Integrating Space into Canadian Armed Forces Operations (RCAF Journal - WINTER 2015 - Volume 4, Issue 1)

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By Captain Richard Moulton

Introduction

Although the Canadian Space Operations Cell (CANSpOC) has existed since September 2012, its two deployable joint space support teams (JSSTs) have developed only initial procedures to date. The basic deployment framework was established during JOINTEX 13 (Joint Exercise) and, in August 2014, the JSSTs were sent on further exercises in order to continue building the framework into a more robust set of procedures.

It was especially valuable during these exercises to see how the United States Air Force (USAF) operates as the lead American military service for coordinating space support and effects in a given theatre. At the operational level, USAF integrates space into the air operations center (AOC), the command and control (C2) structure used to direct aerospace forces operating independently as well as in joint or combined environments. The main method by which this is done is through the appointment of a director of space forces (DIRSPACEFOR), as codified in Air Force Instruction 13-1 (AOC), Volume 3, Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center (AOC).

The concept of a director of space forces

In the American model (see Figure 1), the overarching authority for space in a theatre is the space coordination authority (SCA). The SCA, a role which the joint force commander (JFC) may decide to retain or delegate to a subordinate, is responsible for “joint space operations planning, to include ascertaining space requirements within the joint force.”[1] It is a role similar to other theatre functions such as the area air defence commander (AADC) or airspace control authority (ACA), all of which may be delegated by the JFC to the joint force air component commander (JFACC) / combined force air component commander (CFACC) and integrated into the latter’s staff. Regardless of who is designated as the SCA, a joint space element is encouraged to aid in the execution of day-to-day responsibilities.[2] When the JFACC/CFACC is designated the SCA, the DIRSPACEFOR will typically lead the joint space element in support of these responsibilities.

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Figure 1 is an organization chart. The joint force air component commander / combined force air component commander is the space coordination authority and commands two subordinates: the commander of the air operations centre and the A staff. The commander of the air operations centre commands five divisions (strategy; combat plans; combat operations; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and air mobility) and the director of space forces. The commander of the air operations centre coordinates with the liaison elements. Each of the five divisions and the liaison elements command space subordinates; the director of space forces commands their staff. There is coordination among all the space subordinates and the director of space forces’ staff. The space operations specialty team consists of the space augmentees to the five divisions and the liaison elements as well as the director of space forces’ staff. End Figure 1.

Figure 1. DIRSPACEFOR in an American AOC

Within the AOC, the DIRSPACEFOR is “the senior space advisor to the JFACC with broad space expertise, [with] theater familiarity, and who provides advice on the planning, executing, and assessing of USAF space operations.”[3] As part of this role, the DIRSPACEFOR “facilitates coordination, integration, and staffing activities on behalf of the JFACC to include providing support for joint space operations to the SCA.”[4] They are supported in these activities by a group of specialists called the space operations specialty team (SOST).[5]

The SOST is made up of two components. The first consists of augmentees to the five AOC divisions: strategy;[6] combat plans;[7] combat operations;[8] intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance;[9] and air mobility.[10] These positions integrate space effects and support throughout the planning and execution phases and provide their respective divisions with space subject matter expertise. While these augmentees are responsible to their respective division chiefs, their efforts are also coordinated by the second component of the SOST: the DIRSPACEFOR staff. This ensures that space support is deconflicted and rationalized across the AOC and that the necessary information is available to the DIRSPACEFOR for their situational awareness when advising the JFACC on their role as SCA.

The SOST fulfills its role as the joint space element by coordinating space support provided to the other components via the various component liaisons embedded at the AOC.[11] Each of these component liaisons, such as the battlefield coordination detachment or the naval and amphibious liaison element, work for their respective component commanders (comds) and will designate members to liaise with the SOST. Similar support can be provided to allies in a combined environment through coalition and allied liaison officers.[12]

The effect of implementing the American model is that space is integrated into all parts of the operational planning process for the entire joint force. Space subject matter experts (SMEs) are clearly identified and assigned throughout the AOC; both friendly space capabilities and adversary space threats are understood and given the proper consideration when planning and conducting operations. Furthermore, the needs of all services and allies are integrated. At a higher level, the DIRSPACEFOR is the one authority who briefs the JFACC/CFACC in the latter’s role as SCA, and the SCA is the one authority for integrating space capabilities in support of the JFC’s campaign.[13]

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The Canadian context

Although USAF has a long history of working to develop space capabilities and integrate them into aerospace and joint operations, there are enough differences between the structure of American military forces and that of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that a recommendation to adopt the American model wholesale is neither realistic nor responsible. Analysing this model should, however, be the starting point of any attempt to integrate space into CAF operations. There are three points to consider when reshaping American doctrine for Canadian use.

The first point is that USAF has primacy in the space domain for the American military forces, and similarly, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) doctrine defines aerospace power as “that element of military power applied within or from the air and space environments.”[14] Associating air and space power in this manner is natural, as they share many characteristics such as elevation, fragility, reach, sensitivity to technology and stealth.[15] Beyond these basic premises, however, while the USAF’s 14th Air Force is responsible for operating the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC),[16] providing 24-hour C2 of all space operations forces,[17] the CAF’s CANSpOC is a joint operational unit within Director General Space (DG Space) under the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS). Given that support provided through space is inherently a joint effect, this presents an opportunity to institutionalize the CAF’s view of space as a joint capability and situate it with the JFC and the joint task force headquarters (JTF HQ), as a part of the special staff described in Canadian Forces Joint Publication (CFJP) 3.0, Operations.[18]

The second point is that in American military doctrine, the Comd Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space) is designated as the global space coordinating authority (GSCA),[19] while in Canada there is no such authority. Along the same lines, Comd JFCC Space is supported by a large space cadre, including the JSpOC and each of the geographic combatant commanders’ (GCC) DIRSPACEFORs. DG Space, on the other hand, has only the CANSpOC along with the projects and policies sections of the DG Space organization working to advance the integration of space into CAF operations. These two differences represent a clear gap in both the authority and ability to embed space into the respective military forces. Addressing this gap, it has been proposed that DG Space fulfill the GSCA role by acting as the Comd Joint Space Component Command (JSCC) for Comd Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC). This role would be a single authority for operational space and would institutionalize space as a joint capability in the CAF.

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The third point is that while American military doctrine has Comd United States Strategic Command supporting the various GCCs by allowing applicable components (i.e., JFCC Space) to coordinate with the SCA,[20] the CAF does not have a similar structure of GCCs. Instead, CJOC is responsible for CAF operations not conducted solely by North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) or Canadian Forces Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).[21] This difference in the scale of operations and span of control seen with the American military services and the CAF is a factor to be accommodated going forward.

A CAF model for space

The suggested model for integrating space into CAF operations takes into account these three points. It includes three levels of space expertise: the SCA, the DIRSPACEFOR and space SMEs integrated into tactical and operational levels of planning. While these concepts mirror the USAF model, modifications to it recognize the differences between the American military services and the CAF, while allowing for the tailored integration of space support into operations. These operations range from the steady state, to a CAF task force (TF) working with American forces, to a CAF TF operating independently.

As shown in Figure 2, in the steady state, space C2 for the CAF sees DG Space in their role as Comd JSCC executing the role of GSCA for Comd CJOC in support of the latter’s operations in a global area of responsibility (AOR). The Director of Space Operations and Readiness (DSO&R), leading the CANSpOC, acts as the DIRSPACEFOR while the CANSpOC provides the expertise required to integrate space into operational-level planning across the staff system at CJOC and pushes space-force-enhancement products and analysis to the headquarters and operations subordinate to CJOC.

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Figure 2 is an organization chart. The Chief of the Defence Staff commands the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff commands the Chief of Force Development who in turn commands the Commander Joint Space Component Command (Director General Space). The Commander Joint Space Component Command is designated as the space coordination authority. There is coordination between Commander Joint Space Component Command and the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. The Commander Joint Space Component Command commands the Director of Space Forces (Director of Space Operations and Readiness) who in turn commands the Canadian Space Operations Cell. The Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command commands the Canadian Joint Operations Command staff and watch as well as the task force commander. The task force commander commands their staff. There is coordination among the Canadian Space Operations Cell, the Canadian Joint Operations Command staff and watch as well as the staff in the task force. All entities on the organization chart are joint assets with the exception of the Director of Space Forces (Director of Space Operations and Readiness) and the Canadian Space Operations Cell which are space assets and Commander Joint Space Component Command (Director General Space) which is a joint organization that conducts space operations. End Figure 2.

Figure 2. CAF Steady State

The next scenario (see Figure 3) consists of a CAF TF, joint or otherwise, deployed and acting in concert with American forces. While Comd JSCC, through the DSO&R/DIRSPACEFOR and the CANSpOC, continues to provide space expertise and integration to Comd CJOC, a deployable JSST is sent as part of the CAF TF HQ. The three roles performed by the JSST are to integrate space into the TF comd’s battle rhythm, provide reachback to the capabilities provided by CANSpOC and liaise with the appropriate GCC’s DIRSPACEFOR staff to ensure that the TF’s space requirements are properly integrated at the theatre level in the combined environment.

Figure 3 is an organization chart. The Chief of the Defence Staff commands the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff commands the Chief of Force Development who in turn commands the Commander Joint Space Component Command (Director General Space). The Commander Joint Space Component Command is designated as the Canadian space coordination authority. There is coordination between Commander Joint Space Component Command and the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. The Commander Joint Space Component Command commands the Canadian Director of Space Forces (the Director of Space Operations and Readiness) who in turn commands the Canadian Space Operations Cell. The Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command commands the Canadian Joint Operations Command staff and watch as well as the task force commander. The Canadian task force commander commands their staff. Part of the task-force staff is the joint space support team. Within the American geographic combatant command, the American joint force commander commands the air component commander, the land component commander and the maritime component commander. The American joint force commander exercises control over the Canadian task force commander. The air component commander is appointed as the American space coordination authority and commands the American Director of Space Forces. There is coordination between the Canadian Space Operations Cell and the Canadian Joint Operations Command staff and watch. There is also coordination among the Canadian Space Operations Cell, the joint space support team in the task force and the American Director of Space Forces. The air component commander is an air asset. The land component commander is a land asset. The maritime component commander is a sea asset. The Canadian Space Operations Cell, the joint space support team as well as the Canadian and American directors of space forces are space assets. The Commander Joint Space Component Command (Director General Space) is a joint organization that conducts space operations. All remaining entities on the organization chart are joint assets. The note reads: The Canadian task force commander may be under the control of one of the American component commanders. End Figure 3.

Figure 3. CAF TF integrated with American forces

Note: The Canadian TF Comd may be under the control of one of the American component commanders.

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In the third scenario (see Figure 4), a CAF JTF operates independently; the same level of support is provided by Comd JSCC, the CANSpOC and JSSTs. The option exists, however, for Comd JSCC to delegate SCA for the JFC’s AOR to the JFC. At this point, additional JSST and CAF space cadre personnel are also deployed to augment any space expertise at JTF HQ and act as the JFC’s DIRSPACEFOR and staff. As in the USAF model, the DIRSPACEFOR coordinates all space requirements across the components, deconflicts space support requests and provides a coherent picture of space integration to the JFC and back to Comd JSCC.

Figure 4 is an organization chart. The Chief of the Defence Staff commands the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff commands the Chief of Force Development who in turn commands the Commander Joint Space Component Command (Director General Space). There is coordination between Commander Joint Space Component Command and the Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. The Commander Joint Space Component Command is designated as the national space coordination authority. The Commander Joint Space Component Command commands the Director of Space Forces (the Director of Space Operations and Readiness) who in turn commands the Canadian Space Operations Cell. The Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command commands the Canadian Joint Operations Command staff and watch as well as the joint task force commander. The joint task force commander is designated as the space coordination authority for their assigned area of responsibility. The joint task force commander commands the air component commander, the land component commander, the maritime component commander and the task force staff. The air component commander commands their staff, including space personnel. The land component commander commands their staff, including space personnel. The maritime component commander commands their staff, including space personnel. The joint task force commander’s staff includes the director of space forces for the joint task force who commands a joint space support team.  There is coordination between the Canadian Space Operations Cell and the joint space support team. There is also coordination among the joint space support team and all of the space staff in the four component commanders’ staffs. The air component commander and staff, except the space staff, are air assets. The land component commander and staff, except the space staff, are land assets. The maritime component commander and staff, except the space staff, are sea assets. The Director of Space Forces (Director of Space Operations and Readiness), the Canadian Space Operations Cell, the joint task force director of space forces, the joint space support team and the component commanders’ space staff are space assets. The Commander Joint Space Component Command (Director General Space) is a joint organization that conducts space operations. All remaining entities on the organization chart are joint assets. The two notes read: 1. If space coordination authority is delegated to the joint task force commander, it is only for the joint task force commander’s area of responsibility. 2. Space staff may be augmented by joint space support teams. End Figure 4.

Figure 4. CAF JTF operating independently

Notes: 1. If SCA is delegated to JTF Comd, it is only for the JTF's AOR.
2. *Space staff may be augmented by JSSTs.

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Conclusion

The JSSTs represent the next step in developing space expertise that can be integrated into CAF operations. This model, and its three levels of integration, provides the CAF space cadre with a guide for this next step. As the CANSpOC and its JSSTs continue to develop the support and expertise they provide, integration into the operational-level headquarters conducting operations will be increasingly important.

Crucially, the CANSpOC, JSST team members and headquarters staff must draw on the experience of our American allies as we continue this development in order to seek out best practices and avoid repeating mistakes. The USAF doctrine of a DIRSPACEFOR and staff is a proven one that the CAF’s space cadre should adopt when integrating into an operational-level headquarters at any tempo of operations. The DIRSPACEFOR best represents space on a JFC’s staff and ensures that space effects and support are integrated appropriately into the planning and execution phases of the JFC’s campaign.

Captain Richard Moulton is an aerospace control officer in the RCAF and is currently employed as the Standards & Training Officer at the Canadian Space Operations Cell in Ottawa. In August 2014, he had the opportunity to augment the 607th Air Operations Center at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, for Exercise ULCHI FREEDOM GUARDIAN 2014.

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Abbreviations

AFI13-1AOCV3―Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3, Operational Procedures – Air Operations Centre (AOC)

AOR―area of responsibility

comd―commander

ACC―air component commander

AMD―air mobility division

AOC―air operations center

C2―command and control

CAF―Canadian Armed Forces

HQ―headquarters

CANSpOC―Canadian Space Operations Cell

CDS―Chief of the Defence Staff

CFACC―combined force air component commander

CFD―Chief of Force Development

CJOC―Canadian Joint Operations Command

COD―combat operations division

CPD―combat plans division

DG Space―Director General Space

DIRSPACEFOR―director of space forces

DSO&R―Director of Space Operations and Readiness

GCC―geographic combatant command

GSCA―global space coordination authority

ISRD―intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance division

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JFACC―joint force air component commander

JFC―joint force commander

JFCC Space―Joint Functional Component Command for Space

JSCC―Joint Space Component Command

JSpOC―Joint Space Operations Center

JSST―joint space support team

JTF―joint task force

LCC―land component commander

MCC―maritime component commander

RCAF―Royal Canadian Air Force

SCA―space coordination authority

SOCC―special operations component commander

SME―subject matter expert

SOF―special operations forces

SOST―space operations specialty team

SRD―strategy division

TF―task force

US―United States

USAF―United States Air Force

VCDS―Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

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Notes

[1]. United States (US), Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 3-14, Space Operations (Arlington County, VA: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 29 May 2013), III-2, accessed December 16, 2014, http://cfd.mil.ca/sites/intranet-eng.aspx?page=16937.  (return)

[2]. United States (US), Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication 3-14, Space Operations (Arlington County, VA: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 29 May 2013), III-3, accessed December 16, 2014, http://cfd.mil.ca/sites/intranet-eng.aspx?page=16937. (return)

[3]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 102, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[4]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 102, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[5]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 88, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[6]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 23–28, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[7]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 30–35, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[8]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 37–46, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[9]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 47–70, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[10]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 71–80, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[11]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 81–82, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[12]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 82, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[13]. US, Department of the Air Force, Air Force Instruction 13-1 AOC, Volume 3 (AFI13-1AOCV3), Operational Procedures – Air Operations Center(AOC) (Arlington County, VA: Department of the Air Force, Change 1, 18 May 2012), 7, accessed December 16, 2014, http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_a3_5/publication/afi13-1aocv3/afi13-1aocv3.pdf. (return)

[14]. Canada, Department of National Defence, B-GA-400-000/FP-000, Canadian Forces Aerospace Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Trenton, ON: Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre, 2010), 62, accessed December 16, 2014, http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/cf-aerospace-warfare-centre/aerospace-doctrine.page. (return)

[15]. Canada, Department of National Defence, B-GA-400-000/FP-000, Canadian Forces Aerospace Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Trenton, ON: Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre, 2010), 25–26, accessed December 16, 2014, http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/cf-aerospace-warfare-centre/aerospace-doctrine.page. (return)

[16]. “14th Air Force,” 14th Air Force Public Affairs, Vandenberg Air Force Base, accessed December 16, 2014, http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4684. (return)

[17]. “14th Air Force,” 14th Air Force Public Affairs, Vandenberg Air Force Base, accessed December 16, 2014, http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4684. (return)

[18]. Canada, Department of National Defence, B-GJ-005-300/FP-001, Canadian Forces Joint Publication (CFJP) 3.0, Operations (Ottawa: Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre, September 2011), 4-1–4-7, accessed December 16, 2014, http://cjoc-coic.mil.ca/sites/intranet-eng.aspx?page=3560 (Defence Wide Area Network only). (return)

[19]. “Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space),” United States Strategic Command, accessed December 16, 2014, http://www.stratcom.mil/factsheets/7/JFCC_Space/. (return)

[20]. US, Department of the Air Force, AFI13-1AOCV3, 7. (return)

[21]. “CJOC Concept of Operations,” Canadian Joint Operations Command, accessed December 16, 2014, http://cjoc-coic.mil.ca/sites/intranet-eng.aspx?page=14540 (Defence Wide Area Network only). (return)

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