate organization and tactics, and dynamic command and control, supported by appropriate tools and decision aids, relevant training and exercises, and qualified personnel brought into the career field.

The authors also recommend that Air Force Space Command develop a formal, end-to-end, space protection concept of operations (CONOPS) that captures all elements needed to improve resilience. In addition, the CONOPS could potentially follow the tenet of centralized control and decentralized execution in certain situations, such as when responding to adversary counterspace actions. For the near-term options, the rough order of magnitude (ROM) nonrecurring engineering (NRE) cost of implementation is estimated to be between $2.5 million and $3.6 million. For the far-term options, the ROM NRE cost is estimated to be between $109 million and $166 million, with the ROM recurring cost between $4 million and $5.4 million per year.

Key Findings

Resilience as a Priority

  • Changing the prevalent mindset/culture that "space is a sanctuary" within the rank and file of the space operator community will require space leadership to define priorities and provide resources for non-materiel space resilience activities.

Space Protection Concept of Operations

  • The authors developed implementation options to improve resilience based on a notional space protection operational concept: enhancing the capability of space operators to respond, in a timely and effective manner, to adversary counterspace actions. Operators need actionable information, appropriate organization and tactics, and dynamic command and control, supported by appropriate tools and decision aids, relevant training and exercises, and qualified personnel brought into the career field.
  • The authors also recommend that Air Force Space Command develop a formal, end-to-end, space protection concept of operations (CONOPS) that captures all elements needed to improve resilience.
  • In addition, when developing the CONOPS, it may be time for the space community to relax its centralized control and centralized execution in certain situations, such as responding to adversary counterspace actions, and follow the tenet of centralized control and decentralized execution.

Rough Order of Magnitude Costs

  • For the near-term options, the rough order of magnitude (ROM) nonrecurring engineering (NRE) cost of implementation is estimated to be between $2.5 million and $3.6 million.
  • For the far-term options, the ROM NRE cost is estimated to be between $109 million and $166 million, with the ROM recurring cost between $4 million and $5.4 million per year.

Recommendations

  • Near term (less than one year): Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Division (ISRD) provides timely counterspace threat advisories and indications and warning (I&W) to Wing intelligence (INTEL) and space operations squadrons (SOPSs) and space warning squadrons (SWSs) by sharing information by chat or email and updating website.
  • Near term: JSpOC Combat Operations Division (COD) provides timely space weather effects advisories to SOPSs/SWSs by sharing information by chat or email and/or establishing website with timely updates.
  • Near term: SOPSs/SWSs weapons and tactics develop job aids and procedures for likely counterspace threats.
  • Near term: JSpOC Combat Plans Division develops courses of action for likely adversary threats and establishes rules of engagement that authorize lowest levels of command to provide more timely response to adversary counterspace actions.
  • Near term: SOPSs/SWSs establish on-the-job training for job aids and procedures that include recognizing and responding to adversary counterspace actions.
  • Far term (three to six years): National Air and Space Intelligence Center transfers space order of battle responsibility to a cadre of government civilians in JSpOC ISRD.
  • Far term: Define requirements by which JSpOC Mission System (JMS) can be the mechanism for intelligence updates, space weather effects advisories, and enabling higher echelons to exercise command by negation across the space enterprise and phase capability into JMS program.
  • Far term: Create space protection lead, a new crew position, at SOPSs/SWSs and JSpOC.
  • Far term: SOPSs/SWSs submit tactics for likely counterspace threats for testing and documentation.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Resilience and Civil Institutions

  • Chapter Three

    Resilience and U.S. Government Civil Space Agencies

  • Chapter Four

    Resilience and Air Force Space Operations

  • Chapter Five

    Resilience and a World with International and Commercial Partners

  • Chapter Six

    Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Space Resilience Cost Analysis

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the commander, Air Force Space Command, and was conducted within the Force Modernization and Employment Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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