One year after establishment, Space Training and Readiness Command is balancing and refining the live, virtual and constructive (LVC) attributes of its current and near-term training events. At the same time, the new command is seeking increased investments in the digital side of its training enterprise. These activities represent important opportunities for simulation and training industry suppliers of content and services for LVC training.
In a brief but wide-ranging command presentation during the 2022 Air Space and Cyber Conference, Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, STARCOM Commander, initially recalled there’s been “lots of action” across his portfolio in the last 12 months.
Beyond putting in place the bureaucratic and administrative underpinnings of an approximate 1,000-person organization, last month the command completed its first exercise iteration of Space Flag (SPACE FLAG 22-3) since being accredited by the Joint Staff as a Joint National Training Capability. The commander added that the event also had increased numbers of cyber and intelligence participants to expand the rigor of Space Flag series scenarios.
STARCOM’s second organizational year is off to a fast start. Planning continues for a coalition-based Space Flag event this December. Lt. Col. Lori Hodge, Director, Public Affairs at STARCOM headquarters, told MS&T, “We are preparing to host Australia, Great Britain, and Canada as allied participants during December's exercise. Final details regarding levels of participation from each are TBD between our main and final planning conferences this week and one month from now.”
Elsewhere, Exercise Black Skies is in progress. “Think of the US Air Force’s Flag Exercise Series,” the command leader said, when he noted the new “Skies Series” exercises will have different training audiences and outcomes. Conceptually, Black Skies events are focused on EW (including “live fire” in the form of real-world satellite jamming), Red Skies exercises on orbital warfare, and Blue Skies training on cyber warfare.
Skies Series “offshoot” events are in planning. Of note, the Black Skies exercises are being conducted on what is expected to be an ever-more capable National Space Test and Training Complex for Space Force “Guardians” and their joint and coalition training partners. Planned investments through the near budget years in the complex are focused on providing yet more challenging live training, testing and associated activities. “We’re also looking to invest in the digital side in fiscal year 23 to strengthen the virtual and constructive domains.”
The command is further weighing strengthening other aspects of Space Force training. The two-star general recalled visiting NASA to gain its insights on balancing additional human investments and infrastructure investments – for example, determining the value of a dedicated training spacecraft as opposed to using a comparable simulation-based platform.