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Operation LAUNCH PAD partnership between the 34 TRW & the SWC


1.  The 34 TRW, U. S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), in concert with the Space Warfare Center (SWC) will embark on an approximately one-year effort named Operation LAUNCH PAD.  This project will review all current aspects of cadet military education and training in space power and information operations (IO), identify shortfalls, and build a roadmap for a coherent education and training plan that will meet the demands placed on these future Air & Space leaders.  The SCHRIEVER 2001 (S2001) wargame scenario and world environment, will define and baseline Operation LAUNCH PAD.   S2001 will be used as the template, identifying the space and IO knowledge and skills required of future USAFA grads.  Lt Col Berry is designated as the Director, Operation LAUNCH PAD (Space and IO, Research).


2.  The Operation LAUNCH PAD Director will coordinate SWC support and lead a 34 TRW team to achieve the following 34 TRW project objectives:


  1. Graduate officers with a working knowledge of our space history, the space environment, and space capabilities.
  2. Graduate leaders with an operational mindset for the use of space power and IO.
  3. Graduate problem solvers who approach each challenge by asking if space power can provide a solution.
  4. Produce graduates who are trained in the fundamentals of information operations.
  5. Graduate future warriors who have experienced space capabilities infused in all aspects of USAFA military training.


3.  Lt Col Berry’s duty, as Director and team leader will include:


a.        Develop the SHRIEVER 2001 war game environment into a template that will define the future space power and IO military educational and training requirements for academy graduates.

b.       Review of all 34th Education Group course syllabi to ensure future cadet education supports LAUNCH PAD objectives.

c.        Review of all 34th Training Group training syllabi to ensure future cadet education supports LAUNCH PAD objectives.

d.       Review of all 34th Training Group summer programs to identify space and IO training and support opportunities.

e.        Help design a future Air and Space Power Education and Training Facility.  Ensure resources needed to accomplish future space power and IO training is included in the design.

f.         Develop for submission a Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) project to assist with the design and procurement of an Air and Space Operations Center Simulator for inclusion in the Air and Space Power Education and Training facility.  Explore possible TENCAP and SWC support for other project objectives.

g.       Survey the Academy environment and provide a recommendation on upgrading memorial and historical displays with space assets to compliment the existing air power displays.

h.       Prepare a planning document that provides the 34 TRW with a recommended, accession level, space power and IO military education and training program.  This document will include, but is not limited to, recommended changes or upgrades to syllabi, resources, and facilities needed to meet program requirements.


4.  Lt Col Berry will be allowed to select and lead a team from the 34 EDG, 34 TRG, 34 OG, and other 34 TRW agencies as needed to complete Operation LAUNCH PAD objectives and tasks.


5.  It is believed that this Operation LAUNCH PAD partnership between the 34 TRW and the SWC will significantly improve the space power and IO capabilities of our future officers.  The Operation LAUNCH PAD planning document will be shared with ROTC and OTS to ensure all officer accession sources will have full advantage of this SWC supported initiative.


6.  The remainder of this document is the Operation LAUNCH PAD TEMPLATE.




The United States is moving forward into the 21st Century as a seamless, integrated aerospace force.  The Air Force is committed to continue the integration of air and space.  We have made great strides in many areas but we need to go further.  Integration is a journey, not a destination.

                -- General Michael E. Ryan, USAF Chief of Staff, 1999


To continue the journey of gaining and maintaining Air & Space superiority, the Space Warfare Center developed and executed Schriever 2001 (S2001), the first Air Force wargame whose primary focus was space warfare.   Operation LAUNCH PAD will baseline S2001 (2017)[1] capabilities and develop the S2001 war game environment into a template for US Air Force Academy accession level education and training.  This template will define the future space power and Information Operations (IO) military education and training requirements for USAFA graduates, preparing a Cadet-cadre of joint war-fighters with a deeper understanding of both space and terrestrial warfare. 


·        Space Capabilities Provided Deterrence

·        Preparations in Space Are Not Provocative

·        Red Low Tech Attacks Challenge Blue

·        Defense of Space Systems is Critical

·        Robust Force Structure Provides Greater Flexibility

·        Robust Force Structure Provides Terrestrial Advantages

·        Terrestrial Force Protection Should be Flowed into Theater First

·        Commercial Space Systems are a Force Multiplier for All

·        Air & Space Command and Control Relationships Will Evolve

These findings demonstrate that the United States needs to continue to pursue and employ advanced space technology, doctrine and concepts to ensure future Air & Space superiority. 

The Cadet Desired Learning Objectives (CDLO), are designed to produce graduate officers, leaders and problem solvers, with;

            a.  Current knowledge of space history, environment and capabilities

            b.  The operational mindset for using space and IO, and

            c.  Experience in Space and IO, through USAFA education and training events



CDLO 01. Identify space policy, doctrine and strategy issues.

CDLO 02. Give examples of Air & Space effects required to end a conflict to the advantage of the United States.

CDLO 03. Comprehend the capabilities and limitations (military utility) of specific counterspace and force application space systems.  Recognize the characteristics and capabilities of:

3.1.  A Space Operations Vehicle (SOV), also known as a second generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV).

3.2.  A Low Cost Autonomous Attack System (LOCAAS).

            3.3.  A Small Diameter Bomb (SDB).

3.4.  Direct ascent antisatellite (ASAT) weapons.

            3.5.  Microsatellites.

            3.6.  Spacemines.

            3.7.  Communications satellite jammers.

            3.8.  Mobile laser jammers.

3.9.  Large airborne Global Positioning System (GPS) jammers.

3.10.    Numerous smaller GPS jammers.

3.11.    A Common Aerospace Vehicle (CAV).

3.12.    Space Based Radar (SBR) satellites.

3.13.    Space-Based Space Surveillance satellites.

3.14.    Space-Based Infra-Red System LO (SBIRS LO) satellites.

3.15.    Global Multi-Mission Support Program (GMSP) satellites.

3.16.    Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD).

3.17.    An AEGIS cruiser.

CDLO 04. Comprehend the capabilities and applications of commercial space systems.


CDLO 05. Analyze how “robust space forces” can compliment National and military strategy and objective.[2]

5.1    Distinguish how satellite hardening, can compliment National and military strategy and objective.

5.1.1        Define “satellite hardening”.

5.2    Distinguish how large satellite constellations for redundancy, can compliment National and military strategy and objective.

5.3    Distinguish how more secure satellite orbits can compliment National and military strategy and objective.


CDLO 06. Differentiate and separate the capabilities of a robust Air & Space force, from that of a less capable baseline force.[3]

6.1    Explain how multifunction microsatellites can provide more counterspace and space protection capabilities.

6.2    Explain how Space-Based Space Surveillance can enhance space situational awareness.

6.3    Explain how significantly more Common Aerospace Vehicles (CAV) can provide prompt precision global strikes against hardened targets.

6.4    Recall how a larger Space Based Radar (SBR) constellation can provide continuous tracking of enemy terrestrial forces.

6.5    Recall how Space-Based Infra-Red System LO (SBIRS LO) satellites can be hardened against Red directed energy weapons.

6.6    Recall how Global Multi-Mission Support Program (GMSP) satellites can provide a more jam resistant GPS signal and additional communications capabilities.


CDLO 07.  Comprehend the “near-peer” relationship of an opposing force with:

7.1.    A strategic nuclear capability, conventional and nuclear Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), a large conventional force, and a robust intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability that provides them a full view of the battlespace.

7.2.    A formidable number of weapons to limit US access to the region including advanced surface-to-air missiles, long-range cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

7.3.    Early warning, communications and navigation infrastructure roughly equivalent to current US systems.

CDLO 08.  Comprehend how “Space Capabilities Provide Deterrence”

8.1.    Explain the role of the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) cell.[4]

8.2.    Recognize how, when facing an enemy with a strategic nuclear capability, the possibility of escalation to a nuclear exchange is always part of the SECDEF's decision calculus. 

8.3.    Describe how space forces can provide the US a strategic deterrent that can be positioned to clearly demonstrate National capabilities and resolve.

8.3.1.      Define “deterrence.” 

8.4.    Identify how space operations are difficult to monitor.

8.5.    Describe how deterrent options can be employed to apply pressure that allows the potential adversary to back down from the conflict without embarrassment. 

8.6.    Comprehend the deterrent options, of:

8.6.1.      Observe:   Summarize how, during the pre-hostility phase, Blue can use their ISR capabilities to observe and publicize Red's massing of ground forces to mobilize world opinion against possible Red aggression. Describe how this sharing of information can help induce stability into an inherently unstable situation.

8.6.2.      Threaten:   Summarize how, "at risk" deterrent options can threaten the adversary without disabling his systems or destroying his territory. Describe how actions such as jamming and dazzling selected Red satellites, and deploying Blue microsatellites near Red satellites (to prepare for Blue counterspace actions), can threaten without disabling. Describe how, all of these actions are considered scaleable and most importantly, reversible. Describe how this process of prepositioning space assets to support later counterspace operations can be described as a “space Time Phased Force Deployment (TPFD)”. Describe how actions in this option can be structured to provide a deliberate and increasingly greater show of force with pauses to allow for diplomacy and enemy withdrawal.

8.6.3.      Strike:   Summarize how, if the observe and threaten options fail to produce the desired results; Blue can develop a preemptive strike option (early deterrent strike). Define “early deterrent strike.”

8.6.4.       Recognize how developed plans for focused attacks (early deterrent strike) can convince Red they cannot achieve their military and strategic objectives.

8.7.    Summarize how extensive space and information operations for deterrence and to posture forces, can gain a decisive advantage even before the first overt shot is fired or territorial boundary crossed.

8.7.1.      Recognize how actions in this gray area of hostile engagement can prove decisive, or at least have a major impact on the future unfolding of combat operations.


CDLO 09.  Demonstrate, in a wargame/simulation, how “Preparations in Space are Not Provocative”

9.1.    Show how actions taken by the Blue teams can posture their forces for deterrence. 

9.1.1.      Predict how Red’s lack of adequate space situational awareness, to fully see the Blue Space TPFD, is a limiting factor to the deterrent value of these actions.

9.1.2.      Explain why the SECDEF may simply choose to release some information directly to Red, providing a limited awareness of Blue’s actions, to ensure Red receives the deterrent message. 

9.1.3.      Describe how, if deterrence fails, Blue space forces are now in place to bring about the desired endstate with few casualties and minimal collateral damage.

9.2.    Show that although Preparations in Space may give Blue a military advantage, the opposition may not consider them provocative. 

9.2.1.      Explain "traditional" trigger points, of which the opposition may base their decision to begin hostilities or accelerate timelines upon.  Recall how air, land or sea forces moving in, or toward the theater can be a "traditional" trigger point. Recall how deployment of Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) to theater can be a "traditional" trigger point. Recall how the insertion of combat forces can be a "traditional" trigger point. Recall how the deployment of AEGIS cruisers can be a "traditional" trigger point. Recall how Blue bombers moved to forward bases, within striking distance of the opposition, can be a "traditional" trigger point. Recall how violation of Red airspace can be a "traditional" trigger point.

9.2.2.      Explain how the actual interference with an opposition space asset CAN be a space-related trigger.

CDLO 10.  Comprehend how “Red Low Tech Attacks Challenge Blue”

10.1.    Identify how a variety of special force operations and terrorist (third party) attacks against Blue space ground sites critical to satellite command and control, national missile defense, launch operations, and space data processing, can challenge Blue’s Air & Space superiority.

10.2.    Recall how deception techniques versus ISR capabilities, can challenge Blue’s Air & Space superiority.

10.2.1.   Give examples of “deception techniques versus ISR capabilities.”

10.3.    Recall how the opposition can employ a “shell game” with its force by constantly shifting its theater ballistic missiles, transporter erector launchers (TELs), aircraft, and associated decoys, to complicate Blue’s terrestrial situational awareness. 

10.4.    Recall how the opposition can exploit Blue's dependency on GPS, by jamming the GPS signal frequency in theater, limiting Blue's precision strike capability.

CDLO 11.  Comprehend why “Defense of Space is Critical”

11.1.    Identify how a variety of Red threats can challenge Blue's space forces including microsats, ground-based lasers, direct ascent ASATs, and space mines. 

11.2.    Identify counterspace capabilities.

11.2.1.  Recall how microsatellites can be used to both protect friendly assets and engage enemy systems.

11.2.2.  Recall how an advanced space surveillance system, capable of tracking small and potentially deceptive targets such as Red microsatellites, can provide real-time space situational awareness to support effective counterspace operations.

11.2.3.  Recall how Common Aerospace Vehicles (CAVs) can be key to rapid force application against deep, highly protected Red ground-based counterspace systems.        Recognize how Red ground based lasers can cripple Blue space forces in a matter of hours.

11.2.4.  Recognize how, when active defense fails, a robust force can be sufficient to withstand initial Red attacks and continue to meet their mission objectives due to their hardened and redundant constellations.

11.3.    Recognize why the SECDEF may specifically prohibit any interference with certain space and ground systems associated with the opponent’s strategic nuclear deterrence (including early warning satellites).

11.4.    Recognize why the SECDEF may be very concerned about the potential escalation in the event Red interference with Blue early warning satellites.


CDLO 12.  Interpret why a “Robust Force Structure Provides Greater Flexibility”

12.1.    Identify why a robust, numerically superior force structure gives Blue the flexibility to absorb a first strike in space and continue to accomplish their objectives.

12.2.    Identify why a baseline (non-robust) force with limited space assets could clearly not absorb a first strike in space and still be effective

12.2.1.  Recognize why a baseline (non-robust) force may appeal strongly for the SECDEF or President to allow preemptive strike authority. 

12.3.    Identify why a robust space force provides a stabilizing deterrent while a limited baseline space force may create instability by pushing both sides towards early strikes in an attempt to gain military advantage. 

CDLO 13.  Identify why a “Robust CAV Force Provides Terrestrial Advantages” for Blue to effectively strike deep against heavily defended targets without risking aircrews.

CDLO 14.  Comprehend why we should consider “Flowing Force Protection in First”

14.1.    Recognize that; when fighting a near peer possessing a large theater ballistic missile threat, it is imperative to deploy force protection assets early and sustain them throughout the campaign.

14.2.    Recognize how force protection assets may reduce the number of ballistic missiles leaking through defenses, thereby allowing more combat sorties to be generated against Red invasion forces. 

14.3.    Recognize why the Blue robust team may delay the flow of ground and air based ISR and rely on space based ISR assets to provide a detailed picture of the battlespace during the early days of the conflict.

14.3.1.  Describe how this tactic can free up airlift for force protection without compromising the commander’s view of the battlespace.

CDLO 15.  Comprehend how “Commercial Space can be a Force Multiplier for All

15.1.    Explain that anyone can purchase commercial ISR and communications capabilities to support their military operations.

15.2.    Explain that anyone can attempt to limit commercial support to their opponents.

15.2.1.  Recognize that relatively little leveraging power may exist with commercial capabilities. 

15.2.2.  Recognize that commercial organizations may be driven by their ultimate interest; “the bottom line,” and answer to their CEOs and stockholders.

15.2.3.  Recognize how multinational corporations may prefer to remain neutral, viewing wartime demands for their services as a business opportunity. 

15.2.4.  Recognize how commercial organizations may not legally be able to breach contracts to further the objectives of Blue or Red. 

15.2.5.  Recognize that in conflicts abroad, Red may be the dominant customer in the region, further limiting Blue's leverage with commercial companies and consortia.

15.3.    Comprehend why the United States needs policies and procedures to ensure our access to commercial space services, while denying those services to our potential adversaries.

15.3.1.  Describe why the United States should maintain good commercial relationships during peacetime.

15.3.2.  Describe why the United States should prepare procedures/agreements, to be in place as a crisis transitions to conflict to ensure that we have the required commercial services available to augment forces.

15.3.3.  Recognize why these same procedures/agreements need to address the limitation or denial of space support to adversaries. 

15.3.4.  Recognize why these agreements require coordination with a broad range of government departments including Defense, State, Commerce, and Transportation. 

CDLO 16.  Comprehend why “Command and Control (C2) Relationships Will Evolve”

16.1.    Interpret how space weapons and new information systems routinely compress decision cycles requiring near instantaneous response to enemy actions. 

16.2.    Recognize how these factors and the inherently global nature of space forces arguably pose challenges to current organizational structures and rules of engagement.

16.3.    Recognize why as space forces increase in capability and complexity, the command and control relationships of these forces will mature to ensure effective counterspace operations.

16.4.    Recognize why as other services deploy additional counterspace systems, the command and control relationships of these forces will mature to ensure effective counterspace operations.


S2001 provided an excellent opportunity to explore many oncoming Air & Space issues projected for 2017.  An important first for the Air Force, S2001 showed AF commitment to better understanding and advancing Air & Space power.  The insights from the game will provide vital inputs for a military strategy and force structure that future USAFA graduates will employ.  An accession level education and training commitment will ensure the United States maintains its current position as the dominant Air & Space power.

The USAFA Operation LAUNCH PAD Director [5] will use this template to baseline our future graduate officers, leaders and problem solvers’ accession level education and training. USAFA graduates need the basic system knowledge, an operational mindset and accession level experience, to comprehend the evolving roles of Space & IO in modern warfare.

[1] In September 2000, Brigadier General David Deptula (HQ USAF/QR), the Air Force focal point for the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), requested the wargame switch to the same 2017 scenario being used by the Department of Defense for the QDR.  This change allowed lessons learned in S2001 to be better integrated into the QDR process. 


[2] In Title X wargames, prior to S2001, adversaries aggressively attacked space assets resulting in major/early losses to US satellite constellations. Players were left with the impression that space was fragile. To compensate, S2001 explored enhanced options for space protection.


[3] S2001’s robust force started with Global Engagement V's vision force and added several counterspace and force application capabilities consistent with Air Force Space Command's Strategic Master Plan

[4] Joint Chief of Staff Memo, 11 JAN 02, directed discontinued use of the term National Command Authority (NCA).  Documents should instead refer specifically to the “President” or “SECDEF”, as appropriate.

[5] Lt Col Berry/34TRW/CCL/333-1983/ecb/12 MAR 02