SUFFOLK, Va. -- The Navy Space Cadre has been in existence since 2003 but has found a renewed sense of urgency as a result of recent exercises, experiments and wargames that have highlighted the need for improving the skills of Navy space professionals to better integrate space capabilities into current operations and future plans.
Vice Adm. Brian Brown, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) commander, brought the Space Cadre responsibility with him to the Information Warfare (IW) Type Command (TYCOM) when he assumed command of NAVIFOR in 2018. Prior to NAVIFOR, Brown served as Deputy Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space at U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), and as Director of Information Warfare Integration on the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) N2N6 staff. He was appointed as the head of the Navy’s Space Cadre in 2014.
“During my time at STRATCOM, I learned firsthand the importance of protecting our assets in space and the critical impact they have on Distributed Maritime Operations,” Brown said.
The rapid advances in technology, coupled with the proliferation of space capabilities across many countries, has increased the importance of the space domain. The United States established a new combatant commander for space in August 2019, U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), and a new branch of the military in December 2019, U.S. Space Force (USSF).
The USSF is a military service that organizes trains and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. USSF responsibilities include developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power and organizing space forces to present to the combatant commanders.
The USSPACECOM mission is to deter aggression and conflict, defend U.S. and allied space interests, deliver space combat power for the Joint/Combined force, and develop joint warfighters to advance U.S. and allied interests in, from, and through the space domain.
The goal of the Navy Space Cadre program is to educate, train and develop officers competent in the integration of high-end space capabilities in to current operations and future plans. Space Cadre development involves a combination of education, training, experience, and exposure to all levels of high-end space capabilities.
The Navy realigned space-related billets in 2019 to standardize maritime operations center (MOC) and afloat staff billets requiring space expertise across the fleet, and to more accurately reflect the level of space expertise required to perform the intended job. At this time, there are no designated Navy billets aligned to a full-time space integration, only billets coded with a space Additional Qualification Designator (AQD) performing space-related functions as an extension to their primary duty.
“It’s not a source designator. It is an additional qualification designator,” said Capt. Budd Bergloff, NAVIFOR Space Cadre Advisor. “The Space Cadre is comprised of members across 23 different designators, all subject to their individual community detailers and individual community requirements. The Space Cadre is not an official community with milestone billets and command screen boards. That structure results in a major challenge to building the necessary space expertise from multiple space-related tours with increasing levels of space operational experience, all the while ensuring individual officers remain competitive for promotion and command selection within their source community.”
The Space Cadre is comprised of 471 officers. There are 366 officers with a space operations AQD, and 115 officers with a space acquisition AQD - the two paths that comprise the space AQD. Within the space operations AQD, 48 percent of members are from the Information Warfare Enterprise, and 25 percent of members are unrestricted line officers.
The space-related billet realignment, completed in August 2019, resulted in a total of 315 space AQD-coded billets – 245 coded for space operations and 70 coded for space acquisition. Officers nominated to fill these billets are assessed as to whether they possess the proper AQD and/or the proper training to attain the AQD during the course of their tours. If space training is required as part of performing the responsibilities of the billet, personnel are scheduled for enroute training in conjunction with permeant change of station orders to the maximum extent possible. Officers assigned to billets tagged with the space AQD are required to complete the Space Cadre qualification within 24 months of checking in to their space-related assignment.
Space training for Navy and Marine Corps officers is obtained through three available opportunities: Naval Space Operations Course (NSOC), Space Education and Training Center (SETC), and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). NAVIFOR N76 plans, coordinates and conducts NSOC training with the assistance of Navy Network Warfare Command (NNWC) N39 personnel. NOSC is intended to train personnel on afloat staffs prior to deployment and within fleet concentration areas. Most Navy Space Cadre get their training through the SETC at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. The Navy also has two graduate programs at the NPS - Space Systems Operations and Space Systems Engineering - and four distant learning certificate programs.
“Space capability and effects integration into maritime operations has never been more important. The establishment of SPACECOM and USSF last year emphasized the renewed and growing importance of the space domain. Much of what the IW community is called on to deliver to the fleet is impacted by space – electro-magnetic spectrum, communications, astrometry, precise time,” Brown said. “Going forward we need to ensure that we have a strong, capable contingent of space-trained officers as the great power competition moves into this domain.”
For additional information on Navy space or the Space Cadre, please visit the Navy Space MyNavyPortal at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/space-cadre.