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U.S. Space Delta 5 extends Senior Intelligence Duty Officer training to coalition partner

  • Published
  • By Maj. Blythe Goya
  • Combined Force Space Component Command Public Affairs

Flt. Lt. Christopher Atkin, Royal Air Force space intelligence officer and Great Britain exchange officer, participated in a Senior Intelligence Duty Officer (SIDO) training course hosted by Space Delta 5 (DEL 5) on July 10-21, 2023, here.

Atkin, also serving as the Flight Commander of the Battlespace Intelligence Flight, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division (ISRD), for the (Combined Space Operations Center) CSpOC, was the first coalition partner to complete the 80-hour academic course requisite followed by 120 hours of on-the-job training.

The CSpOC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, continuously coordinating, planning, integrating, synchronizing, and executing space operations. Thus, providing tailored space effects on demand to support combatant commanders and accomplishing national security objectives.

“I am extremely grateful to be given this unique opportunity, not only to serve here at Vandenberg alongside our coalition partners, but to be trailblazing new ground for the combined space effort,” expressed Atkin.

The course was restructured to include lesson plans taught by subject matter experts (SMEs) on topics geared to teach the fundamentals for all SIDOs and tailored to accommodate coalition participants such as Atkin. The end-state is to train and equip its intelligence officers with the acute skill and knowledge to swiftly address real world situations as they arise.

“The SIDOs have a big job on the operations floor, and the value they add is priceless,” stressed 1st Lt. Linn Guinn, DEL 5 Flight Commander, ISRD Training, and instructor of the SIDO course. “They offer the ability to anticipate and assess adversarial activities in order to be more pro-active rather than reactive, plan for contingencies, or mitigate impact to U.S. and coalition partners performing real-world operations across the globe.” 

The SIDO and IDO support the command and control (C2) of space forces to achieve theater and global objectives, providing cross-functional support and coordination both within the operational command and externally with allies and partners. They inject intelligence and context into space events, which include anti-satellite testing, on-orbit spacecraft maneuvers, ballistic missile launches, electromagnetic interference, and monitor indicators and warnings for adversary launch activities.

“The U.S. intelligence community as a whole can be quite restrictive with classifications and that restricted sharing with our Five Eyes (FVEY) partners has presented challenges that also include coalition members,” explained Guinn. “However, we have adjusted the lesson plans and repositioned the course schedule to accommodate Flt. Lt. Atkin.”

Despite those challenges, Atkin sees the future of data sharing progressing in the right direction.

“As the first foreign student, I have encountered obstacles surrounding classifications and system access, but the ultimate reward is breaking through those barriers and paving the way for future coalition SIDOs through the development of combined space operations in support of Operation Olympic Defender,” emphasized Atkin. “Space is an increasingly complex and encompassing domain where awareness is paramount; it is better to be a part of a coalition of nations with similar ideals working towards the same goal of promoting a safe and secure space environment!”