1st Space Brigade Commander Col. Donald Brooks said forces on the ground are often unaware of their reliance on satellites for all aspects of their operations.
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Without satellites in space, military forces on the ground cannot shoot, move, or communicate. This is the mantra that the Army’s 1st Space Brigade tries to instill in troops around the world.
“We step in and we help educate,” Brigade Commander Col. Donald Brooks said.
Based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, the Army’s 1st Space Brigade is part of the United States Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command. It was established in 2005 in response to the military’s increasing use of satellites and ground stations for combat operations. Many of its nearly 2,000 troops are deployed in 11 countries.
During deployments, members of the brigade monitor the health of satellites in orbit. They also help commanders analyze data from missile satellites and other space-based intelligence such as imagery.
Brooks, who took command of the brigade in March, said people are often surprised he is an Army officer and assume he is in the Space Force.
“I am asked every day if I am a guardian,” he said News on the sidelines of the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
There is a bit of confusion about military space organizations and what each of them does, Brooks said. He noticed that many people don’t know the difference between Space Force (a military branch) and Space Command (a combat command).
“We’re still educating, and that’s great,” Brooks said.
“Space helps war organizations be more effective and efficient in their ability to fire, move and communicate,” Brooks said. It’s part of what Space Brigade units teach when working with other units in the U.S. Army.
Forces on the ground are often unaware of how much they depend on satellites for every aspect of their operations, and they are surprised to learn that enemies will intentionally jam or disrupt satellite signals, he said. Without a global positioning system, artillery guns cannot fire their precisely guided ammunition, and maneuvering formations cannot determine their location.
“We help them alleviate the way of fighting in denied environments,” Brooks said. “We let them know that, for example, if you are a maneuvering force and you get interference, you get behind a vehicle, go dig a hole and put your receiver in the hole, because that jammer must have line of sight. sight to the target.
“If you can break that line of sight, you can re-acquire GPS and you can re-acquire your navigation,” he said.
Brooks said the 1st Space Brigade remains in the military, although other army units that operate communications satellites are transferred to the space force.
The units transferred to the Space Force are part of the Army Satellite Operations Brigade, which is also part of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command. The Satellite Operations Brigade controls the payloads of Wideband Global Satcom and other military communications satellites.
Brooks said the 1st Space Brigade was not realigned due to its unique role. “One of the advantages of this brigade is that we don’t just focus on the military. We really support the army, navy, air force, navies, as well as the coalition and our partner countries. “
This month, the 1st Space Brigade will begin training Marines on how the military uses space capabilities to support fighters.
Marines from the new Marine Corps Forces Space Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, will train at the Colorado Springs Space and Missile Defense School. The training will include situational awareness of space capabilities, space assets, space products and the impact of space on operations.