AFA NEWS: Army Missile Warning System Next on Space Force Consolidation List

By Josh Luckenbaugh

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NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — After taking control of all of the Defense Department’s satellite communication functions earlier this year, the Space Force is continuing to look for ways to consolidate more systems into its portfolio of capabilities.

The Army’s satellite communications mission was officially transferred to the Space Force in August, following the transfer of the Navy’s Satellite Operations Center in June. This marks the first time all Defense Department military satellite communication functions have been consolidated under a single service, a Space Force release said.

Having all of these missions under one service has had a major impact on the Space Force, said Maj. Gen. Douglas A. Schiess, vice commander of Space Operations Command.

“The whole satcom architecture is within one Delta commander at one field command,” Schiess said during a panel discussion at the Air and Space Forces Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber event in National Harbor, Maryland, on Sept. 19.

“We're finding synergies already — and being able to take people off of one network and put them on another; that in the past could have happened, but was much harder to do. So, an incredible lift over the last year.”

In addition to these satellite communication capabilities, the Space Force is also “in talks” with the Army to take control of the joint tactical ground station, or JTAGS, mission “over the next year,” Schiess said.

The stations “receive, process and disseminate direct down-linked infrared data from overhead sensors” to “provide commanders with real-time warning, alerting and queing information on ballistic missile launches,” according to the Army’s Acquisition Support Center website.

The transfer would bring all space-based missile warning systems for all of the theater combatant commanders into one service, Schiess said.

While the transfer of JTAGS to the Space Force is not official yet, Schiess noted the relationship between the two services is strong after their recent collaboration on the transfer of the Army’s satellite communication functions.

“We're on the very beginning stages of [JTAGS], but I know that our partnership with the Army was great for the satcom, [and] I know that it will be great … for the JTAGS as well,” he said.


Topics: Space, Space Operations, Missile Defense

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