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US Space Commander Charts Future Course

Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander in chief of North American Aerospace Defense
Command and U.S. Space Command

by Staff Sgt. Melanie Streeter
Air Force News Service
Charleston AFB - Feb 8, 2002

Though human involvement in space is not quite what some thought it would be
by 2002, technology is rapidly heading in that direction.
Technology was the topic of discussion at the National Defense Industrial
Association's Science and Engineering Technology Conference held at the
North Charleston Convention Center near here Feb. 5 to 7.

Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander in chief of North American Aerospace Defense
Command and U.S. Space Command, spoke to a group representing the space
industry about the importance of space in today's battlefield and how that
importance will grow in the future.

"I think when we think of the future, whether of the armed forces or of our
great nation, we can't help but think about space," Eberhart said.

Using space assets for future force enhancement was the first topic Eberhart
covered. He said the Department of Defense must reach a point where space
systems and technology support air, land and maritime forces in all their
roles, from humanitarian and peacekeeping missions to the current war on

Many of the space systems the DOD is using today were designed during, and
for, the Cold War, Eberhart said.

"We have to figure out how to use these programs in ways never thought of,"
he said.

Global Positioning Satellite systems are also a very important current and
future asset, Eberhart said.

"I don't think this nation even realizes how very important GPS has been in
this decade," Eberhart said. "It's importance in navigation and timing
systems is really taken for granted."

GPS technology is constantly updated, he said.

"We're taking what's required and bettering it by half," Eberhart said.
"That doesn't mean we're bettering bombs by half, but any errors that occur
won't be due to GPS."

Eberhart also talked about the need to defend the technology and resources
the DOD has now, and to continue to improve those defenses in the future.

"People are watching very closely, trying to figure out ways to deny us
technology," he said.

Network security is one of the technologies Eberhart said needs extra
protection. Although the military is doing a good job of protecting its
computer networks so far, he said that has to continue if the armed forces
are to avoid some of the attacks seriously affecting corporate America.

Expanding communications bandwidth is another future goal, he said.

"Look at the global war on terrorism," Eberhart said. "General Tommy Franks
and his forces are using 10 times (the bandwidth) we used in Desert Storm
and four times what we used in Allied Force. I see that continuing to climb
over time. We can always find ways to use bandwidth smarter, use all our
resources smarter."

There are four pillars of space to focus on: space surveillance, protection,
prevention and negation, Eberhart said.

"You've go to know what's up there," Eberhart said of surveillance. "We need
to get (commanders in chief) more excited about space and its effects on the
battlefield. We need to give it the right priority."

Space assets must be protected, he said, because the nation's enemies know
how valuable those assets are and will try to find a way to deny their use.

Besides protecting those assets, Eberhart said technology must be developed
to keep enemies from using U.S. assets for their own purposes.

The final pillar he discussed was negation.

"When most people hear negation, they think of space weapons," Eberhart
said. But, there are other options with negation that don't call for
physical destruction. One example he gave was attacking the enemies'
communication and control networks.

For now, Eberhart said he believes space policy is on the right track for
amazing things in years to come.

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