US military creates 'Space Mission Force' to wage satellite war

The Air Force wants to keep its "competitive advantage" in space.

If a major war ever happens, low-Earth orbit could turn into a combat zone. To that end, the US Air Force Space Command has created the "Space Mission Force" to train soldiers to operate military satellites in response to threats. "Adversaries have developed and fielded capabilities to disrupt and deny the space systems we operate on behalf of the United States and our allies," writes US General John Hyten. "Consequently, [we] must organize, train and equip our space forces in a way that maintains our vigilance."

The Air Force already has Space Command squadrons to defend and attack military satellites, but wants to jack up the number of personnel. The goal is to provide airmen with up to six months of training, then have them work four to six months with experienced Space Command personnel. "Our space forces must demonstrate their ability to react to a thinking adversary and operate as warfighters in this environment," says Hyten.

Staff Sgt. Jason Wassom, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, sits at a student station in the new Space Trainer Integrated Training Center following the ribbon cutting and official opening of the new system. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Schriever Air Force Base's Standard Space Trainer Integrated Training Center

The paper was light on the specifics of the training, but clear on the goals. Hyten said that the US military must stay ahead of potential enemies by taking a hard look at its current practices and, if necessary, overhaul its space defense systems. Two squadrons have already started training, and the space wing that mans the Air Force missile warning satellites will move over to the Space Mission Force next, year, according to Space News.