The U.S. Space Command wants a Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC) to allow the simultaneous conduct of competition, conflict and contingency.
“What we would really like to see is a Joint Warfighting Concept that integrates competition, contingency and conflict into a complete concept that would allow us to operate across all those three spheres without this being tied into phasing,” Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, the chief of staff of Space Command, told a Dec. 21 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Space Power virtual forum.
“The other piece that’s important for us in phasing is that we really understand that we need to set the battlespace way ahead of kinetic conflict and so it’s important to us to be able to operate at speed and with the ability to not only compete but set the battlespace,” he said.
Reports have surfaced that JWC’s performance in war games has been below expectations, as DoD tries to rethink what it needs for high-end adversaries in contrast to the counterinsurgency fights of the last 20 years.
The JWC in the works takes its cue from the 2018 National Defense Strategy and assumes that “high-end” adversaries, such as China and Russia, will contest DoD’s logistics chain to prevent U.S. forces from deploying.
“Into the future, we need to think about logistics in space–the lift capability, the reusability capability that we see coming into the market, rapid launch and replenishment on orbit,” Leonard said on Dec. 21.
Pentagon officials have said that Russia and China are seeking to compete simultaneously across the maritime, land, air, cyber, and space domains and in so-called “gray zone” information operations short of war. The JWC is to include joint command and control, logistics, joint fires, and information advantage in contested environments, and to provide the foundation for DoD budget and acquisition strategies.
“From a Space Command perspective, we look at how we never have to get there,” Leonard said of future conflicts. “We look at the fact that between us and cyber and Special Operations Forces and some of what we would call our ‘gray zone’ forces, our capability to compete daily and globally is really important because we would like to win without fighting. And so, how do we project that power each and every day, how do we sense and understand what the adversary is doing so that we can warn them if we can understand that they’re heading in a certain direction, and we can call them out, or that we can set our forces to be able to fight and win without having to deploy someone into an area of responsibility and then project that power from there?”
While Congress has authorized Space Command headquarters to have 1,397 personnel, the command has about 500 so far, Leonard said.