The recent proposal that the U.S. Space Command might be moving to Redstone Arsenal from its headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, likely originated from former President Trump’s new military branch idea, or “Space Forces,” invented by Trump’s minions while he was in office.
Of course, knowing that Trump typically never read anything that was presented to him by any think tanks or senior Department of Defense advisors who catered to his every whim, that idea was pushed further down the road into President Biden’s arena to contend with.
As much as Huntsville’s civic leaders would like to see it happen, the Air Force coupled with Colorado Springs’ mayor and U.S. representative will not easily give up its Colorado-based roots to move to Alabama – even if this is the “Rocket City” in people’s minds, home to rocket science pioneers like Wernher von Braun, Majors General Holger Toftoy or John Medaris.
USSPACECOM has typically been commanded by an Air Force four-star general and the move to Redstone Arsenal, an Army post, would generate bitterness in the impeccably nourished palates of Air Force taste buds. So, what will the Biden administration do about a political ploy that wasn’t given much strategic thought during Trump’s reign? For one thing, it is likely that Trump was surrounded by some well-paid lobbyists from Huntsville who sold him on the idea that it would be a wise and lucrative pro-Republican political move to invent another military service branch in the military – the Space Forces branch – which would clearly be best situated alongside Cummings Research Park, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.
Speaking of “Space Forces,” the presence of this is nothing new in the military. The USASMDC/ARSTRAT houses its space soldiers in a green-toned building alongside USSPACECOM’s blue-toned headquarters building at Peterson AFB with assets from the 1st Space Brigade’s Colorado Army National Guard. And if the USSPACECOM were to move to Redstone Arsenal that would leave another empty building for the 1st Space Brigade, which struggles to find enough floor space for its current needs. The 1st Space Brigade leases commercial building space in Colorado Springs to house its battalion operations. Not far from Peterson AFB lies Schriever AFB which is home to the Joint Task Force for Integrated Missile Defense – also commanded by the USASMDC/ARSTRAT commander and another reason the MDA works closely with SMDC’s technology and future warfare centers to develop integrated missile defense worldwide in coordination with the higher headquarters at U.S. Strategic Command.
Using the USSPACECOM-controlled satellite constellation, SMDC’s space soldiers are assigned worldwide using the Joint Tactical Ground Station in support of geo-strategic military operations. The JTAGS Theater Missile Warning system is organized under the 1st Space Brigade’s 1st Space Company (JTAGS), with four forward-stationed Detachments in Europe, CENTCOM, Korea, and Japan. The JTAGS is the Army’s primary system that provides space based integrated, in-theater missile warning. It provides continuous processing of overhead non-imaging infrared (ONIR) data that is directly down linked from the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite constellation. DSP satellites are a key part of North America’s early warning systems. In their 22,300-mile, geosynchronous orbits, DSP satellites help protect the United States and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations. DSP satellites use an infrared sensor to detect heat from missile and booster plumes against the Earth’s background. In 1995, technological advancements were made to ground processing systems, enhancing detection capability of smaller missiles to provide improved warning of attack by short-range missiles against U.S. and allied forces overseas
With space assets infrastructure currently in place, it will be interesting to see if further development or Congressionally appropriated funding is approved for a separate and continuing Space Forces branch and the relocation of USSPACECOM to Redstone Arsenal under the Biden administration.
Marco Morales, of Huntsville, is a former director of public affairs, Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
This Article firstly Publish on www.al.com