Fight’s On!

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Charles Sandusky
  • 7th Space Warning Squadron

“Fight’s on!” This is the rallying cry for the space enterprise. Whether it is at the strategic level with the drive to develop a separate Space Force or at the unit level with a focus on threat-based, intelligence-driven mission planning, we have not seen the same national imperative to maintain superiority in the space domain since President Kennedy’s “moon speech” in 1961. At that time, we had a whole-of-government approach that was committed to making space a policy and budgetary priority to defend the nation from a real threat. I argue that we have the same confluence now – a real threat in the space domain and a political and budgetary focus on the importance of space superiority. 

The 21st Space Wing is at the front edge of this fight, and our operators are working hard to maintain and build necessary combat readiness to meet and defeat threats in all orbital regimes. Combat readiness relies on a bedrock of predictive and actionable information to defend and protect against any threat we face across the space domain. The goal is to ensure our nation’s leaders and allies have a clear space domain picture. The ability to develop and maintain a clear space domain picture allows us to fight through the fog and friction inherent in the space environment. 

However, a clear space domain picture does not happen by accident; our operators build combat readiness with adversary-focused, threat-based advanced training. This approach gives us an edge over our adversaries, and creates operators who are disciplined, creative and aggressive. 

We put this to the test when our team joined the fight with the National Space Defense Center in the first global exercise that synchronized efforts across the 21st SW’s radar network to feed on-orbit adversary detection and characterization data to the NSDC. This effort reinforced the notion that unity of effort is needed to protect and defend our nation’s space assets. Following this exercise, senior leaders further understood the space domain picture, proving we are poised to take and maintain space superiority.

The future for the 21st SW is exciting as we bring even more capability to the fight. At 7th Space Warning Squadron, we are partnering with the Missile Defense Agency to add two new radars to our command and control responsibility in the near future. The first is the Long Range Discriminating Radar. This radar will provide more refined midcourse guidance for missile defense interceptors. It will also help clarify our picture of the space domain with refined space track capabilities. Next, the Homeland Defense Radar will provide additional missile defense capability along with added space track functionality. 

While capability growth is critical and modernization is needed, the real keys to success are the enlisted and commissioned operators who are the humans in the loop. Our Airmen enable operations, spur innovation and assure space superiority to defend the homeland and our allies.  Fight’s on!