Space Force unveils vision for integrated SATCOM architecture


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Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations, U.S. Space Force

Centralized management and interoperability, achieved in part via flexible user terminals, are among the keys to delivering satellite communications (SATCOM) capabilities efficiently and reliably to U.S. warfighters using a combination of commercial and government-owned satellite systems, according to the newly created U.S. Space Force.

Bringing SATCOM requirements planning and acquisition together under a single roof will help eliminate stovepipes that have created inefficiencies across this enterprise, the Space Force said in a recently released white paper outlining its future SATCOM vision. Interoperability between government and commercial systems operating in different bandwidths and orbits-will further enhance integration while enabling warfighters to stay connected in contested environments, the paper said.

Approved in January and publicly released in February, the paper “United States Space Force Vision for Satellite Communications,” offers a roadmap to a future SATCOM architecture that is ubiquitous, resilient and dynamically responsive to the immediate needs of U.S. and allied forces. Among the other capabilities it identified as necessary to getting there are full situational awareness across the SATCOM enterprise, cyber security and the ability to quickly reallocate resources in response to emergent requirements.

“In order for the United States to maintain its asymmetric advantage of global space-based communications, the SATCOM enterprise must evolve quickly,” the paper states. “We must prepare now to fight SATCOM as a single enterprise through a contested, degraded and operationally-limited (CDO) environment, prevent or withstand loss, and continue to deliver effects to warfighters.”

The vision statement comes amid a sweeping reorganization of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) space enterprise to better deal with emerging threats and requirements. A first step in that direction was the transfer of commercial SATCOM acquisition responsibility from the Defense Information Systems Agency to what is now the Space Force, which was subsequently established in legislation designed to consolidate and strengthen space capabilities across the military services.

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