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Joint Task Force-Space Defense

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NEWS | Dec. 7, 2020

JTF-SD deputy talks space power during summit

By Jennifer Thibault Joint Task Force-Space Defense

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher Povak, deputy commander of Joint Task Force-Space Defense, spoke about how his unit supports U.S. Space Command’s mission during the Defense Strategies Institute’s seventh annual Space Resiliency Summit Dec. 3.

The two-day, virtual summit brought together senior leaders from across the national security community to discuss the policies and operations needed to ensure the safety of U.S. space-based assets and missions.

In his remarks, Povak focused on strengthening U.S. national deterrence through space warfighting options, growing awareness of space assets, establishing norms of behavior and expanding programs to bring young Americans into the space enterprise.

Additionally, he highlighted USSPACECOM’s participation in Schriever Wargames and the Global Lightning Exercise, partnered with ongoing efforts within the Commercial Integration Cell and JTF-SD’s Sprint Advanced Concepts Training as key to advancing operations.   

“We have found that engaging our interagency partners, academic institutions and commercial companies enables USSPACECOM to reach a younger generation of space-minded professionals and, in doing so, bring forward new ideas and technologies to the space defense enterprise,” Povak said. “These ideas are enabling us to identify new approaches to old problems and adapt equipment and systems intended for a singular purpose to support requirements across many domains or mission areas. This model of innovation and adaption is providing immediate gains, especially as we build new relationships in mission areas such as missile warning, missile defense and space domain awareness.”

Povak said the nation’s robust and resilient space power is a direct result of the diversity of its partners.

“USSPACECOM gains resilience not only through the flexibility of our mission systems but also through the depth of ideas and capabilities delivered by the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Space Force,” he said. “Resilience also flows from the strength of our Allies, the commitment of our inter-agency partners, the innovation of our academic institutions and the contributions from commercial industry.” 

Following his presentation, Povak fielded questions and explained how leveraging a diverse array of mission partners drives the need for nuanced communications.

“Some of the highest priority requirements we are communicating to the U.S. Space Force and our other DoD and commercial partners is: ‘how do we integrate all of this data so that one we get a holistic common operating picture of the (area of operations)?’” he said. “Also, we must be able to quickly identify, characterize and track objects to determine if they’re threatening or not and … lastly we need to communicate warning messages to a vast array of DoD, civil, allied, agency and commercial partners. It’s not just analysis and ingestion of big data, it’s also how we effectively communicate with a vast array of space faring partners.”

Big data was also discussed during a panel later in the day with Space Force Col. Scott Brodeur, National Space Defense Center director.

“The center has evolved in the last couple of years, advancing architecture and onboarding capabilities,” he said. “We are taking the 18th’s (Space Control Squadron) proven catalogue and layering in partner data to get a more complete picture at the NSDC.”

The JTF-SD SACT exercises provide the forum to work through and develop tactics, techniques and procedures as they onboard and mature partner capabilities. 

“We integrate the data into our unified protect and defend infrastructure library and work through how we communicate outward,” he said.

Additional speakers included John Hill, principal director for Space Policy from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Space Force Lt. Gen. William Liquori, deputy chief of Space Operations, Strategy, Plans, Programs, Requirements, and Analysis, U.S. Space Force, and Shawn Barnes, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration.