VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif., -- The Space Tacticians Course (STC), hosted by Space Delta 5’s (DEL 5) 55th Combat Training Squadron (55 CTS), once again expanded its participant range to now include representatives from commercial partners during its most recent iteration here March 27-31, 2023.
This continued expansion is in line with the course’s previous iterations as the STC first introduced Five Eyes members in July of 2022 and then French Space Operators in October of 2022. Now for the first time, commercial partners – one from Maxar Technologies and another from Intelsat General.
Both companies are part of the Combined Force Space Component Command’s (CFSCC) Commercial Integration Cell (CIC), which enables operational and technology exchange between operators at the Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC) and commercial satellite owner operator partners for the purpose of real-time and near real-time information flow.
“My primary takeaway from participation in this course is that CFSCC is 100 percent committed to breaking down any barriers that exist between military and commercial entities,” said Jesse Peterson, Mission Director for Maxar Technologies. “That renewed focus on collaboration is greatly appreciated and I believe we made significant progress throughout the week, as we discussed capabilities and limitations of various organizations.”
Consisting of participants of all ranks from different branches, nations and agencies, the goal of the week-long course is to provide a wholistic approach to planning space operations by identifying current or potential barriers between participating parties, resulting in greater overall readiness for critical, real-world events.
“I feel like the unique capabilities that can be provided by the commercial partners are often overlooked by military planning cells either because they are unaware that the capability exists or because it’s not a military asset, they believe that it is either too difficult to utilize or too unsecure for their mission set,” said Jerrold Funk, Intelsat General Secure Operations Center manager. “I believe that through collaboration, we can effectively change this perspective and show that the commercial assets available to the coalition warfighter can be effectively utilized as a force multiplier to ensure mission success in this harsh and constantly evolving environment.”
The combined space trainee teams went through Space Operations Planning academics before being challenged in robust mission scenarios that required deconfliction, coordination and planning to manage specific threats and situations. Each unique perspective provided insight to different capabilities and planning methodologies, allowing for the meshing of ideas and concepts between one another.
Funk added that he was impressed by how well the Junior Guardians handled themselves and provided valuable input to the mission by often speaking up regarding a topic within their field of expertise or briefing their senior leadership.
“What influenced me the most during this course is the heightened level of understanding of the grand scheme of planning and how a mission is executed from the planning phase to the actual execution, which especially for a junior enlisted member as myself is not very common,” said U.S. Space Force Specialist Three Billy Williams, DEL 5 Electronic Warfare Analyst. “What I’ll take going forward will be the consideration of what needs to be done at each step of the mission, a more refined look at the processes within the processes and looking for ways to improve efficiency of our daily tasks.”