The Army should be more involved with developing space capabilities for modern warfare says a recent paper from the Association of the United States Army.

The paper says all functions of the Army depend on space-based capabilities, so in order to preserve the Army’s combat edge, it needs a cadre of trained and ready space professionals, as well as the supporting space technology and funding.

“Linear battlefields are gone; today’s warfighters need on-the-move communications unaffected by terrain or distance,” the paper says.

The Army calls for an increasing use of satellites, and in particular nanosatellites, to provide persistent voice and data communications. Nanosatellites that are smaller and cheaper can be tailored for a specific mission, rather than using larger satellites that support all missions at once, the paper notes. Yet launching nanosatellites into low earth orbit is a challenge, since they are always secondary to larger satellites and other projects in space.

The Army needs to continually identify and professionally develop a cadre of space experts who should “continue to be integrated into combatant commands and other regional-level commands.” The Army needs adequate retention and career opportunities to build and maintain this specialized squad, the paper notes. The Army says Congress should provide timely and predicable resources that allow for technology maturation, and to “craft legislation that encourages and rewards cross-sector cooperation in space-capability improvement.”

The Department of Defense needs to be more actively involved as well. The paper suggests the DoD: invest in long-term research and development focused on space and missile defense; provide the Army with the necessary resources to sustain spaceenabler force structure; maintain an active role in developing responsive concepts; continue to advocate for the development of new technologies and launch capabilities; and prioritize Army efforts in satellite communications, global positioning and missile launch warning.

“The Army of 2020 will be part of a joint force that harnesses technology to gain agility and flexibility in exchange for absolute size,” the paper says. “Space is the ultimate high ground and provides commanders the strategic flexibility, interoperability and precision required to execute the Army’s ‘prevent, shape and win’ strategy.”

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Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.
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