According to Maj. Gen. David Miller, head of operations, training, and force development at US Space Command, the US needs stronger capabilities to monitor enemies’ operations in space and to establish satellite constellations that can withstand an armed confrontation quickly. On September 29 at Space Sector Market Conference, which was held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Miller stated that the military is banking on the space industry to deliver these capabilities quickly.
He believes that a stronger US space posture will help dissuade enemies from striking US satellites. “When you start thinking about building and investing in technologies for what we require to focus on in the future, it can’t be fifteen years from conception to first object in orbit,” he says. From flash to bang, you have around a two-year window. And that is being generous,” he informed the private-sector leaders and entrepreneurs in the crowd.
One of the issues facing US Space Command — the body in charge of military activities in space — is that it relies on a satellite and ground system architecture designed decades ago, he added. Distinguishing benign from hostile space activities and guaranteeing satellites’ resilience to attacks “weren’t priorities for the past 20 years,” Miller added.
“The first thing you have to be able to do is comprehend what’s going on, ascribe that action, know that action is genuine, and then adopt a posture that offers resilience and response,” he said. More modern technologies are needed by the United States Space Command to track activities, provide signs of future actions, and better ways to link military and commercial networks to make systems more resilient.
“To minimize the possibility for escalation and brace for a shift to the crisis, if necessary,” Miller added, knowing who did what is crucial. “And we aren’t engaged at a close enough distance to be able to achieve that.” He went on to say, “The infrastructure we constructed to view, move, and communicate across the horizon was not meant for conflict.”
Miller formerly led the wing at Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado that manages the military’s missile-warning satellites. SBIRS satellites, or space-based infrared systems, are the principal sensors utilized to detect missile launches. The Space Force deployed SBIRS 5, the constellation’s fifth satellite, earlier this year.
“You are not prepared for confrontation when your assets are in the single digits,” Miller added. “That capability was not designed to function in the midst of a conflict.” It’s no secret that if there’s an armed war, China will target such satellites, he claimed. “Their capabilities and doctrine they’re developing indicate that they’ll go for those kinds of targets.” According to Miller, future U.S. architecture “must be proliferated and in various orbits.”