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News | Dec. 20, 2021

STARCOM uses High Fidelity Combat Simulation in SPACE FLAG 22-1

By Space Training and Readiness Command Public Affairs

The Space Training and Readiness Command just wrapped up the 13th SPACE FLAG exercise (SPACE FLAG 22-1) designed to ready space warfighters to defend US and our coalition partners’ interests in space.

“Though our goal is to avoid conflict, we must be prepared if it occurs,” said STARCOM Commander. Brig. Gen. Shawn Bratton. “It is vitally important we provide space forces with realistic, threat-based training to enhance their ability to analyze and respond to current and future threats in space.”

SPACE FLAG is a Secretary of the Air Force exercise, directed by Chief of Space Operations, General Jay Raymond with the mission to provide an environment where space forces plan, execute, assess, and critically think about tomorrow’s fight in space.

"It happens in rooms like that ... people at a relatively junior level in many cases. Collaborating and thinking through challenges and trying to figure out concepts that seem to make sense and discarding ideas that go astray," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks who stopped by to observe SPACE FLAG operations.

The two-week exercise which ran from Dec. 6-17 included participants from nine Space Force Deltas offering the spectrum of space warfighting capabilities including space domain awareness, warning and surveillance, intelligence, orbital warfare and more.  Representatives from Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom were also participants, marking their first time since 2019.

“The objectives of SPACE FLAG include deterring adversary aggression, and denying their actions, to develop joint warfighters and to apply warfighting concepts including making sound tactical decisions in a contingency,” said USSF Capt. Ben Skee, SPACE FLAG Exercise Director.

The exercise, which is run by STARCOM’s 392d Combat Training Squadron under Delta 1, is modeled after the enduring success of the U.S. Air Force RED FLAG exercises, but set in an orbital domain.

“This was not only our first SPACE FLAG at Schriever Space Force Base, it was also the first SPACE FLAG where we presented a simulated combat environment using a modeling and simulation capability releasable to coalition space warfighters,” said USSF Lt. Col. Albert “AC” Harris III, 392d CTS commander. “Our Guardians were able to work side by side with coalition partners to plan and execute space combat tactics. The 392d team overcame huge obstacles to make this happen, and I cannot be more proud of them,” Harris said.

During the exercise, participants were organized into three cells with different mission sets which included the Blue Cell—representing the Guardian warfighters participating in the exercise, Red Cell—simulating a determined adversary, acting and reacting to Blue Cell movements; and the White Cell-- providing command and control functions for the exercise.

“Exercises like SPACE FLAG are crucial to driving the culture of warfighting and interoperability we look to instill in our Guardians,” Bratton said. “We must be lean, agile and forward-looking if we wish to be successful in defending our interests in space.”