SPACE - INTEGRATING NATO'S NEWEST DOMAIN AT THE TACTICAL LEVEL
The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) has been incorporating NATO's newest domain, Space, into exercise Loyal Leda 2020.
Here on exercise, we are learning about what Space means specifically for the tactical war fighter
FAIRFORD, Gloucestershire. In 2019, NATO declared 'Space' their newest operational domain and recognised the growing importance of Space to the Alliance's defence and deterrence, with the majority of military operations heavily reliant on space systems. Fast-forward one year and the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is being evaluated during exercise Loyal Leda 2020, in complex operations against a peer adversary and including space aspects. This is the first time space operations have been incorporated into an Allied Land-focussed exercise at the tactical level. This will align the Corps with NATO's approach to space and ensure the right support to operations and missions in such areas as communications, navigation and intelligence. Through the use of Space satellites, Allies and NATO can respond to crises with greater speed, effectiveness and precision.
The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps' Air Operations Coordination Centre (AOCC), established an an experimental Space Support Coordination Element, to provide Space subject matter expertise and advice to ARRC Commanders. (Photo by Staff Sergeant Elvis Umanzor, HQ ARRC)
Major Luke Reardon, space support subject matter expert from the ARRC's Air Operations Coordination Centre (AOCC) explained, "NATO is focussed on fusing national data and products to provide space domain awareness to commanders and integrating space into our operational planning. Here on exercise, we are learning about what Space means specifically for the tactical warfighter.
"The combat readiness evaluation of ARRC on exercise Loyal Leda 2020, has given us the opportunity to establish the linkages between the NATO Space Centre and the corps headquarters at the ARRC."
A lot of ingenuity and innovation were required to make this happen in the first instance, especially within a multinational environment and exercise control support from four different locations, in a COVID-dispersed setup
To incorporate space into the headquarters DNA, an experimental Space Support Coordination Element (SpSCE) has been organically established and distributed through the exercises' deployed command posts. This space element is monitoring threats from space, in space and to space, in what is expected to be a Denied, Degraded and Disrupted Space Operational Environment (D3SOE). They also ensure information is flowing to the right agencies and request support from nations that provide space capabilities.
"Close co-ordination, synchronisation and timing is key for all of this to take place. Regarding space services we require on the ground, whether it be from a satellite connection enabling surface fires, the ability to call in close air support delivering precision guided munitions, the tracking of friendly forces, logistics supply chain management or secure communications between command and control assets – space is what enables that link in all instances.