Chapter 4: Maturing of the Navy's Space-Based Tactical Support, 1980-1996
The 1980, began a period of remarkable transformation within the U.S. Department of Defense and each of the services. The post Vietnam denigration of things military was reversed by dramatic international events such as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the overrunning of the U.S. Embassy and taking of U.S. citizens as hostages by Iran. On the national scene, the inauguration of President Reagan, an outspoken supporter of a strong military, led to dramatically in eased defense budgets. As part of the Reagan administration, a controversial but dynamic new Secretary of the Navy, Mr. John Lehman, began to inject a new sense of purpose and vitality into the fleet. In 1981, Sixth Fleet F-14 fighters shot down two Libyan aircraft hat threatened U.S. units exercising "freedom of navigation" right on the Gulf of Sidra. In 1982, Second Fleet units were the spearpoint of the invasion of Grenada, a powerful slap at Cuban expansionism. While the participants in these events could not know they were witnessing the beginning of the Soviet Union's death spiral, and the end of the Cold War which had driven U.S. military priorities for four decades, it was during the 1980s that a fundamental shift began-away the preeminence of strategic priorities for use of space assets, toward a balanced approach that considered tactical requirements equally valid.
4.1 Navy organizational changes
In 1981, the CNO created the Navy Space Systems Division (OP943) and assigned as its first Director, Rear Admiral Bill Ramsey (a post-battle group commander), to consolidate sponsorship and oversight for all Navy space programs. Also in 1981, the Navy authorized a Space Subspecialty Code for officers with significant experience in the management or operation of space programs. In 1982, the Naval Postgraduate School established two new space curricula: one in engineering and one in operations. And finally, in 1983, the Secretary of the Navy announced the formation of a Naval Space Command.
Along with these changes, in 1983, all Navy space systems development and acquisition was consolidated under the Navy Space Project Office (PME-106).
As these changes began to take hold, two final adjustments were made, in 1987, when the Navy Electronic Systems Command was renamed the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and OP-094 was redesignated the Space, Command and Control, and Electronic Warfare directorate.
4.2 Evolution of tactical requirements for satellite surveillance in support of over-the-horizon targeting
At the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, leaders in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union were shaken by the realization of how close they had come to the brink of nuclear conflict. [Note: Just how close was not revealed until the mid-1990s when post-Cold War meetings of participants from both sides revealed the Soviets' had delegated nuclear release authority to the local Soviet commander in Cuba.] One of the practical effects of this experience in nuclear brinkmanship was an agreement on 20 January 1963 to establish a "hot line" between Moscow and Washington to improve communications between leaders during periods of crisis.
On another level, however, the Soviet loss of face during the Cuban Missile Crisis led to a massive build-up in Soviet naval forces. By the early 1970s, this build-up was evident in increasing Soviet navy deployments, in strength, in the Mediterranean, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean. To the U.S. Navy's surprise, the Soviet anti-ship cruise missile threat, supported by a seemingly well-integrated ocean surveillance system, provided a threat U.S. units were not prepared to counter.
One of the first U.S. Navy responses to Soviet anti-ship missiles (beyond defensive countermeasures such as jamming and char was introduction of the HARPOON missile. The HARPOON did not have the range of most Soviet anti-ship missiles but did have one important attribute: the HARPOON'S maximum effective combat range was within the detection, tracking, and targeting ranges of several types of organic surveillance resources.
In the early 1970s, Admiral Zumwalt, CNO, directed his staff to examine the feasibility of developing an anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk land attack cruise missile being developed by the Navy-led Joint Cruise Missile Program Office. While a TOMAHAWK Anti-Ship Missile (TASM) would have a greater range than any Soviet anti-ship missile, it also presented a serious challenge in terms of developing adequate targeting information- "adequate" both in terms of locating a target and assuring non-hostile ships would not be attacked unintentionally.
As the TASM development effort got underway in the mid-1970s, a dedicated but surprisingly informal effort was begun to unravel the complexities of the over-the-horizon targeting (OTH-T) problem. These efforts began with an investigation of the capabilities and limitations of the following surveillance resources:
- Land and Sea-based patrol aircraft. These aircraft were capable of both "eyes-on-target" and stand-off surveillance (using radar and/or SIGINT systems).
- Underwater acoustic arrays. U.S. Navy SOSUS capabilities against Soviet submarines also had potential for application against surface units.
These informal investigations were brought into sharp focus in 1976 when Congress gave the Navy one year in which to develop a solution for targeting TASM, or have the program cancelled. In October 1977, the Navy provided to Congress a response that kept the program alive but which was sparse on specifics. The Navy's concept for OTH-T was based on four elements:
- Use of both aircraft and satellite surveillance, working together in some unspecified fashion.
- Employment of multi-source correlation techniques such as chose tested informally as part of the OUTLAW SHARK effort.
- Deployment of a radar satellite (CLIPPER BOW).
- Creation of an office tasked specifically to focus on tactics development and evolution relating to OTH-T (PME-108).
The efforts of these organizations, on behalf of PME-108, were coordinated by Capt Bill Smith, who reported to RADM Shaeffer.
This team came up with a revolutionary (and, of course, controversial) approach to the OTH-T problem, which became known as "sensor-to-shooter." The revolutionary part of their idea was the notion of sending raw (or nearly raw) data from surveillance sensors, directly to units at sea. Their concept included providing fleet units with a capability to automatically (or semi-automatically) correlate data from several sources, in near-real-time, to produce targeting information. The controversial element of the concept was that the Navy's Ocean Surveillance Information System (OSIS) would be bypassed. It was the team's assessment that: (1) only a sensor-to-shooter approach would achieve the timeliness required to achieve a targeting solution; and (2) OUTLAW SHARK demonstrations proved that afloat correlation was feasible.
Tests of the sensor-to-shooter concept were conducted in 1978 and were judged to have been promising enough that a formal OUTLAW SHARK program was established under the auspices of PME108, with the support of the joint Cruise Missile Project Office. The OUTLAW SHARK program was, however, terminated in 1980, as a result of three factors: (1) OUTLAW SHARK became prohibitively expensive once it transitioned from project to program status; (2) this program tan into major conflicts with other formal efforts, such as OSIS, TOMAHAWK Weapons Control Station, and Tactical Flag Command Center; and (3) two of the most enthusiastic supporters of the program left the effort (Capt Best because of transfer, and Capt Smith because of a disabling automobile accident).
4.3 Validating tactical surveillance & targeting requirements for the national community
4.3.1 The ELINT requirements (Kissin) study, 1977
- Ocean-surveillance: detection and tracking of ships.
- Anti-ship targeting.
- Aircraft tracking..
- Bomber early warning.
- Targeting against land mobile weapons.
- Naval gunfire targeting support.
4.3.2 ELINT system capabilities study
4.3.3 The ELINT mix study (ELMS), 1978
There were also doubts within the Navy as to whether, in time of war, high-level authorities would preempt satellite assets and divert them to higher-priority national and strategic military requirements. Still others in the Navy were concerned that funding for expensive satellite systems would come out of the Navy's funding for competing surface, submarine and aircraft surveillance programs.
4.4 Direct tactical reporting
4.4.1 The TADIXS-B broadcast
4.4.2 Tactical receive equipments (TREs)
When the Navy leadership was briefed by on the TADIXS-B broadcast concept, RADM Bill Ramsey, Director, Navy Space Systems Division (OP-943), laid down some basic precepts for the TADIXS-B terminals:
- For Navy applications, the terminals were to incorporate:
- no new display equipment (because submarines have no room for them).
-no new radio antennas (because Navy surface ships have little additional mast space for them, and cable runs from (new) antennas to user's equipment spaces are costly).
-no additional personnel, either to maintain or to operate the equipment (because submarines and most surface combatants had no room for berthing additional personnel).
- The terminals design should make provisions to accommodate Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps tactical users' requirements.
- The receivers should be designed to receive both the TADIXS-B broadcast and the direct tactical downlink.
The receive terminals designed in response to this guidance consisted simply of: a UHF satellite communications radio; an antenna; a decryptor; and a data processor (to filter the downlink messages by geographical area and contact type, and to reformat the tactical downlink messages for the user's tactical data display systems). This so-called Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) had multiple outputs to accommodate different types of tactical displays in each platform. The Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) was also designed to allow each of the tactical users to select independently the geographic areas and the types of contacts to be delivered to his display.
In 1988, an engineering development model of the Tactical Receive Equipment underwent successful operational evaluation by the Navy's Operational Test and Evaluation Force (OPTEVFOR). Funding was then programmed for Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) installations in more than 300 Navy surface ships and submarines.
The Navy's decision to pursue a narrow; single-choice acquisition of the Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) forced the other services into separate acquisition efforts [Note: The difficulty experienced in handing off Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) acquisition from Program C, nominally PME 106, to the "real" SPAWAR provides some insight into the lack of a firm working relationship between the organizations, which separately represented "black" and "white" Navy.]:
- Air Force procured and fielded 250 TRFs (called CONSTANT SOURCE) based on the NOSC developed Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE)-EDM design.
- Army Space Project Office (ASPO) incorporated the modules from the Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE)-EDM into a new, multichannel SUCCESS radio to equip vans used by Army ground forces.
- ASPO also developed a new Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE)-like system, the "Command Tactical Terminal," and procured 250 of them for Patriot missile, artillery, and Army aviation commands.
When SPAWAR was given the responsibility for acquiring Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE)'s for the fleet, in 1988, the task represented a new start for which no program funds were appropriated. SPAWAR began its effort with a review of the NOSC EDM design and elected to upgrade NOSC's rapidly-prototyped EDM to a more state-of-the-art production model. SPAWAR funds were diverted to this effort and appropriate "wedges" were inserted in future budgets, by OP-094, to pay for acquisition and deployment of operational Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE)s. Two events conspired to undermine this plan: (1) The contractor selected to develop the Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) was unable to meet specifications (whether insufficient funding or poor SPAWAR oversight, or both, were the major contributing factors is still a subject of debate); and (2) the programmed acquisition funds were taken in 1991 as part of a Navy effort to pay for the casts of Desert Storm. SPAWAR stopped efforts to develop a Tactical Receive Equipment (TRE) in 1991. The fleet continued to get by using NOSC EDMs (with cross-decking between deploying ships) until a decision was made in 1995 to acquire Army CTTs to replace seriously aging EDMs. In 1996, a number of MATTs were obtained for fleet flagships and one carrier battlegroup.
4.5 Tactical data correlation and displays
Just as the Navy was a leader in developing capabilities for near-real-time delivery of information collected by satellites to tactical users, Navy personnel were directly responsible for developing tools to assist fleet and joint users in correlating and using this information.
The development of the OUTLAW SHARK terminal as a means of correlating and displaying over-the-horizon targeting data was described earlier. OUTLAW SHARK worked, but the Lockheed/Tiburon-developed system was hosted on a large, heavy computer terminal and its proprietary software was both difficult and expensive to modify. When the Outlaw Shark program was terminated, the track-correlation algorithms it employed for using the Classic Wizard data were supposed to transition to the Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TWCS), Tactical Flag Command Center (TFCC), CCS Mark I in submarines, and OSIS Baseline Upgrade (OBU) at land-based centers, but this transfer never took place.
4.6.1 Navy ITSS (integrated tactical surveillance system)
In 1980, the Navy commissioned an Integrated Tactical Surveillance System (ITSS) study under the auspices of CNO/OP-094, Director, Command, Control, and Communications. This $30 million dollar effort engaged several of the largest U.S. aerospace firms in a two-year examination of potential technological solutions to U.S. Navy requirements in air defense against Soviet bombers and over-the-horizon targeting.
4.6.2 Space-based wide-area surveillance (SBWAS) program
18.104.22.168 The Air Force "joint" space-based radar
In the Navy's view, there were several deficiencies in the Air Force proposals:
- The set of common user requirements was so large that the radar would be a priority-tasked system, meeting the needs of only a small number of users at any one time.
- There would be no capability to classify ships.
- A new, separate, and costly processing and reporting architecture would have to be constructed to support the Joint SBR and disseminate its product (instead of using the existing NRO architecture as proposed by the Navy SBR/IR).
- The Navy would have to pay more, for just part of the Air Force's Joint SBR, than for the total cost of the Navy-proposed SBR/IR.
22.214.171.124 Disposition of SBWAS
The Navy put funds for the IR experiments in POM-92, but, later in 1990, in recognition of the changing military picture vis-à-vis the Soviets, Congress terminated all funding for the SBWAS program. The demise of the SBWAS concept brought an end to nearly threedecades of Navy advocacy of non-SIGINT, space-based surveillance systems capable of detecting and tracking ships and aircraft.
4.7 Refining Navy satellite communications
Providing satellite communications for the fleet has never been a smooth process. A major stumbling block was the repeated strain in the relationship between the Navy and Air Force over "ownership" of satellite programs, much of which has been described in previous sections (See section 3.3.4). In simple terms, the Navy was frequently on the leading edge of technological and tactical innovation, and was willing to develop communications satellites to meet fleet requirements. The Air Force, protective of its prerogatives as the DOD lead for space systems, felt compelled, therefore, to transform each satellite project into a "joint' system which could satisfy most or all DOD requirements. Large, joint DOD programs generally became bogged down, a situation the Navy found frustrating when the fleet was clamoring for support.
The Air Force contract for the Fleet Satellite Communications (FLTSATCOM) system was signed in 1972, with an expectation of initial launch in the mid-1970s. When the FLTSAT program began to slip in terms of schedule and grow in terms of cost (primarily due to the many additional users who wanted channels), the Navy sought permission to make interim arrangements. When authorization was given by DOD and Congress, the Navy leased UHF communications channels on an existing MARISAT commercial satellite system. This "Gapfiller" service began in 1976.
The first FLTSAT was launched in 1978 and a full constellation of four satellites achieved operational status in 1980.
As the value of UHF satellite communications to tactical forces became apparent, demand for expanded service grew much faster than the FLTSAT program could provide. The Navy sought permission to attempt a particularly innovative concept of purchasing UHF satellites on a "turnkey" basis. This approach to satellite acquisition required a commercial vendor to accept a fixed-price contract to deliver to DOD, already in orbit, fully-tested UHF communications satellites. Congress liked the idea and authorized the Navy to proceed.
The Navy signed a contract with Hughes for five LEASATs in 1978. The first LEASAT was placed in orbit in 1984. The wisdom of the Navy's turn-key concept became apparent in April 1985 when LEASAT #3 failed to power-up after being deployed from the Shuttle bay. Hughes bore the entire cost of a NASA repair mission in August 1985, which activated the satellite successfully. An even more dramatic confirmation of the Navy's foresight came with the launch of LEASAT #4, which failed eight days after deployment.
The next generation of fleet tactical communications, satellites was designated the UHF Follow-0n (UFO) series. Because of the success of LEASAT, Navy was assigned responsibility for acquiring the UFO system. A contract was signed with Hughes in 1988 which (with options) will provide ten UFO satellites. UFO #1 did not achieve its proper orbit in 1993 but UFO's #2-#6 were launched successfully. UFO's #7-#10 are scheduled for launch in 1997-99.
4.7.1 SHF and EHF communications for the fleet
The major DOD satellite communications system acquired by the Air Force was the super-high frequency (SHF) Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS). As has been mentioned earlier, the large, stabilized, tracking antennas required for DSCS were a problem for the Navy. Dining the late 1980s, and much accelerated by lessons learned during DESERT STORM, the Navy began to deploy DSCS terminals to the fleet. At the time of this writing, Navy plans are to install highly capable DSCS systems in 37 large ships (including flag ships, aircraft carriers, and amphibious ships).
The Navy also has had a continuing interest in extremely-high frequency (EHF) satellite communications for selected fleet applications (with specific emphasis on the term "selected"). EHF antennas are small, making them suitable for a wide range of Navy applications, including extendible masts or periscope mounts for submarines. Tight uplink and downlink "beams" for EHF communications provide a high degree of resistance to jamming and low probability of enemy intercept. On the negative side, highly focused EHF downlinks require, the satellite operator to know fairly precisely where the receiving unit is located, a problem when dealing with moving fleet units.
When the Navy proposed to augment planned UHF communication: satellites with EHF capabilities in the early 1970s, the Air Force fought hard to take control of the program (as discussed in an earlier chapter). The MILSTAR program began, under Air Force management, in 1974. In the two decades before the first MILSTAR launch on 1994, the Navy sought alternative approaches to an interim fleet EHF support capability. Using concepts (and equipment) developed at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, the Navy created Fleet EHF Packages (FEP) for installation as test payloads on FLTSAT's 6 (launched in 1986 and 7 (launched in 1987). This successful effort resulted in authorization by Congress and DOD for the Navy to put FEP on FLTSAT's 8 and 9 and UFO's 1 through 4. At the time of this writing, the Navy plans to install EHF systems on approximately 200 ships, including all submarines.
COMCRUDESGU ONE, embarked in USS Constellation, will command the first "all-EHF capable" Navy battlegroup in the spring of 1997. For the first time, all the ships (including surface units and submarines) of this battlegroup will be tied together via an EHF network controlled by the battlegroup commander.
4.7.2 Current status of MILSTAR
With the end of the Cold War and the reduction (but not elimination) of emphasis on nuclear survivability, Air Force interest in sustaining Milstar as a program diminished. In the early 1990s, the Air Force attempted to cancel the program but both the Army and Navy resisted this effort, for the following principal reasons:
- The Army had made a significant investment in Milstar ground terminals, particularly to support large "trunking" systems needed at the Corps and Echelon-Above-Corp level.
- The Navy had been forced to forgo all other Arctic satellite communications capabilities because of the Milstar high-elliptical component and had no other option for communicating with forces at northern latitudes. [Note: Both Commander-inChief, U.S. Atlantic Command and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Command strongly supported high-latitude communications requirements as well.]
The currently approved MILSTAR constellation comprises six satellites. The first two satellites were launched in February 1994 and November 1995 respectively. Future launches are planned well into the next century but the high cost of the system, on the order of $20 billion over the life of the system from this point onward, may cause changes in future plans.
4.7.3 Exploitation of commercial satellite communications
The Navy decision to host tactical communications on commercial MARISAT satellites in 1976 was only the first initiative to incorporate commercial satellites into Navy operations.
Fleet after-action reports from DESERT STORM were especially critical of the lack of high-capacity satellite communications specifically dedicated to fleet support. DSCS had significant capacity, but competition for communications resources often left Navy units short of needed access.
At this point, Lieutenant Commander John Heating reported for duty on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Space Systems Division (N63). Lieutenant Commander Hearing had recently completed a Naval Postgraduate School Masters Degree thesis on potential military uses of commercial satellite communications and believed his ideas might solve the problem of disseminating satellite images (one of the larger data files sought by fleet users) to selected fleet units.
With the approval of Captain Ed Enterline, Director, Navy Space Systems Division (N63), and the endorsement of Vice Admiral Jerry Tuttle, Director, Space and Electronic Warfare (N6), Lieutenant Commander Hearing proceeded with Project Vista, which was shortly thereafter renamed Challenge Athena. Challenge Athena was based on a concept for using commercial C-Band satellite communications to deliver primary satellite imagery from a U.S. location to a deployed aircraft carrier in near-real-time (i.e., images literally only hours old). One price for this speed in delivery was that the images would be delivered "raw," without having been examined by an imagery analyst.
Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet agreed to sponsor a Challenge Athena demonstration and designated USS George Washington (CVN-73) as the test ship. A portable commercial C-Band receive antenna was placed aboard the Washington and a successful test was conducted in the Puerto Rican Operating Area in September 1992. During this test, the data rate achieved was double that required for a successful demonstration (i.e., in engineering terms, the test achieved a data throughput of "T-1", or 1,544 million bits per second-the highest rate of data delivery to a Navy combat ship at sea up to that time).
A second demonstration, involving an entire deployment, was immediately authorized under the name Challenge Athena II. For this demonstration, a full duplex (i.e., transmit and receive) antenna was installed on a sponson on the George Washington. Challenge Athena II provided George Washington the following services: (a) a dedicated path by which to receive primary satellite imagery; (b) a means for sending medical x-rays to Bethesda Naval Hospital for consultations; (c) 24 encrypted official telephone circuits; and (d) eight pay phones for the crew.
The Challenge Athena II demonstration began during the George Washington battle group's FLEET'EX in March 1994 and continued through November of that year. During this period, the ship's intelligence center received more than 6,600 satellite images. Challenge Athena was a stunning technical achievement. The ready availability of current intelligence information meant that a Navy Battle Force Commander was now in a position to both receive and disseminate National imagery and other intelligence and operational information at the high volume levels of shore-based joint Task Force Commanders.
George Washington has recently received the first installation of the Tomahawk Afloat Planning System, which can support either missile or air strikes if adequate, high-quality imagery is available. George Washington sailed with this planning system and Challenge Athena to support operations in Bosnia in January 1996.
Challenge Athena has been upgraded to a formal program and is planned for installation in fleet flagships, aircraft carriers, and large amphibious ships. The operational version of Challenge Athena supports secure video teleconferencing as well as the previously demonstrated communications.
INMARSAT is a world-wide, commercial telephone system based on satellites. INMARSAT is used widely by businesses, exploring parties, disaster relief agencies, and other groups requiring global access from remote areas. The Navy began installing INMARSAT in fleet ships in the late 1980s at the direction of VADM Jerry Tuttle, Director, Space and Electronic Warfare (OP 094). INMARSAT does not provide the data throughput capacity of Challenge Athena, and is fairly expensive on a per-minute basis, but does provide each ship (not just large decks) with an alternative, non-preemptable communications path for essential ship's business.
In 1994, VADM Tuttle, received a briefing on new developments in satellite Direct Broadcast Service (DBS). DBS is a commercial venture intended to compete with cable television by using high-powered satellite transponders to beam television signals directly to 18-inch antennas on the ground. VADM Turtle asked Navy TENCAP (CNO/N632) to investigate the potential applications of this technology to deliver video and large databases to ships at sea. In November 1994, Navy TENCAP sponsored a technical test of DBS technology at the Navy Command and Control Ocean Systems Center R&D facility (NRaD) in San Diego, with the assistance of the NRO's Operational Support Office. The test was exceptionally successful and led directly to an operational demonstration as part of JCS TENCAP Special Project 95 (NIGHT VECTOR) during exercise ROVING SANDS 95.
During the ROVING SANDS demonstration, DBS passed continuous live video from Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (employing visual and infrared sensors) to Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps elements under the Commander, U.S. Central Command. Navy TENCAP sponsored this demonstration with the assistance of the Air Force Space Warfare Center and the Operational Support Office. The demonstration was successful and was followed by an even mare ambitious effort as part of the joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration 95. For this demonstration, Navy TENCAP, the Operational Support Office, and SPAWAR cooperated to install a DBS antenna in USS Lake Champlain, an Aegis cruiser. DBS was used to send both Air Tasking Orders and Tomahawk Mission Updates to Lake Champlain in seconds, rather than the tens of minutes to hours required using existing fleet communications systems.
In 1995, joint service enthusiasm for DBS became so widespread that the technology, under the name Global Broadcast Service (GBS), was approved for DOD acquisition. It was not possible to lease commercial DBS resources because there is no profit in beaming television to the open ocean and DBS covers the continental U.S. only.
The Navy proposed to put GBS transponders on UHF Follow-0n Satellites 8, 9, and 10 as a quick means for initiating widespread military service. Hughes Aerospace Corporation manufactures both the UFO and DBS satellites and a low-risk, low-cost approach seemed feasible. Navy was authorized to proceed with this proposal and a contract was signed with Hughes in February 1996.
In 1996, the Navy, Air Force, and NRO each proposed to assume responsibility for management of a joint operational GBS capability for DOD. At a Joint Requirements Oversight Committee (JROC) meeting on GBS, the Air Force was designated the lead service for CBS when they volunteered to pay for the system. Although GBS will be acquired by the Air Force, Navy Captain Joe Delpino was named as the first program manager in accordance with DOD efforts to foster "jointness" in military space systems acquisition.
During the fall of 1995, Navy TENCAP, the Operational Support Office, and the Advanced Research Project Agency cooperated in developing a prototype GBS (called the joint Broadcast Service) in support of operations in Bosnia. As part of this effort, GBS systems were installed in USS George Washington, USS Guam, and USS Sage Jacinto. The first at-sea demonstration of this hastily installed equipment involved live transmission of Super Bowl XXX to the three ships as they were enroute to the Mediterranean.
4.8 Tactical exploitation of satellite imagery by the Navy
As satellite imagery became more readily available for areas of the world other than the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Fleet Intelligence Centers began to prepare packages of "hard copy" imagery (i.e., photographs and transparencies) for delivery to Navy battle groups prior to deployment. Selection of the satellite images was based on the theater to which the battle group was scheduled to deploy, and potential contingency operations within the theater. There was, however, no assurance that a particular target would be covered in the photographs, and no procedure for updating the deployment package other than by courier.
The flexibility and responsiveness of Navy operations to unforeseen problems often left fleet strike planners without the imagery required until tactical reconnaissance assets (e.g., RF-8 or F-14 TARPS aircraft) could be brought to bear.
4.8.1 Fleet Imagery Support Terminal (FIST)
The first effort to resolve this problem began in the early 1980s with the development of the Fleet Imagery Support Terminal (FIST), based on an Imagery Support Terminal built jointly by the Air Force and NRO. FIST was put aboard aircraft carriers and large amphibious ships, which could then receive transmissions of satellite imagery from Fleet Intelligence Centers via UHF satellite communications during pre-scheduled time slots each day.
FIST was a good first effort but never truly met the fleet's needs, for the following reasons:
- The product sent to FIST was known as "secondary imagery." Primary imagery was the original quality provided by the satellite sensor. Secondary imagery was cropped from the original image and had fewer shades of gray, as a means of reducing the digital image file to a manageable size. In technical terms, FIST secondary images contained 512 by 512 pixels (picture elements). [Note: Secondary imagery was also classified SECRET, while primary imagery was handled only in special security channels.]
- If a photograph had to be digitized (i.e., scanned) before transmission from the Fleet Intelligence Center, resolution and contrast were degraded during the process.
- The UHF data transmissions were painfully slow and large portions of image files were often lost when the data flow was interrupted by communications difficulties (such as another unit transmitting during the prearranged FIST time slot). Two or three usable FIST images per day were considered good output.
- The area captured in the cropped 512 by 512 pixel images was small, generally covering the specific target but not the surrounding terrain, information needed by pilots to orient themselves rapidly as they approached a target under fire.
- When the received FIST image was printed aboard ship, an additional reduction in resolution and contrast occurred.
FIST was an erratic performer during DESERT STORM, largely because of conflicting priorities for use of scarce UHF satellite channels. Fleet units relied principally on couriers to deliver imagery products used for mission planning.
4.8.2 Other efforts at imagery dissemination
In the late 1980s, the Navy also began to install Top Scene systems aboard aircraft carriers. This system was loaded with a database that combined high-quality satellite imagery with Digital Terrain Elevation Data provided to the Navy by the Defense Mapping Agency: Top Scene permitted strike planners to "rehearse" their missions by "flying" through three-dimensional depictions of their intended strike routes. Top Scene worked only on pre-stored data, however, and priority was given to creating databases for those areas where the fleet deployed most frequently.
U.S. Carrier Battle Groups participating in Operations DESERT SHIELD and STORM did not have Top Scene databases for Kuwait or Iraq and were, therefore, unable to make use of this system during the conflict.
[Note: This situation was approximately the same for all the services at the tactical unit level, giving rise to much undeserved criticism of the national intelligence community. Satellite imagery was readily available but the services had not developed adequate dissemination systems.]
The period immediately following DESERT STORM saw a flurry of activity within the Navy and the other services to correct the imagery dissemination problem.
The first Navy steps were taken by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and the East Coast Navy In-Service Engineering Center. These efforts, in a three-step process, focused on FIST and the new Joint Intelligence Centers (JICs) which were replacing individual service intelligence centers:
- Step #1. JICs were provided a capability to select 1024 by 1024 pixel images (four times larger than previously) from "on-line" computer imagery databases and to inject digital images directly into communications without the quality-reducing printing and digitizing processes.
- Step #2. FIST was upgraded to handle the larger 1024 pixel images and better quality printers were put aboard FIST-equipped ships.
- Step #3. Efforts to install high-speed SHF Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) capability aboard aircraft carriers and large amphibious ships were accelerated.
In 1992, during exercise Tandem Thrust 92. SPAWAR and Navy TENCAP sponsored an operational demonstration of these new capabilities under the project name Radiant Cirrus II. During the two weeks of this exercise, JICPAC sent approximately 500 images (1024 by 1024 pixels each) to Commander, Third Fleet, embarked in USS Coronado (AGF-11). This demonstration revealed another problem, however, as fleet analysts and planners could not digest the flood of imagery they were now receiving.
Because even the accelerated installation of SHF satellite communications was not meeting immediate fleet needs, other efforts were begun to improve dissemination of high-quality satellite imagery to fleet units. In 1991, a joint demonstration by Navy TENCAP; SPAWAR; Naval Avionics Facility, Indianapolis; and the NRO's Systems Applications Office (SAPO), under the project name Radiant Cirrus, explored the potential for using existing AN/SMQ-11 S-Band weather antennas as a means for sending satellite imagery to ships. This test included a Low-Volume Receive Location processor that permitted USS Mt. Whitney (LCG20) to process primary (i.e., original quality) satellite images. [Note: Primary images could be as large as 4,000 by 4,000 pixels and had 50% more bits per pixels, to improve contrast and resolution.]
Tests on 14 June 1991 were successful in sending primary imagery to Mt. Whitney but not as reliably as required for an operational system (to the relief of fleet meteorologists, who were not anxious to have a new, high-priority use for 'their' antenna).
4.8.3 Challenge Athena
As described in Section 4.8.3, a principal justification for the Challenge Athena effort was the need to move high volumes of original-quality imagery to fleet flagships, aircraft carriers, and large amphibious ships. This program appears to be solving the problem of delivering tactical imagery to large ships, at least in so far as large-scale joint exercises can create a realistic combat environment.
4.8.4 Management and analysis of satellite imagery
The addition of military SHF and commercial C-Band to large combatants creates large "data pipes" necessary to support imagery dissemination, but does not solve the data management problem. The Navy's approach to this problem involves two parallel efforts.
As described in detail in the TENCAP portion of this history, Navy TENCAP and SPAWAR worked together in JCS TENCAP Special Project Eidolon Lance, during CINCPAC's exercise Tandem Thrust 93, to give Commander, Seventh Fleet "user pull" access to current imagery databases at JICPAC. Related work was carried out by Navy TENCAP, SPAWAR, and the NRO's Operational Support Office during projects Radiant Cirrus III and IV in the Mediterranean. These efforts proved so successful that the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence gave Navy TENCAP special funding to accelerate improvements in support of U.S. operations in Bosnia.
The second of the two efforts involved the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System (JDISS) program office and the Navy's Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS). JDISS software incorporates very powerful database query tools. When JDISS software was installed in JMCIS, and JMCIS was connected to high-capacity communications, fleet operators were able to "reach out and touch" a very large number of data sources, and to "pull" from these sources precisely what they needed. This is the primary tactical processing and display configuration found on most large Navy combatants at the time of this writing.
There remains an on-going debate as to whether ship's personnel have the experience and data-handling resources to-digest the wealth of imagery and related information that is now available. Many fleet personnel are optimistic that data management and manipulation software being developed for the Internet will eventually provide the required tools.
A major operation such as DESERT STORM will be required to confirm the utility of the gains the Navy has made in imagery dissemination during the last five years. As best as can be determined from tests and exercises, however, the fleet appears to be in a much stronger position today to make full use of satellite imagery.
4.9 Navy environmental-sensing satellites
By the early 1970s Navy and civilian oceanographers had begun to recognize the potential for improving understanding of the oceans, in particular currents and bottom contours, by using observations from space.
The first serious effort to explore this potential was SEASAT, a NASA project which was launched on 27 June 1978. The Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University, which had gained considerable expertise in space systems while developing the Navy TRANSIT satellite navigation system, designed and built the primary radar altimeter for SEASAT. The concept for SEASAT was that a space-based, high-precision radar altimeter, placed in a near-polar orbit, could, over time, measure the height of the ocean at virtually all locations. It was predicted that water "piled up" in the vicinity of major currents and that underwater mountain ranges and trenches would affect sea surface topography as well.
SEASAT failed after only 109 days in orbit, but collected so much data that scientists were kept busy for years attempting to understand what had been revealed. The general assumption that the height of the ocean varied considerably over the Earth was readily confirmed. NASA began planning another mission almost immediately which evolved into the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX), a joint venture with the French Space Agency. TOPEX was launched successfully in August 1992 and remains operational at the time of this writing.
Navy observers of SEASAT saw a potential to apply space-based, high-precision radar altimeters to a Cold War strategic problem and the Geodesy Satellite (GEOSAT) program was soon underway.
The goal of GEOSAT was to collect ultra-high-precision data on ocean topography in order to calculate the effects of varying water mass on the local gravitational field of the Earth. A relative high spot in the ocean, representing a greater accumulation of salt water than the nominal average, would have a small but measurably higher gravitational field than a relative low spot on the ocean surface. SEASAT data had revealed that differences between high and low regions of the ocean surface could vary by hundreds of feet, which represented a significant variation in mass and local gravity. The information on variations in local gravity could be refined into improved guidance commands for submarine-launched ballistic missiles, assuring greater accuracy for the planned Trident strategic missile system.
The Navy contracted with the Applied Physics Laboratory to design and build GEOSAT, which was launched successfully on 12 March 1985 into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of approximately 500 miles.
The radar altimeter for GEOSAT had an accuracy of three centimeters (compared to five centimeters for SEASAT). This precision was, of course, of little value unless GEOSAT's orbital position was also known with great accuracy. APL's solution to this challenge was to equip GEOSAT with ultra-precise digital clocks and a highly stable reference signal. These two characteristics made it possible to reverse the TRANSIT satellite navigation process and to track GEOSAT accurately from ground sites at known locations.
Because local variations in the gravitational field of the Earth perturb the orbits of all satellites to some extent, GEOSAT's altitude of 500 miles represented a compromise between the need to get as far away from the Earth's surface as possible and the electrical power available to operate the radar altimeter.
GEOSAT was controlled by the Naval Astronautics Group, at Pt. Mugu, California, a component of the Naval Space Command. [Note: The Astronautics Group was subsequently renamed the Naval Satellite Operations Center.] Data from GEOSAT was processed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren, Virginia for the desired geodesic data. GEOSAT's data was also sent to the Navy Oceanographic Research and Development Activity, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to support oceanographic research, and to the Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center, Monterey, California, from which information on ocean currents and similar phenomena was sent to the fleet.
The geodesy mission of GEOSAT was completed nineteen months after launch and the satellite was dedicated to military oceanographic research beginning in November 1986. The Navy was unwilling to declassify GEOSAT's highly-accurate data during the Cold War but a space panel convened by the White House in the early 1990s urged strongly that GEOSAT data be released. Vice President Gore endorsed this recommendation and the Navy released GEOSAT data to the public in 1995.
GEOSAT operated until its altimeter failed in 1990. A GEOSAT Follow-On mission is planned and is scheduled for launch by an Orbital Sciences TAURUS launcher, possibly in 1997.
4.9.2 Naval remote ocean sensing
In 1980 the Naval Oceanographic Command got approval for a Naval Remote Ocean Sensing System (NROSS) program. The NROSS Satellites were proposed as a replacement for the National Oceanographic Sensing System (NOSS), a joint NASA-Navy program that had been cancelled by Congress because of escalating costs. The NROSS satellites, (to be acquired by Navy) were to carry many of the instruments already developed for NOSS, including:
- A Scatterometer, to make measurements of waves, from which local surface winds could be derived (operational data on surface winds is important for Tomahawk and Harpoon cruise missile targeting).
- A Altimeter, to measure local ocean heights (supplementing GEOSAT coverage).
- A Low Frequency Microwave Imager (LFMI), a new instrument, to enable indirect measurement of sea-surface temperature. (An important input for three-dimensional modeling of the ocean temperature profile, considered vital for both submarine and tactical ASW operations, as well as for the SOSUS
NROSS was proposed for a 1985 development start. The system concept was to orbit an NROSS constellation of 2 satellites in a 600 n.mi., sun-synchronous orbit. Readout would use the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) data relay network to get the data to the Fleet Numeric Weather Center in Monterey California. The NROSS satellites would also have onboard processing and direct downlink to ships, such as aircraft carriers and large amphibious ships, equipped with the AN/SMQ-10 antenna system.
The original program was to be inexpensive, compared to other satellite programs, because there was a perceived opportunity for a "free ride" with DMSP satellites. In 1983, however, the Air Force made it clear that the Navy's NROSS package would not be given a free ride with DMSP. This led to a sharp increase in the projected cost of the NROSS program.
In 1985, a Milestone II decision declared that the NROSS program was ready for Full Scale Engineering Development, and SPAWAR began the acquisition process. A Request for Proposals was issued in the summer of 1986, and RCA and Lockheed Missiles and Space Company submitted bids.
The bids submitted by the contractors exceeded by 10-20% the funding that the Oceanographer of the Navy had been authorized for NROSS acquisition and SPAWAR went to the Chief of Naval Operations with a request for additional funding for the program. A CNO Executive Board was convened in early 1987 to review the request. Proponents of NROSS who addressed the Board were vague about the true purpose of the proposed system, it was either: to enhance the Navy's ability to model the oceans; or to directly support the submarine and ASW forces. After the presentations, ADM Small, VCNO, asked the Board if any Navy sponsor was willing to provide the additional funding to get NROSS products; nobody was, and VCNO terminated the program.
4.9.3 Weather satellites
4.9.3 1 Introduction
Meteorology is second only to communications in terms of satellite support to fleet operations. It is, therefore, surprising that the Navy has been only a relatively minor participant in the development of U.S. weather satellites and has been content to "leverage" the fruits of the labors of others, principally the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the Air Force.
Accurate and timely meteorological information is critical to safe and effective operations at sea, and the Navy is a major consumer of information collected, processed, and disseminated by weather satellite systems. This section provides a brief overview of the development of the constellation of meteorological satellites used by the U.S. Navy today.
Intense global operations during World War II exposed the U.S. Navy to a wide variety of dangerous weather conditions. In December 1944, for example, Task Force 38, under the command of Admiral "Bull" Halsey, was unprepared for a typhoon that sank three destroyers and damaged seven other ships severely, destroyed 186 aircraft, and killed approximately 800 sailors. This was one of the worst single-event losses of the war and nearly cost Admiral Halsey his job.
Immediately after the war, the Navy began research into many areas related broadly to meteorology. One of these efforts included launching captured German V-2 rockets, in part to learn about rocketry, but also to gather data about the upper atmosphere, which was linked in unknown ways to problems experienced with medium and high frequency communications throughout the war.
Several of these sounding rocket tests included placing cameras on V-2 rockets in attempts to gauge rocket movement and orientation by using the surface of the Earth as a visual reference during post-event reconstruction. These tests often produced images of clouds which intrigued scientists because of the clarity with which large-scale weather phenomena could be observed directly.
While the inventory of captured V-2s was being expended, the Navy developed the Aerobee sounding rocket as a replacement vehicle for research. Beginning in the early 1950s, the Office of Naval Research sponsored a series of sounding rocket tests under project HUGO (a somewhat strained acronym for Highly-Unusual Geophysical Operations). Several of the HUGO Aerobees carried cameras which returned snap shoo of clouds from great heights. In one particularly high-altitude Aerobee test flight in October 1954, the Naval Research Laboratory mounted two cameras, the film from which was pieced together to form a dramatic mosaic image of a large fraction of the Earth's surface, revealing well-formed cloud structures and large-scale weather phenomena in unexpected detail.
When the Navy Vanguard satellite program was selected by President Eisenhower as the U.S. contribution to the International Geophysical Year in 1955, the Army provided a cloud-imaging experiment that was launched as part of the Vanguard II payload in February 1959. The launch was successful but satellite stabilization was so poor that no useful results were collected.
The first successful, purposely-designed satellite meteorological sensor can be traced back to the Explorer VII satellite which was launched by NASA in October 1959. This satellite carded a non-imaging infrared radiometer which measured rates at which the sun's energy war absorbed and reflected by the Earth. The first true weather satellite was, however, the Television and Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS), which evolved in the late 1950s from concepts developed by Mr. Harry Wexler of the U.S. Weather Bureau, the Army, the Rand Corporation (an Air Force "think tank"), and RCA. TIROS was an R&D program sponsored initially by the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA).
The TIROS project was transferred to the newly-formed NASA in 1959 and the first satellite was launched in April 1960. TIROS was launched into a polar orbit (i.e., orbiting continuously about the earth in a path which took it repetitively over both poles) permitting the satellite to monitor the entire surface as the earth rotated slowly beneath the orbiting satellite. TIROS was successful from its inception and the data the satellite collected were so valuable that military and civilian forecasters used the processed information even though the program was still a research effort. TIROS imagery, essentially high-definition television, was processed at the U.S. Weather Bureau Meteorology Satellite Laboratory in Maryland and was faxed to users, including the Navy. Ten first-generation TIROS satellites were launched from 1960-1965.
TIROS VIII, launched in December 1963, was the first weather satellite capable of transmitting data directly to facilities other than the Weather Bureau Laboratory. This included Navy sites. Beginning with TIROS IX, launched in January 1965, TIROS-series satellites were placed in sun-synchronous orbits, which allowed the satellites to cross the equator at the same local sun time on every orbit. Careful adjustment of this orbit-to a mid-afternoon crossing in the case of TIROS permitted imaging of clouds with the optimum contrast, shadows, and sun angle.
From 1964 through 1969, NASA launched variants of TIROS, called Nimbus and ESSA (for Environmental Sciences Services Administration) before launching the first NOAA satellite in December 1970. NOAA satellites have been upgraded continually over the years and are in service today.
NOAA sun-synchronous satellites carry a variety of radiometers that view the Earth in a number of different frequencies, providing (1) visible and infrared images of clouds and polar ice, (2) atmospheric "soundings" for water vapor and temperature, and (3) seasurface temperature. The Navy has developed a series of S-Band antennas (SMQ-10, and-11) that permit ships to receive NOAA data directly. [See more information on SMQ antennas below.]
In 1966, NASA launched the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS-1), the first weather satellite in a geosynchronous orbit. ATS-1 provided approximately 50 images per day of the hemisphere of the Earth at which it was pointed.
In 1967, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization initiated a Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) in which the U.S., and its Navy, participated. In 1970, the U.S. Commerce Department established the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which included the renamed U.S. Weather Service, to take control of all U.S. non-military weather satellites. One of NOAA's first actions was to begin the transformation of ATS-1 technology into a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) as part of the U.S. participation in GARP
The first GOES was launched in 1974, just in time to participate in a CARP test known as the Atlantic Tropical Experiment, which was an intense effort to collect all available data (from space and terrestrial systems) during the 1974 Atlantic hurricane season. This project, which involved collection and reporting of weather data from numerous Navy ships, aircraft, and shore stations, tracked hurricane Carmen in September 1974, providing the first significant input to the weather models that are used today to predict the formation and track of these dangerous storms.
The GOES system is operational today and provides direct S-Band downlink of data to Navy ships with SMQ10 and-11 antennas, as follows: (1) visible and infrared images of nearly a full Earth hemisphere; and (2) profiles of atmospheric moisture and temperature. [See more information on SMQ antennas below.]
The only military weather satellite, operated by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), had its roots in the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) imagery satellite program, which began in the late 1950s.
When the first CIA U-2 reconnaissance mission flew over the Soviet Union on 4 July 1956, the Soviets tracked the flight but had no weapon with which to attack the high-flying platform. Estimates varied, but U.S. analysts knew it was only a matter of time before the Soviets would develop a weapon to knock down a U-2 (which they succeeded in doing with an SA-2 surface-to-air-missile four years later). The CIA responded to this threat by starting the SR-71 development effort in 1958, but even this ultra-high speed reconnaissance aircraft had one significant limitation, the need to overfly the territory of another nation to collect images more than a few tens-of-miles inland. The CIA's solution to this problem was to attempt to develop, in partnership with the Advanced Research Project Agency, an imaging satellite system, code-named Discoverer. Beginning in 1959, there were thirteen unsuccessful Discoverer missions before the first successful satellite images of the Soviet were recovered in the summer of 1960. It soon became apparent that approximately 50% of the Discoverer images were obscured by clouds, an expensive proposition for a satellite that took images using a film camera and ejected capsules which were parachuted down through the atmosphere where they were caught by waiting aircraft. Recognition of this problem coincided with the major successes of the R&D versions of the TIROS polar-orbiting weather satellites launched by NASA. The Air Force, which was frustrated by the decision to give the CIA the imaging satellite mission, took on the task of building a Defense Meteorological Satellite based on the proven TIROS design. The DMSP, as it became known, was to: (1) serve as a "weather scout" for the imaging satellites, to reduce wastage of film on cloud-covered targets; and (2) satisfy other DOD requirements for high-resolution weather data. [Note: The emphasis on high-resolution is important. NASA and the Weather Bureau had put the R&D TIROS initially in orbit approximately 600 miles above the earth. While this altitude provided excellent images of small portions of the Earth's surface, weather forecasting required instantaneous coverage of larger areas. As a result, Nimbus, the operational version of TIROS, was raised to an altitude of approximately 1,000 miles. The resolution required for a weather scout could not be achieved from this altitude.]
The first DMSP was launched in 1963 but experienced stabilization problems. Four operational DMSP satellites were launched successfully in 1965. The DMSP has been upgraded significantly over the years, but remains the only dedicated U.S. military weather satellite.
126.96.36.199 Navy efforts
In 1971, the Navy Electronics System Command borrowed an Air Force DMSP van to be used in tests of prototype AN/SMQ-10 antennas aboard USS Kitty Hawk Two large S-Band tracking antennas were installed (one on each side of the ship) and efforts were made to lock-on to the downlinks of DMSP satellites in order to receive weather data directly aboard ship. The test was successful and led to the first prototype installation, in USS John F. Kennedy, in 1974. The SMQ-10 was approved for production in 1975. An upgraded version of this system, SMQ-11, is found on all aircraft carriers and large amphibious ships today. SMQ-10 and-11 are used to acquire weather data directly from NOAA, GOES, and DMSP satellites. Produce derived from DMSP data include: (1) high-resolution visible and infrared images of clouds; (2) atmospheric moisture and temperature profiles; (3) high-resolution ice-edge mapping in polar regions; (4) ocean wind velocity; and (5) ionospheric data.
The Navy has been a major beneficiary, for three decades, of weather satellite programs managed by NASA, NOAA, and the Air Force. The Navy has developed shipboard antennas, receivers, and processors that give large fleet units routine access to near-real-time data from the two civilian and one military U.S. weather satellite systems in operation today. Smaller ships still experience difficulty during independent operations in obtaining current weather data that includes satellite images and large-scale synoptic charts. The personnel of the Fleet Numerical Weather Center and the Meteorological and Oceanographic Centers (METOCs) of the Fleet CINCs have ready access to all pertinent weather data, however, and provide daily forecasts and ample warnings to all fleet units to prevent the type of disaster that struck Task Force 38 in 1944.
4.10 CINCSPACE and the Naval Space Command
4.10.1 Background: the U.S. Space Command
The idea of forming a joint command to oversee the operation of U.S. military space systems first surfaced as early as 1959 from musings by then Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke.
No serious effort toward forming a joint space command was started until the early 1970s when Congress urged the U.S. Air Defense Command to broaden its perspective on issues such as strategic warning, threat characterization, and command and control, to include existing and planned satellite systems. In the early 1980s, Congress took more forceful action and pushed the Air Force toward consolidation of the Air Defense Command, Air Force Space Command, and the U.S. portion of the North American Air Defense Command into a single organization.
As a result of this prodding, the Air Force formulated a concept for a U.S. Space Command, headed by a Commander-in-Chief (CINC). This concept was catalyzed and brought into much sharper focus by President Reagan in March of 1983 when he proposed a Strategic Defense Initiative (soon called "Star Wars" after a popular science fiction movie of the time). The President's vision of SDI did not delineate any specific technological approach to neutralizing nuclear weapons but the responses that emerged soon thereafter had a strong space-based component, including both satellite sensors and orbiting battle-stations. It was only a small step to envision the inclusion of antisatellite weapons in such a mix. If space was to become a legitimate theater for conflict, a CINC Space was thought by some to be a logical evolution. [The fact that no orbiting battle-stations or anti-satellite weapons were ever built as operational systems has given rise to frequent questions about the need for a joint space command to this day.]
U.S. Space Command was established on 1 October 1984. The Commander, U.S. Space Command was "triple-hatted" as Commander-in-Chief, North American Air Defense Command, and Commander, Air Force Space Command.
Naval Space Command (discussed immediately below) was designated as the naval component of the joint U.S. Space Command on 23 September 1985.
4.10.2 Naval Space Command (and related organizational issues)
On 1 October 1983, the Navy provided its most public indication of its intention to emphasize the operational aspects of space support to fleet operations. The highly publicized establishment of Naval Space Command, under the leadership of a recently-promoted, distinguished astronaut, had been wafted by Navy Secretary John Lehman to send a message that the Navy intended to remain a serious player in space activities. When Commodore Richard Truly cook command of Naval Space Command, he had been away from the Navy for almost two decades. But he had also been on the leading edge of manned U.S. efforts in space and had significant credibility as a spokesman and advocate for Navy space interests. Naval Space Command began with 72 military and civilian personnel. The initial organization chart for the command indicated responsibility for the activities of the Navy Astronautics Group (which controlled the TRANSIT satellite navigation system and the Naval Space Surveillance Center (the U.S. CONUS-based radar space-tracking system).
It was anticipated at the time that Naval Space Command would form the final node of a triangle that included: (a) Naval Space Command, to collect and validate requirements for satellite support for fleet operations; (b) Navy Space Systems Division (OP-943), to craft and sponsor programs; and (c) NAVELEXSYSCOM (PME-106), to execute the programs and deliver space systems.
During the mid-1980s, Naval Space Command began to organize itself and to formulate its approach to Navy space activities. A Naval Space Master Plan was drafted to serve as a roadmap for future activities. A Naval Reserve Unit was commissioned on 1 October 1984 and a Marine Corps Reserve Augmentation Unit was established as part of Naval Space Command in 1987.
As organizational capabilities matured, Naval Space Command assumed operational management of Navy UHF satellite communications and was designated operational commander of the Navy Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR). Naval Space Command was given responsibility for ROTHR because the system, although not a Space system, was viewed as a component of a wide-area surveillance "system-of-systems" which included ROTHR and satellite reconnaissance systems. Naval Space Command also assumed responsibility for the Navy SLOW WALKER program, which involved placing Navy operators at Air Force Defense Support Program (infrared warning satellite) ground stations. (See section on TENCAP, below, for more information on SLOW WALKER.)
From its inception, Naval Space Command accepted responsibility for training Navy and Marine Corps personnel concerning the potential contributions of satellite systems to their missions. These missionary activities included creation of a variety of teaching tools, including:
- Senior Officers Space Awareness Wargame
- Space Tactical Awareness Briefing
- Space Threat Briefing
- Space Cell at Naval War College Wargame
- Joint Space Intelligence Operations Course
- Sponsoring a Space Chair at the Naval War College
- Creation of Space Support Teams to work with fleet staffs
- Video: Spaceflight-The Application of Orbital Mechanics.
By 1989, Naval Space Command had grown to encompass the following subordinate activities and responsibilities:
- Navy Astronautics Group, Pt. Mugu, California (which controlled Navy satellites such as TRANSIT and GEOSAT).
- Naval Space Surveillance Center, Dahlgren, Virginia (which operated the U.S. radar tracking system for satellites).
- Fleet Surveillance Support Command, Chesapeake, Virginia (which was preparing to control Navy ROTHR sites).
- Naval Space Command Reserve Unit
- Marine Corps Reserve Augmentation Unit.
- Naval Space Command Detachment, Colorado Springs, Colorado (an O-6 level liaison office at U.S. Space Command headquarters).
- Naval Space Command Detachment ECHO (which provided Navy personnel for SLOW WALKER operations at DSP ground stations in Australia and Colorado).
- Navy TENCAP Detachment, Dahlgren, Virginia.
In January 1990, the Navy Astronautics Group at Pt. Mugu was renamed the Naval Satellite Operations Center (NSOC), a title more descriptive of its true responsibilities. At the time of this name change, NSOC had control of TRANSIT navigation satellites; and a number of experimental or special purpose satellites such as GEOSAT (which was collecting information on ocean topography for the submarine ballistic missile community, in support of the TRIDENT program).
4.10.3 Naval Space Command activities
In May 1990, the NSOC served as payload Mission Director for the launch and check-out of two ARPA-sponsored Multiple Access Communications Satellites (MACSAT).
In 1990, Naval Space Command also established an Alternate Space Defense Operations Center (ASPADOC) as a back-up to the U.S. Space Command. The role of the SPADOC/ASPADOC was to detect attempts by foreign powers to interfere with proper operation of U.S. satellite systems and to implement countermeasures where available and appropriate. It was also intended that the SPADOC/ ASPADOC would play a role in the employment of U.S. anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) if any became operational. [Note: Congress frustrated development or deployment of ASAT weapons subsequent to a Soviet-declared unilateral moratorium on ASAT testing in 1983. In 1985, Congress enacted an outright ban on further ASAT development.]
One difficulty experienced by U.S. Shuttle Astronauts taking photographs from orbit using hand-held cameras was the lack of location information on the pictures. As part of Shuttle Mission STS-32 (Columbia), Naval Space Command with Navy TENCAP support sponsored initial tests of a Latitude, Longitude, Locator System. This joint Army-Navy program, under the name HERCULES, continued over a number of Shuttle missions until a reliable system was developed. This system is still used on selected Shuttle missions.
When DESERT SHIELD operations began in the Fall of 1990, U.S. forces experienced many challenges in gaining access to reliable communications for critical logistics activities. One unit in particular, the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, received special help from Naval Space Command. The problem for the Marines was the extended logistics chain for the 2nd Marine Air Wing, which provided air support for the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The elements of this chain included: the Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina; Naval Station Rota, Spain; Marine Air Group 40, embarked in USS Nassau (LHA-40); and several air elements on the ground in Southwest Asia. Naval Space Command employed the recently-launched MACSAT low-orbiting communications satellites to set up a "store-and-forward" electronic mail drop system for the Marines. This system allowed all logistics nodes to communicate, on a non-real-time basis, several times a day to coordinate critical logistics flow. [Note: See the chapter on TENCAP for more on Naval Space Command and DESERT STORM.]
It is a tribute to Naval Space Command that they also managed to employ MAGSAT in support of Operation Deep Freeze "summer' activities at the same time. Satellite communications is very difficult in Antarctica because geosynchronous satellites cannot establish line-of-sight below approximately 70 degrees south latitude. Naval Space Command established MACSAT store-and-forward nodes at: Headquarters, Commander Naval Support Force Antarctica, Pt. Hueneme, California; Detachments at Christ Church, New Zealand and Mc Murdo Station, Antarctica; and for scientific parties on the ice.
After DESERT STORM, Naval Space Command began assisting Fleet Commanders-in-Chief in developing the Space Support Annex (Annex N) for their standing and contingency operations orders, in an effort to provide better planning to resolve difficulties experienced during operations.
In April 1992, Naval Space Command activated remote control of the Navy ROTHR site on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians. This radar was designed to provide wide-area surveillance (aircraft and ships) of the North Pacific in support of CINCPAC, CINCPACFLT, and U.S. Alaskan Command operations. The Cold War ended before the ROTHR at Amchitka became operational, however, and the support was no longer critical. The ROTHR at Amchitka was shut down in March 1993, after a year of operation. The ROTHR program has continued, however, in support of DOD anti-narcotic operations. Naval Space Command initiated ROTHR surveillance (from Virginia) of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico in April 1993. In October 1993, SPAWAR management of the ROTHR program was terminated and Naval Space Command assumed full operational and programmatic responsibility for the system. In April 1994, Navy funding for ROTHR ended, except for personnel, and funding obligations were assumed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Counternarcotics Operations.
In the Fall of 1993, Naval Space Command withdrew its Detachment ECHO (SLOW WALKER) personnel from the DSP ground station in Australia for JTAGS training and redeployment for JTAGS operations.
In 1992 and 1993, Naval Space Command used R&D funds provided by Navy TENCAP to establish a prototype multi-spectral imagery (MSI) production facility as the Colorado Springs Detachment. An example of this activity was exercise TANDEM THRUST 93. During the planning phases for the exercise, which was to be executed on the island of Tinian, it was discovered that the only Defense Mapping Agency maps of Tinian dated back to 1944, were still marked CONFIDENTIAL, and had Japanese positions plotted on them in preparation for an amphibious assault. [Note: History buffs will recognize that Tinian is the island from which the nuclear attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki originated.]
The Naval Space Command Detachment ordered commercial LANDSAT and French SPOT multi-spectral images of Tinian, which had to be tasked because the island had not been imaged previously. When the tapes from LANDSAT and SPOT were received, the MSI cell produced nearly 100 black and white, true color, and false color products for TANDEM THRUST 93 planners and participants. As a gesture of appreciation to the community, a professionally- framed, large format, true color, composite LANDSAT/SPOT image of the island was presented to the Mayor of Tinian at the end of the exercise.
The MSI production system (which produced approximately 1,000 items during the demonstration phase) was removed from Colorado Springs to Dahlgren where it currently provides support to Navy and Marine Corps units engaged in littoral operations.
In 1994, Naval Space Command became the central point of contact for acquisition of INMARSAT terminals for Navy units. Naval Space Command also began to acquire portable INMARSAT equipment and to train personnel who could deploy to support exercises and contingency operations.
At the time of this writing, Naval Space Command has grown to approximately 400 military and civilian personnel (as compared to approximately 20,000 personnel assigned to Air Force Space Command).
4.11 Navy Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP)
4.11.1Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities
When Congress established the TENCAP program two decades ago, they set in motion a process that has frequently generated tension between the Service TENCAP programs and those responsible for developing and operating U.S. intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance systems. This section is not a comprehensive history but a chronological summary of highlights from the 19 years of the Navy TENCAP program. Throughout this section, the institutional conflicts that arose during the course of many Navy TENCAP projects are described briefly because resolving strong differences of opinion has been a consistent element of the TENCAP process. Finally, this summary focuses on "successful" efforts but, in fairness, many Navy TENCAP endeavors have not resulted in new and useful tactics, techniques, or procedures. Projects that have fallen short of the mark can be grouped generally into three categories: (a) successful in a narrow technical sense, but not operationally useful; (b) technological dead ends; or (c) ideas that failed to advance the state-of-the-art (technically or operationally).
In 1973, the Army began to explore the potential for using national satellite reconnaissance systems in support of tactical forces in the field. These systems, also called "national technical means of verification", had been used almost exclusively for gathering intelligence for the national command authorities and strategic forces up to that time. The Army's efforts were focused on developing equipment that would permit Corps-level forces to receive and exploit national systems' data in the field.
The Chief of Naval Operations created a TENCAP Branch (OP943E) as part of the Navy Space Systems Division (OP-943), under the Director, Command and Control (OP-094). Congress had authorized ten new billets for this activity, but the OPNAV staff was being manned at 80% of authorized strength at that time and only eight billets were filled. Congress responded by cutting the billet authorization to eight, of which the Navy filled only six. The TENCAP office was, therefore, a lean organization from the very beginning.
During the establishment of the program, the decision was made to limit Navy TENCAP activities to research and development, and training. The Army had a different perspective and gave its TENCAP organization responsibility for acquiring TENCAP systems and for full life-cycle support of any equipment they developed.
During the initial years of the TENCAP effort, the program's budget was taken "out of hide" and never exceeded $1.0 million in any fiscal year. The focus of the Navy TENCAP program during this period was on training fleet personnel in the capabilities and limitations of national systems. Initial Navy TENCAP efforts involved: the injection of information on satellite reconnaissance systems into the curriculum and wargames of the Naval War College; providing materials to the Fleet Training Centers; and working with the other services to develop a Tactical Exploitation of National Systems manual.
The Navy TENCAP budget broke the $1.0 million dollar threshold for the first time and the office began to initiate research and development efforts. The first independent Navy TENCAP efforts were influenced by two studies:
- The Chief of Naval Operations sponsored an Integrated Tactical Surveillance System (ITSS) study (see Section 4.7.1) which provided funds to several of the largest Department of Defense contractors for assessments of state-of-the-art capabilities that might be used for wide area surveillance against Soviet forces. As noted earlier, the ITSS studies recommended a "system-of-systems" approach to wide area surveillance, with heavy reliance on satellites and over-the-horizon-radar.
- At the same time, Mr. Leo Brubaker, a maverick, mid-level analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, conducted an assessment--under the study name Sudden Dawn-of unusual phenomena uncovered during Measurement and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT) efforts using reconnaissance satellites.
In 1982, Navy TENCAP began detailed research into the tactical support potential of the Air Force's Defense Support Program (DSP) strategic infrared warning satellites, under the project name SLOW WALKER. This effort was based in part on ITSS suggestions that infrared sensors should be part of the wide area surveillance mix and hints in the Sudden Dawn results that unexploited capabilities of the DSP satellites might have tactical applications.
The Naval Space Command was established on 1 October 1983 and Navy TENCAP was directed to send two of its six billets to Dahlgren, Virginia, to form a TENCAP detachment. This arrangement (four TENCAP billets on the CNO staff and two at Naval Space Command) remains current today. The Dahlgren TENCAP detachment receives its funding and priorities from the Washington office. Naval Space Command also assumed responsibility for the Navy SLOW WALKER detachments at the DSP ground stations.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff injected themselves into the TENCAP process in that late 1970s by sponsoring biennial Special Projects which provided opportunities for the Service TENCAP programs and national intelligence organizations to come together for large-scale projects that were overlaid on major theater exercises. The Joint Staff designated an Executive Agent (rotated among the Service TENCAP offices) for each Special Project. By mutual agreement, the Executive Agent was responsible for funding most of the project's initiatives.
188.8.131.52 Night Raider
Navy TENCAP was designated Executive Agent for JCS TENCAP Special Project 84, under the project name NIGHT RAIDER. This project achieved a conceptual breakthrough that radically altered the relationship between the national space community and tactical users.
In late 1984 Commander Mike Ketron, a member of the Naval Security Group Detachment on the staff of CINCPACFLT, learned of the NIGHT RAIDER test and thought the process could be applied to over-the-horizon targeting of Harpoon and Tomahawk anti-ship missiles. Commander Ketron approached Navy TENCAP with a proposal to build on the NIGHT RAIDER effort by conducting an operational demonstration involving a battleship, aircraft carrier, cruiser, and submarine during exercise PAC FACT 85.
One fall-out of this intense, effective, but substantially "ad hoc" effort was demands from the fleet to install TRAP receive equipment and tactical data processors on a large number of combatants. The Navy's Afloat Correlation System program, an effort to develop advanced tracking correlation, information management, and display capabilities for shipboard use (a program that had fiscal and schedule problems) was cancelled and the funds were used to satisfy the fleet's demands.
184.108.40.206 High To ??
Commander Hardcastle-Taylor could not find support for his idea within the lice of Naval Intelligence or the Naval Security Group and approached Navy TENCAP which agreed to sponsor an operational test.
4.11.5 1988 -1989
NSA placed numerous roadblocks in the way of this effort, frequently citing lack of funds as the reason for not making progress. Persistence on the part of the Air Force-Navy team in validating operational requirements, coupled with Navy TENCAP funding for on-line databases and system interfaces, and a final political push by the joint Staff TENCAP office, led eventually to a prototype operational capability. Details on the application of this capability are provided below.
Navy TENCAP responded to CINCPAC's priority by arranging joint demonstrations of three new technical capabilities and one highly controversial operational concept, as follows:
The first operational demonstration of AENs on the TRAP Broadcast, reporting live targets.
NSA resisted the Tactical Support Group idea throughout the year-long project planning process. The concept involved placing personnel from operational commands-people intimately familiar with threats, priorities, and joint operating procedures in the western Pacific-into one of NSA's covert facilities, in a deliberate attempt to influence collection, processing, and reporting in real-time, for the benefit of combat units. The NIGHT FURY Tactical Support Group comprised eight enlisted intelligence analysts (two from each service) provided by CINCPAC; and an officer-in-charge with recent VQ/EP-3E experience in the Pacific (Lieutenant Commander Scott Orosz), provided by Navy TENCAP
NIGHT FURY yielded the following improvements in joint tactics, techniques, and procedures:
The reporting of non-ELINT data, via AENs, on the TRAP Broadcast worked well and was used extensively during DESERT SHIELD and STORM (and is used today in all U.S. exercises and operations).
[Note: Since 1990, Navy TENCAP has assigned specific names to those R&D efforts which attain project status. In compliance with CNO naming conventions, TENCAP projects are given two-word labels, the first word of which is always "Radiant."
Many members of the national intelligence and space communities have opposed the Service TENCAP programs over the years because of their "intrusion" into areas that are often regarded as the responsibility of other organizations. For these individuals, two historical events at the beginning of the 1990s offered hope that the TENCAP program would soon wither away. These events were: (a) the end of the Cold War, which caused national intelligence organizations to shift their focus from strategic to tactical priorities (as a matter of fiscal survival); and (b) DESERT STORM, the most significant U.S. military operation in twenty years, which forced national intelligence and space organizations to place tactical support above all other priorities. The 1990s have, instead, proved to be something of a Golden Age for the Navy TENCAP program.
During the same period, the Army Space and Strategic Defense Command completed development of a Tactical Surveillance Demonstration (TSD) system designed to work with DSP infrared warning satellites. TSD was expected to automate much of the SLOW WALKER process begun by Navy TENCAP a decade earlier and to extend the capability to cover theater missiles as well as aircraft In preparation for testing, Navy TENCAP, with the assistance of the Center for Naval Analyses: (a) developed a plan for testing TACDAR as a stand-alone capability; (b) formulated a joint test agreement with the Army for cross-system testing involving the TSD; and (c) solicited support from the Air Force Foreign Technology Division and Army Missile and Space Intelligence Center to assist the Center for Naval Analyses in conducting a rigorous, independent assessment of the test results.
The Army and Navy argued forcefully that in the post-Cold War era, and in light of DESERT STORM experiences, it was time to push existing satellite systems to the full limits of their potential. Recognizing that pushing the performance envelope would, however, produce some false alarms, the Army and Navy proposed using separate processors and the existing TRAP Broadcast, to keep tactical and strategic reporting entirely separate.
Navy TENCAP and the Army were eventually able to arrange a meeting involving: the Commander, U.S. Space Command, General Donald Kutyna, USAF; Vice Admiral Jerry Tuttle, the Director, Space and Electronic Warfare (on the CNO staff); Rear Admiral Ed Allen, Commander, Naval Space Command; and the Commander, Army Space Command. At this early 1991 meeting, General Kutyna approved the test proposals and thanked the Army and Navy for "dragging the Air Force kicking and screaming into the Twenty-First Century."
For several additional months, however, Air Force Space Command stalled Army preparations for joint testing by finding numerous administrative reasons for not turning over crypto keys for the DSP downlink. In the fall of 1991, at a meeting chaired by Brigadier General Stewart, USA, Director, Plans and Policy for U.S. Space Command, Air Force Space Command finally agreed to provide the DSP downlink crypto keys to the Army.
Technical testing of TACDAR- TSD fusion commenced in February 1992 and continued through June 1992. During these tests, TACDAR demonstrated the first fully automatic, live, near-real-time cross-sensor fusion ever performed using U.S. satellite systems. Naval Space Command TENCAP played a key role in arranging targets for more than fifty test events (involving both aircraft and rockers) and the analytic effort of the Center for Naval Analyses, under the able leadership of Dr. Dave Blake and Dr. Rich Dubs, provided ample proof of the successes of the effort.
By the late summer of 1992, Navy TENCAP was ready to commence operational demonstrations of near-real-time reporting to combat units via existing tactical circuits. U.S. Space Command authorized the new level of testing and, throughout the remainder of 1992, Navy TENCAP sponsored demonstrations of TACDAR and joint TACDAR- TSD cross-sensor fusion under operational conditions.
After four successful days of testing, with cross-system fusion, an Air Force Space Wing Commander (subordinate to Air Force Space Command) initiated a "no notice' strategic readiness exercise at the DSP European Ground Station, which required the site to terminate all on-going R&D projects. Navy TENCAP requests for an exemption from these rules (made to both U.S. and Air Force Space Commands) - on the basis that: (a) the extent of the R&D effort at the DSP Ground Station was merely a passive tap off the DSP downlink; (b) Navy TENCAP had invested significant funds in leasing a satellite communications channel; and (c) the tests had been fully coordinated in advance with both U.S. and Air Force Space Commands were to no avail.
The Army transformed their TSD effort into the Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) program and subsequently deployed prototype systems to Germany and the Republic of Korea, where they remain today. Production JTAGS are scheduled for deployment in 1997. Naval Space Command Detachment ECHO provides 50 percent of the JTAGS manning.
An interesting sidelight of the TSD- JTAGS saga is that Air Force Space Command recognized belatedly that the Army effort was going to succeed and, after toying briefly with the notion of developing an Air Force system from scratch, went to Aerojet Corporation (who built TSD and JTAGS for the Army) and purchased two systems. One, called ALERT, is an operational component of U.S. Space Command's Theater Event System (with the two deployed JTAGS and TACDAR); the other is an R&D testbed under the name Shield.
The Air Force was designated Executive Agent for JCS TENCAP Special Project 93, with the name EIDOLON LANCE. Navy TENCAP played a major role in this project which, at the request of the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, was executed in conjunction with exercise TANDEM THRUST 93.
One of CINCPAC's objectives for EIDOLON LANCE was to demonstrate methods by which tactical units could obtain access to operational intelligence databases by means of a technique called "user pull." One of the shortfalls in intelligence support during DESERT STORM was the difficulty experienced by tactical units in obtaining current satellite imagery for strike planning and battle damage assessments. Immediately after DESERT STORM, the Office of the Secretary of Defense sponsored development of software that would allow tactical users to access imagery files from a central computer. A test of this software, called "5-D" (Demonstration of Demand-Driven Digital Data) was sponsored by the Commander, U.S. Air Forces, Pacific in 1992. This test allowed tactical units in the Republic of Korea and Japan to access a preselected set of images, using telephone lines.
The EIDOLON LANCE 5-D Sewer test was a qualified technical success. The limitations of the system were overcome rapidly, however, and 5-D servers are found in all U.S. theater intelligence centers today.
One of the most challenging military targets, from an indications and warning perspective, is the "non-cooperative" threat. The term non-cooperative in this context indicates an enemy unit that, by operational choice, suppresses all radiating observables to the greatest extent possible (i.e., turning off radars and communications system).
The Army was asked by the Joint Staff to be Executive Agent for JCS TENGAP Special Project 95. When the Army declined, JCS asked Navy TENCAP to assume Executive Agent responsibilities for the project, which was named NIGHT VECTOR.
The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command, as the operations sponsor for NIGHT VECTOR, designated ROVING SANDS 95, the largest theater ballistic missile defense exercise conducted by U.S. f ices since DESERT STORM, as the host exercise for the project. The Commander, U.S. Central Command was the commander for ROVING SANDS, which was conducted in Texas and New Mexico.
USACOM formulated two overall objectives for NIGHT VECTOR: (a) national systems support to theater missile defense; and (b) national systems support to a forward-deployed JTF commander operating in an austere environment.
Navy TENCAP led an effort, with the strong participation of all the services, the NRO, and national intelligence organizations, to conduct a wide variety of operational demonstrations in support of ROVING-SANDS participants. One of those, DBS, has been discussed at length in Section 4.8.3.
Navy TENCAP jointly sponsored three additional demonstrations as part of NIGHT VECTOR, all of which have or will shortly achieve operational status. It should be noted that the definition of "national capabilities" has, in recent years, been expanded to encompass certain categories of non-satellite "sensors", including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and human intelligence (HUMINT) resources such as Special Forces teams employed in reconnaissance missions.
Navy TENCAP and the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) jointly sponsored the first large-scale operational demonstration of the Predator UAV during ROVING SANDS 95. As discussed in Section 4.8.3, visual and infrared video from Predator was relayed to all service components participating in the exercise, in real time, using Direct Broadcast Satellite technology. Predator is now an Air Force managed program which is providing support to U.S. and coalition forces in Bosnia.
220.127.116.11 Radiant Coal/Town Crier
18.104.22.168 Radiant Topaz/VISTA
4.11.11 TENCAP summary
Since 1977, the Navy TENCAP program has made a number of significant contributions to the manner in which national satellite systems are used to support operations at the tactical level. From a historical perspective, the most important advances have come about when the flexibility and responsiveness of the TENCAP program were matched by the enthusiasm of fleet personnel to experiment with new approaches to solving operational problems. The joint tactics, techniques, and procedures that have evolved from these efforts are so well integrated into current concepts of operation that their TENCAP lineage is often overlooked.
4.12 Development of the "Naval Space Strategy"
In 1981, the Space Panel of the Navy Studies Board advised CNO that the Navy should take more aggressive steps on its own to provide space-based support to the fleet and should begin to develop a clearer Navy position on space matters. In 1982, CNO's Director, Command and Control (OP-094), VADM Gordon Nagler, directed his staff to draft a Naval Space Master Plan to address these issues. A draft was completed within three months and began circulating for review. It soon became evident, however, that since the Navy had no approved Space Policy, there was no basis for evaluating the proposals of the draft Master Plan. OP-094 advised CNO that without a policy framework, a Navy Space Master Plan laying out the Navy's space program would not be viable.
The CNO concurred and directed OP-06 to develop a Space Policy for the Navy. CNO then requested that SECNAV sponsor the development of a Naval Space Policy; to include both the Navy and Marine Corps. OP-06 formed a working group under OP-06B, RADM Dudley Carlson, to prepare a draft Naval Space Polity document. The group completed its work in early 1983, and released its draft policy statement for review and comments by the SECNAV, OPNAV, and CMC staffs. The Secretary of the Navy signed a Department of the Navy Space Policy, SECNAV Instruction S5400.39 on 6 February 1984. In the policy statement, SECNAV recognized the increasing dependence of Naval forces on space systems for conducting naval operations, and directed the Navy and Marine Corps to ensure the effective deployment and use of space and space systems in fulfilling the missions and requirements of all elements of the Navy and the Marine Corps.
In the spring of 1984, President Reagan directed the National Security Council to review and update existing national space strategy. The output of that review, completed in July 1984, resulted in a National Space Strategy National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) in August, 1984. The NSDD addressed a number of sensitive space issues, including: the arms-control implications of space; the Unified Space Command; development of space-based strategic defense systems; and C3I systems to support the NCA and operating forces. Previous U.S. space policies had never gone so far in recognizing these issues and the importance of space to the security of the United States and its ability to support the NCA and the operating forces.
In October 1984, GNO and the Fleet CINCs approved a plan-of-action to formulate a Naval Space Strategy. The plan-of-action consisted of two elements:
- Formation of a Naval Space Strategy Working Group (NSSWG), headed by Rear Admiral Dennis Brooks, reporting to the CNO via a Flag Advisory Group. The NSSWG was to identify Fleet CINC space-related requirements and naval space roles and missions to support a maritime strategy.
- Reconvening the CNO Executive Panel (CEP), Space Exploitation Task Force (SETF), under the chairmanship of Mr. Jim Woolsey, to provide a national perspective of the Navy's role in space.
Both efforts were initiated in early 1985, and over the next eleven months, completed their respective assignments. Results were briefed to the CNO, CMC, and Secretary of the Navy. With the consensus of these key leaders, the Navy and Marine Corps headquarters staffs, in coordination with major subordinate commands, developed a broad-based Naval Space Strategy, to guide DON Space Policy implementation and delineate naval space roles and missions. The Strategy was to assist in charting a course in space which would support naval missions, and take advantage of unique naval space capabilities.
Implicit in the strategy was the recognition that space systems would continue to be important to the conduct of naval warfare, and that space-related issues bear on naval requirements and capabilities. In the promulgating memorandum, signed by CNO and CMC, the Navy and Marine Corps were directed to continue to assess requirements, roles and missions in space, and to take required actions in those areas which support naval missions or where unique naval capabilities contribute to national objectives. The Naval Space Strategy attached to the joint memorandum was a synthesis of the NSSWG final report to SECNAV and key elements of the CEP task force report. The Naval Space Strategy, as distributed, can be found in Appendix C.
4.12.2 Naval Center for Space Technology
One of the few practical results from this flurry of activity on Navy space polity and strategy emerged from the Department of the Navy Space Policy (SECNAVINST S5440.39 of 6 February 1984). This document directed the establishment of a naval lead laboratory for space to preserve and enhance a strong space technology base and to provide expert assistance in developing and acquiring space systems in support of naval missions.
In response to the new Navy Space Policy, NRL's Space and Aerospace Systems Divisions were merged to form the Space Systems and Technology Division on 1 August 1984. The following March, the Chief of Naval Research designated NRL as host of the technology center for naval space activities. On 1 October 1986, this transformation was completed formally when the Space Systems and Technology Division was renamed the Naval Center for Space Technology, under the able leadership of Mr. Pete Wilhelm, one of the Navy's best known space engineers.
The Center remained in the forefront of research and development in space largely by seeking work for organizations that were building space systems, including the NRO and the Strategic Defense Initiative Office.
4.13 Space systems availability and survivability
In 1956, when the U.S. was planning to build, launch, and operate satellites for military purposes, it was recognized that protecting U.S. satellites would be difficult. Deterrence, it was decided, would probably not work against the Soviets, because satellite reconnaissance was assessed to be of much higher value to the U.S. than to the Soviets. The closed nature of Soviet society denied the U.S. intelligence collected by conventional means whereas the Soviets had alternative means of obtaining intelligence about the U.S. They would, therefore, have more incentive to shoot down U.S. satellites than to protect their own.
The solution the U.S. government chose for protecting its satellite's during the late 1950s, was to seek international agreements. Because diplomatic efforts with the Soviet Union during the mid-portion of the Cold War were particularly difficult, it was not until 1963 that a treaty banning nuclear weapons tests in outer space was signed by the U.S., U.K., and the Soviet Union. It took an additional four years (1967) to negotiate a treaty that forbade putting nuclear weapons in orbit.
Finally, the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (SALT I), which was signed in 1972, included language that the U.S. and Soviet Union agreed not to interfere with "national technical means" of treaty verification (codewords for reconnaissance satellites).
4.13.3 1980s - Shift of Soviet priorities in anti-satellite warfare
During the late 1970s some Navy and other planners in the Pentagon began having second thoughts as to whether space-based systems, upon which the Navy had now begun to depend, would be available to support critical functions in wartime. The argument went, if the Navy could not rely on satellite support for combat, the Navy should not allow itself to become dependent on satellites by using them during peacetime operations.
In 1981, a revolutionary change took place in Soviet military doctrine. The Soviets became convinced that they could win a war that was conventional from start to finish and that, if escalation took place, it would be because NATO initiated it. The new Soviet doctrine allowed that theater war could escalate to a U.S.-Soviet global war without necessarily becoming nuclear. According to the new Soviet doctrine, the USSR would plan to fight NATO without provoking the U.S. into escalating to the nuclear level if possible .
This shift in war-planning assumptions had far-reaching implications for Soviet anti-satellite doctrine. New rules were developed for determining which U.S. systems could be attacked, and under what circumstances, without risking war. As long as the war remained conventional, the USSR would not attack U.S. space-based systems they thought the U.S. would consider vital for warning of nuclear attack or for Command and Control of strategic forces (DSP, DMSP, DSCS, etc.).
The Soviets shifted primary responsibility for anti-satellite planning and operations from their (strategic) anti-space defense force (PKO) to the respective Soviet theater (TVD) Commanders, and in 1986, the Soviet definition of their tactical TVDs was officially redefined to include the "near earth-aerospace-region" (okolvzemnoe vozdushreo-kommchuskoe pnnstrorcstro), apparently including satellites with orbits up to 1,000 nautical miles. Anti-satellite measures available to the TVD Commanders included: jamming of space-based communications systems the Soviets considered not essential to U.S. strategic warfare (including FLTSATCOM); attacks on in-theater ground nodes of nonstrategic systems such as local tactical communications nodes; and cover and deception (maskirovka) operations to deny or deceive the sensors on surveillance reconnaissance satellites.
In the Spring of 1988, a study task force of senior Navy technical experts and flag officers was assembled by RADM Richard Mackey, Commander, Naval Space Command, to examine the survivability of U.S. space systems and the implications for the Navy's tactical warfighting. Under retired RADM Robert Geiger, the task force examined all the space systems used by the Navy, as well as (1) the operational and technical capabilities of the real and projected antisatellite threats, (2) wargame outputs addressing employment of the space and anti-space systems, (3) alternatives to U.S. loss of space systems, and (4) recommendations on survivability alternatives.
Principal conclusions of the task force were:
- Significant threats against U.S. satellites needed by U.S. Navy tactical forces are from radio-electric combat (including communications jamming), attacks on U.S. overseas ground stations, and possibly from physical ASATs.
- The Soviets had incentive to attack our satellites, because: (a) they had operational ASATs and the U.S. did not; and (b) the U.S. could not readily replace lost satellites and the Soviets could.
- The only totally effective Soviet ASAT capability was the continued perception by U.S. operators and planners that space systems will not survive, and hence should not be used.
- U.S. space systems used by tactical forces can be made to be as survivable as the forces they support, and DoD should take steps to ensure that those space systems that perform critical functions for naval forces in wartime are designed and operated to ensure survivability and durability to that designated level.
- Navy operators and planners have a legitimate need to know the degree of survivability and availability of national space systems which provide critical support to warfighters.
Naval Space Command started a program of briefing the fleets concerning the survivability of space systems. Recommendations were also made to DoD for specific improvements in survivability of selected space systems. With the end of the Cold War, Navy concerns about survivability of U.S. satellite systems largely evaporated, with the exception of communications satellites (as discussed in the next section).
4.13.4 Anti-jam satellite communications
By the 1980s the fleet had become heavily dependent on UHF satellite communications. Experience on a daily basis, with unintentional interference and parties using illegal frequencies, revealed, however, that UHF satellite communications were particularly vulnerable to countermeasures such as jamming.
Within DoD, the SHF Defense Satellite Communications Systems and EHF MILSTAR system were designed to cope with various sorts of countermeasures, but neither was compatible with Navy operations involving smaller units or widely dispersed forces.
The Navy has taken actions to improve assured support from the UHF Follow-On (UFO) satellites by: incorporating EHF uplinks (which are difficult to jam); providing for cross-links to the MILSTAR ground support architecture (which is heavily hardened); and by building in a capability for up to 20 days of autonomous satellite operations should UFO's ground segment be compromised.
4.14 Navy funding policy for space: historical perspective
The U.S. Navy clearly was (and will undoubtedly continue to be) the largest user of satellite systems for support of its operating forces. In the press of Navy budgeting for ships, aircraft, and weapon systems over the years, however, the Navy never made funding contributions for space-based systems that were commensurate with the degree of Navy's dependence on them. Most military satellite systems are very expensive-comparable with aircraft squadrons and major ships. Until the OPNAV reorganization of 1992, there was not a high enough convergent point of sponsorship responsibility on the CNO's staff to weigh the worth of satellites compared to the costs of additional ships, submarines, aircraft, and weapons. Instead, Navy leaders consistently hoped, and came to expect, that someone else (NRO, ARPA, DOD, or Air Force) would pay for the acquisition, launch and operations of the satellites.
It was this funding strategy (or lack of it), as much as any national or DOD policy constraints, that resulted in the fact that the Navy did not undertake (after the Transit navigation system in the 1960s) the development of any major satellite-systems acquisition.
4.14.1 Navy's "leveraged funding" approach
Instead of contributing a major share of funding to space programs (or even a "fair share", according to the Air Force), Navy chose to make minimal investments in its space program (about $300-400 million dollars per year) and attempt to leverage this minimum into the acquisition, by others, of the space-systems to support the Navy's needs for communications, navigation, surveillance, targeting support, and environmental-data collection.
This relatively low level of Navy investment in space took principally the following forms:
- Development, procurement, and installation of shipboard (and shore-based) terminals for satellite systems.
- Leasing of commercially-developed UHF satellite communications.
- Acquisition of selected other, usually one-of-a-kind, special-purpose Navy satellites such as GEOSAT.
- A modest RDT&E program in space technology at the Naval Research Laboratory (which in 1986 was focused into the Navy Center for Space Technology), and for a while at the Applied Physics Laboratory.
- A small, but effective, Naval Space Command (see Section 4.11), as the Navy component of the U.S. Space Command.
- The Navy Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) office, which was created to, and very successfully did, pioneer new tactical applications of national satellite systems for the operating forces of the Navy.
- Two curricula at the Naval Postgraduate School: Space Systems Engineering, and Space Systems Operations.
- Navy participation in essential working groups and committees on space-systems requirements (SIGINT Committee, SORS, COMIREX, SIRVES, DRSP Working Group, and joint-service activities for DOD systems).
4.14.2 How the tactical requirements for national systems were funded
4.14.3 "Common User" requirements
The persistent hope of Congress in funding deliberations has been that space-surveillance systems can be made more affordable by designing them to meet "common-user" requirements-that is, by collecting requirements from all potentially interested users, and then designing each space system to meet some set of those requirements. That approach worked reasonably well, for example, in the acquisition of the space-based Global Positioning System for "common-user" navigation.