US Army

Special operations exercise showcases Army space

By Brooke Nevins, USASMDC

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Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Brooke Nevins

U.S. Army and coalition special operations forces demonstrate tactical combat casualty care during a mass casualty simulation.
The exercise offered guests a hands-on experience of USASOC capabilities. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Brooke Nevins)

Soldiers of the U.S. Army's 1st Space Brigade showcased live space effects in support of tactical ground forces during the U.S. Army Special Operations Command's capabilities exercise at Fort Liberty, April 5-12, 2024.

The exercise, a week long exhibition of special operations forces capabilities and technology, allowed guests, including congressional representatives, academics and joint and coalition special operations forces, to both observe and immerse in USASOC operations within the context of a realistic large-scale combat scenario.

The exercise offered guests a hands-on experience into how special operations forces leverage unique abilities and equipment to support irregular warfare operations across the spectrum of conflict. In the preliminary portion of each day, guests aided SOF Soldiers in tactical combat casualty care during a mass casualty situation and witnessed a demonstration of real-time briefings to senior leaders based on tactical cyber and space operations.

The brigade's Soldiers integrated into the scenario by coordinating and planning for joint space effects, including providing spectrum awareness and monitoring to validate the health and status of friendly satellite communication links.

The team did so using a small form factor system, “highlighting several use-cases for integration with cyber and special forces partners and our pivot toward close space support,” said Lt. Col. Jason McCune, 1st Space Battalion commander.

The integration of space operations into the exercise demonstrated how the Army space, cyber and special operations forces partnership, known as the “Triad,” supports multi-domain and full-spectrum operations and works simultaneously and harmoniously to enable the successful execution of an operation.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Brooke Nevins

U.S. Army Rangers and coalition special operations forces conduct a compound raid during a large-scale combat scenario
at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Capabilities Exercise 2024 at Fort Liberty, North Carolina.
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Brooke Nevins)

“1st Space Battalion provided key military and civilian leaders an opportunity to observe an electronic support team in action — assessing the state of critical satellite communications links and providing direct space support to a Special Operations Task Force,” said Capt. Noah Siegel, Triad experimentation team platoon leader, 1st Space Battalion. “Briefers, including Capt. Ben Hinkle, highlighted several scenarios in which space soldiers could leverage the placement and access of SOF partners to more effectively enable multi-domain operations.”

At CAPEX, that operation culminated in a compound raid by Army Rangers, where soldiers fast-roped from two MH-47 Chinook helicopters, cleared buildings, and engaged with opposing forces on foot, tactical vehicles and with a military working dog.

Because guests observed the combat scenario from start to finish in one place, the exercise contextualized the unique roles of the partnership's components in combat, including how Army space capabilities enable warfighters on the ground.

“I see the response coming from this community right here — from SOF, space and cyber — to provide options for the National Command Authority that are workable and feasible,” said Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga, commanding general of USASOC, regarding joint and coalition defensive measures from cyber and other attacks by adversaries.

“What we're attempting to do is stitch together these different capabilities and how they could work complementary to one another to provide a much larger effect,” Braga said.

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