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NEWS | Nov. 25, 2020

NSDC, space leaders host AWC seminar

By Jennifer Thibault Joint Task Force-Space Defense Public Affairs

The National Space Defense Center director joined several Schriever leaders to engage a small group of Air War College students and faculty Nov. 20.

Col. Scott Brodeur gave the center’s mission brief as part of the space-focused seminar to enable the group to understand the current space domain and the operations conducted therein.

“I’m truly honored to represent the Joint Task Force-Space Defense and the NSDC in hosting this esteemed group of space professionals on their visit to the Front Range,” Brodeur said. “Their field research at the NSDC will pay huge dividends toward developing strategic thinking in space superiority, orbital warfare, space battle management and command and control that will shape our space warfighting culture in the Space Force.”

In addition to the NSDC, Schriever-based Deltas 6, 8 and 9 and Space Training and Readiness Delta provisional leaders provided briefings to the AWC tranche. The group also had a working lunch with Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command commander.

Brig. Gen. Michael Rawls, AWC commandant, and Col. Doug Drake, West Space Seminar director, led the seminar, which is similar to the Air Command and Staff College’s Schriever Scholars program. 

“The Gladys West Space Seminar is the first AWC seminar intentionally focused on pursuing strategic thought through a space power lens (opposed to the air power lens of traditional AWC seminars),” said Lt. Col. James Roberts, seminar student. “Gladys West, inducted in the USAF Hall of Fame in 2018, is honored in our seminar name for her pathfinding work early in the Space Age — much like we are pathfinding in our new service, the U.S. Space Force. This seminar is one of the first steps in deliberately educating future space-minded senior leaders in strategic space issues.”

This seminar is part of the Air University’s effort to develop space-minded leaders at all levels. The university is incorporating space as a warfighting domain into all of its online and in-residence courses, from basic training and accessioning programs to senior development education like Air War College.

“[This] is the first group of senior developmental education students to go through a professional military education institution with a curriculum focused on space," Drake said. "Senior space warfighters, as well as sister service, civilian and coalition partners, are now getting PME to provide the best military advice possible to Space Force senior leadership."

Brodeur took a moment to recognize the growth since his AWC experience five years ago.

“We couldn’t even say ‘space warfare’ without raising eyebrows in the space community and crossing into taboo subjects," he said. "There were few references to space operations or strategy in our curriculum. One year later, I was working at U.S. Strategic Command for then-commander Gen. John Hyten [and] we penned a provocative ‘space is a warfighting domain just like air, land and sea’ in his congressional posture statement remarks. Now, five years later, we have a service and a combatant command. It’s an absolute extraordinary time to be a space professional; we are making history every single day in the space enterprise.”  

The group’s field study included COVID-compliant stops at Vandenberg, Buckley and Peterson Air Force Bases.

“The greatest challenge has been finding ways to build meaningful relationships with my peers despite the myriad of COVID restrictions currently in play," Roberts said. "Relationships are important, especially as we each learn how the other services perceive and employ space power. Space is critical to our joint warfighting posture and it’s a multi-domain effort with every service having a role."

The seminar is resonating with students and paving the way for future space studies.

“The Space Force is beginning to engage in professional military education for its senior officers and we hope to grow our PME to meet the needs of the [Chief of Space Operations], our joint and coalition partners,” Drake said. “[This group of students] are taking their role as future senior space leaders seriously and are providing critical constructive feedback to make the program better for those who come after.”

This term is nearing its end. After the winter break, these students will join their AWC counterparts in Regional Security Studies, second-term electives, Theater Strategy and Campaigning, and end the year with Global Security Studies — all with an eye toward how the concepts apply in the space domain and link back to enhance joint power in the other domains.