The U.S. Air Force is taking a “hard look” at the additional training infrastructure it needs to enhance its ability to simulate advanced space threats and prepare warfighters for combat, a space official said June 9.

“I don’t know what that looks like for all of us,” said Col. David Miller, commander of the 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. “What I do know is we don’t have that.”

Artist's rendering of a GPS III satellite. Image: Lockheed Martin.
Artist’s rendering of a GPS III satellite. Image: Lockheed Martin.

Air Force space units are making significant progress in collecting and consolidating threat information and developing tactics, techniques and procedures to counter those threats, said Miller, whose wing operates missile-warning satellites and payloads. But with space becoming increasingly contested, Air Force officials believe the training infrastructure will need to improve.

“The American people expect us to be ready through anything,” Miller said at an Air Force Association event on Capitol Hill. “There’s only so much training I can do with the stuff that I got right now.”

Miller described Air Force Space Command’s new Space Flag exercises as a step in the right direction. Space Flag, which is similar to the Red Flag exercises that train fighter pilots for combat, is designed to prepare space forces to react to a “thinking adversary.”

The first Space Flag occurred earlier this year at Boeing’s [BA] Phantom Works Virtual Warfare Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. A second one is being organized for August or September, said Col. Deanna Burt, commander of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.

“We’ve been working hard with the Boeing Virtual Warfare Center to look at how do we virtually visualize what we’re talking about when we talk war in space,” said Burt, whose wing supports communication, navigation and surveillance satellites. “How do we make ourselves a harder target?”