Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force (USSF), and Commander, U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), recently signed the USSF Vision for Enterprise Satellite Communications (SATCOM).
The Enterprise SATCOM Vision outlines the new Service’s vision to evolve SATCOM into a single enterprise that can continue to deliver effects to warfighters from and through a contested, degraded and operationally-limited (CDO) environment.
The new USSF vision includes emphasis on the speed needed in developing future SATCOM capabilities. The vision states, “We must move faster than our adversaries to ensure warfighters receive the operational benefits of an integrated SATCOM enterprise capable of delivering SATCOM effects in CDO environments. We must adopt faster acquisition processes and faster command and control constructs to maintain the advantage in any conflict.”
“Despite the global, instantaneous reach of our satellite communications systems, which includes both military and commercial capabilities, the current loose federation of SATCOM systems needs to improve in resiliency, robustness, flexibility, and manageability,” said Maj. Gen. Bill Liquori, USSF Director of Strategic Requirements, Architectures and Analysis. A team of experts from USSF, the Space and Missile Systems Center, and the Space Force Commercial SATCOM Office has been instrumental in identifying and defining the key requirements and concepts in the vision document.
The single, integrated SATCOM enterprise will enhance integration between the military and private sectors, with a goal to enable warfighters with the ability to transition between their networks and terminals to alternate resources with little or no disruption.
Key elements of the vision include: Global Situational Awareness & Common Operating Picture, Command & Control Management System, SATCOM terminals, SATCOM governance, and Acquisition & Provisioning.
USSF has several immediate priorities to deliver the single, integrated SATCOM enterprise, including establishing a team of core experts who can analyze and orchestrate the multi-faceted enterprise. That team will quickly need to develop a roadmap to ensure near-term budgeting priorities are in-line with the SATCOM vision.
Additionally, USSF will develop a flexible modem interface (FMI) standard to support agile SATCOM roaming for the Department of Defense users and develop a strategy to replace the current Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) capability. USSF will continue engaging commercial partners to evaluate opportunities that may complement or possibly replace portions of a traditional military SATCOM purpose-built system.
The signing of the USSF Enterprise SATCOM Vision comes after a number of recent events that gave the command an opportunity to transform how SATCOM is procured, managed and delivered to USSPACECOM and other combatant commands around the world.
On Dec. 12, 2018, Air Force Space Command assumed sole responsibility for the procurement of COMSATCOM services on behalf of the DoD. Then AFSPC hosted a SATCOM Industry Day to engage industrial partners early in the vision drafting process. They provided numerous valuable inputs that shaped the final vision.
On May 28, 2019, the Secretaries of the Air Force and Navy agreed to transfer responsibility for the future narrowband capability from the Navy to the Air Force as a prudent step to consolidate space capabilities.
AFSPC was redesignated as the USSF as an initial step in the establishment of the USSF on Dec. 20, 2019. New acquisition authorities, combined with USSF’s existing authority to acquire all Air Force and many DoD space systems, allows USSF to deliver better, more integrated solutions, ensuring warfighters have the resilient communications capabilities they need to fight and win.