Space Command and National Reconnaissance Office Partner to Launch Operational Playbook

Space Command and National Reconnaissance Office Partner to Launch Operational Playbook

With Russia and China developing anti-satellite capabilities, the Pentagon now considers space to be a warfighting domain on par with land, air, sea, and cyberspace.

FREMONT, CA: The U.S. military's newly formed U.S. Space Command will work with the National Reconnaissance Office to refine the operational plans to defend the country's space assets in the event of a conflict. The two organizations demonstrated their intention to work together at the two-week wargame held this month at the Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.

“We have come to an agreement with the National Reconnaissance Office and intelligence committee that in times of crisis, we are going to follow a playbook that we are going to develop together. The NRO will take direction from the U.S. Space Command to protect and defend those satellites," said General John 'Jay' Raymond, dual-hatted head of Spacecom and Air Force Space Command.

President Donald Trump had officially re-established the U.S. Space Command and designated it as a combatant command focused at space activities, back in August. With Russia and China developing anti-satellite capabilities, the Pentagon now considers space to be a warfighting domain on par with land, air, sea, and cyberspace.

“Exercises like the Schriever Wargames provide us an opportunity to test and improve our joint planning process and shared defensive action playbook to preserve assured access to space,” said Christopher Scolese, the NRO Director. The NRO and the U.S. Space Command have together formed a joint command structure that will facilitate cooperation between the two organizations. “We're not in the NRO's chain of command, but we are going to be able to direct activities to be able to protect and defend (space) capabilities,” Raymond said.

According to Raymond, the relationship between the two organizations so far has been smooth. “The partnership (between the U.S. military and the National Reconnaissance Office) has never been stronger. We operate day-to-day on what we call daily unity of effort bases,” he said.

Meanwhile, Space Command also plans to embed experts to strengthen ties with other combatant commands around the world. “There's not a significant number of space experts in [other] combatant commands, so we're going to develop teams and embed those teams forward in each of the combatant commands to help us do the integrated planning that's required to meet the global demands outlined in the national defense strategy,” Raymond said.

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