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U.S. Space Force Establishes First Unit for Targeting Adversary Satellites

Recently, the United States Space Force inaugurated its first special unit aimed at countering satellites and ground stations of other countries.

August 18, 2023

On August 11, the 75th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron (ISRS) was activated at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado. Operating under Space Delta 7, a unit of the U.S. Space Force that focuses on providing intelligence on adversary space capabilities, the unit is tasked with target analysis, tracking potential targets, and engaging in the disruption or destruction of enemy satellites and associated satellites ground stations and transmissions sent between satellites.

As noted by Lt. Col. Travis Anderson, squadron commander, the concept of this specialized space targeting unit has been in development for more than 4 years.

During the opening ceremony, attendees were also introduced to the unit's emblem, which depicts the figure of a grim reaper with a delta-shaped nose. The Delta emblem has historical significance, symbolizing deep ties to the early days of the U.S. Air Force space community, as well as the various spacecraft that support the nation's war effort.

Unit Assignment

According to Master Sgt. Desiree Cabrera, chief of operations for the 75th ISRS, the creation of this new unit will affect the evolution of not only space targeting capabilities, but the entire combat capability of the U.S. military. The creation of the unit marks a dramatic shift in the approach to targeting within the joint community, particularly with respect to space and electromagnetic warfare.

The 75th ISRS is designed to analyze various aspects of an adversary's space capabilities, including potential "counterspace force threats". Counterspace forces encompass systems designed to prevent the United States from using its own satellites during a conflict. These systems range from ground-based lasers capable of disrupting optical sensors on satellites to devices equipped for signal jamming and cyberattacks targeting enemy satellite systems and attackers.

Rapid Development: Extending Programs in New Office

Additionally, the newly established Army cyber and space office aims to streamline complex efforts and enhance talent development. Christopher Green, the project management officer for cyber and space, highlighted the need for consolidation in managing cyber, information warfare, and tactical space missions. The unit's establishment acknowledges the growing demand for addressing threats from foreign adversaries like China in an evolving threat landscape.

Previously, the responsibilities were spread across multiple areas, causing challenges in execution and collaboration. By centralizing efforts under the new office, the Army intends to improve efficiency and focus. The office inherits ongoing programs, including the Rapid Cyber Development Network (RCDN), which is being extended to industry partners to accelerate development. Regular internal assessments and stakeholder engagement, including with the US Cyber Command, will help monitor progress and support activities.

Talent recruitment and retention are key priorities for the office. With a focus on fast growth and fostering a positive work culture, the office aims to attract skilled professionals, and cultivate an environment where employees are motivated to contribute to building the office's capabilities.

As reliance on space-based assets continues to grow among global militaries, encompassing communications satellites, navigation systems, and missile tracking technologies, the Space Force's efforts, along with those of other nations, will inevitably increase in their ability to control both the defensive and offensive capabilities of an adversary within orbit. Earth This strategic evolution reflects the growing recognition of space as a vital domain for future military operations.

Author: Nessa, Cyber Journalist

Source: https://www.space.com/space-force-1st-targeting-squadron

Photo: USSF/Pexels

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