— The U.S. Navy’s decision last year to fold its primary space operations and requirements organization into a larger command is helping to create synergy that benefits a variety of the service’s missions, according to a Navy space officer.

Bringing space operations into Naval Network Warfare Command (Netwarcom)

has been particularly helpful to

information operations since

space is a critical enabler in

that mission area, according to Capt. Kevin Johnson, chief of space operations and warfighter integration at the Norfolk, Va.-based command.

Navy space

operations were handled by Naval Space Command in Dahlgren,

Va., until 2002, when that organization was merged with Naval Network Operations Command to create Naval Network and Space Operations Command. That organization was

absorbed by Netwarcom

in September 2006, Johnson said.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego continues to have responsibility for

space acquisition programs but takes into account system requirements provided by


, Johnson said.

provides space-related capabilities to


forces engaged in operations throughout

the world through the space cell in its Maritime Operations Center, which operates around the clock, Johnson said.

Space is a relatively small part of Netwarcom’s mission. According to a Netwarcom fact sheet,

the command anticipates a 2008 budget of $760 million, with $500 million going to network-related tasks, $122 million for intelligence, $57 million for information operations

and $45 million for


. Space

is slated to receive just $35 million.

Moreover, space professionals


a relatively small portion

of the Navy’s active-duty roster of roughly

10,000 personnel at Netwarcom.

The Navy has 850 active duty personnel in its space cadre

and 310 space billets throughout the service

, Johnson said.

Johnson said the fact that there are more space cadre members than billets enables the

service to

rotate the

personnel through other positions, which

helps make them well-rounded leaders. The Navy is

reviewing its current balance of space personnel and billets

, but major changes are not likely, he said.

Giving its space personnel

experience outside their primary

field also helps them better apply

their space expertise to the Navy’s various missions, Johnson said.

is responsible for educating naval forces on the use of space capabilities through exercises and other training sessions. The command co-sponsors exercises including Trident Warrior, which annually examines technology that can be rapidly adopted to improve the decision-making of Navy forces.

As the Navy moves forward with space-related war games


recent events like the Chinese anti-satellite demonstration have prompted the service to

inject more realism into the

exercises, he said.


past exercises have taken threats to space systems into account, these

often were not treated seriously,

with officers often assuming their space capabilities would not be compromised, Johnson said. The


11 demonstration, in which China destroyed one of its aging weather satellites with a ground-launched missile

, changed that, he said.

Exercises now devote significant attention to mitigating loss of space capabilities such as

satellite communications

, he said.

also is keeping its eyes on the systems under development through the Pentagon’s Operationally Responsive Space effort, Johnson said. The Navy hopes that this effort will yield systems including sensors that could help its operations in open-ocean as well as through straits and choke points, he said, though he did not give specifics