HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —
The U.S. Army has deployed a system that already is denying
the ability to use
commercial space capabilities,
according to a senior service official, who said the effort is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to combat terrorism.
For security reasons, Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell, commander of Army Space and Missile Defense Command provided only a basic description of the system during an Aug. 16 speech here at the Space and Missile Defense Conference. Campbell did say
the system is ground-based, complementary to Air Force systems and actively being used to deny U.S. foes the ability to use
commercial space capabilities
It has been “wildly successful” thus far, Campbell said, adding that
it was having a direct impact by preventing terrorists from taking advantage of “commercial means and transmitting venom around the world.”
Campbell said during the speech that he could not discuss details of the system or how it works. Bill Congo, a spokesman for Army Space and Missile Defense Command, declined to answer follow-up questions about the system. Air Force Maj. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, also declined to comment, citing
the sensitivity of the system.
While Pentagon officials have talked about the need to deny enemy use of satellites, they generally do not talk about specific systems that are under development or already deployed. Among the few exceptions in
recent years were two ground-based U.S. Air Force Systems –
the Counter-Communications System, which uses radio frequency signals to jam enemy satellite transmissions, and was fielded in 2004, and the Counter Surveillance Reconnaissance System, which service officials said was canceled that same year.
The Army’s 2008 budget request includes $6.24 million for an account called Project #978, which funds the Army Core Space Control System, according to a budget justification document sent to Congress in February. The document describes the Army Core Space Control System as “a ground-based space capability that provides Counter Satellite Communications (C-SATCOM), space surveillance system (i.e., Space and Threat Surveillance (SaTS) System), a Counter Imagery System, and an integrated Battle Management, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (BMC4I) System.”
According to the budget justification document, the Army Core Space Control System is based on guidance is based on services officials as well as the deputy secretary of defense. The budget justification document states that the Army Core Space Control System has a requirement for a “counter-surveillance reconnaissance system,” which bears the same name as the Air Force program that Air Force officials had said was cancelled in 2004.
The budget justification document
the Army Requirements Oversight Council approved an initial capability document for the C-SATCOM system in 2005, clearing it to “advance toward the Technology Development Phase.”
Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based think tank, said that the rise in funding for systems engineering and prototype work that is outlined in the Army budget document for the space control account from 2006 to the following years is consistent with the fielding of initial prototypes, making it likely that C-SATCOM is the system that Campbell had mentioned.
The budget documents note that the budget for systems engineering and prototype work under the space control account was $281,000 in 2006, and rises to $1.97 million in 2007. The Army requested $4.54 million for that work in 2008, and is planning to request $4.89 million in 2009, according to the document.