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[] Briefing zu U.S. Militärsatelliten,

"He said the United States has a ground system that can read the
lettering on a basketball out about 25,000 miles."

Updated: 12 Mar 2003
American Forces Press Service

U.S. Dominance in Space Makes General 'Pity the Enemy'

    By Rudi Williams
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, March 12, 2003 -- Anybody who goes against the massive
    space capability of the U.S. military "is in for a tough go," Air
    Force Maj. Gen. Franklin J. "Judd" Blaisdell told reporters during a
    Pentagon press briefing today.

    "Whether it's Iraq or any other enemy of the United States and its
    allies, I would tell you that we're so dominant in space that I
    pity a country that would come up against us," said Blaisdell, the
    Force's director of space operations and integration. "The synergy
    with air, land and sea forces and our ability to control the battle
    space and seize the high ground is devastating.

     Army Col. Steven Fox, director of the Army Space
      Program Office, and project manager for the Tactical Exploitation
    National Capabilities, told reporters during a Pentagon press
    that the Army considers itself the largest user of space

    "I don't believe that many of them understand how powerful we are,"
    the general told reporters. "All countries respect the power of the
    United States and they respect how dominant we are in this region."

    Asked what would demonstrate how much more powerful the United
    is now compared to the Gulf War, Blaisdell rattled off "speed,
    lethality, persistence, information dominance, precision and the
    battle space characterization, bombs on target, real-time battle

    "That's what we're about, and that's what we're able to deliver
    through space, air, land and sea and the capability of all of those
    come together."

    Space started playing a major role in warfare in the 1960s and early
    1970s, Blaisdell noted, harkening back to the May 1960 shootdown of
    Francis Gary Powers' U-2 plane over Russia. He said, today, in one
    day, one satellite, the Corona, could photograph more Soviet
    than 28 U-2 missions over four years.

    "Space assets will save lives. It keeps folks from putting our
    in harm's way," the general said. "It gives you that persistence,
    perspective and penetration, because space assets can get over areas
    that you wouldn't normally be able to get over with manned
    You can stay there, loiter there, and for a warfighter, you have an
    opportunity to know what's going on there -- real-time situational
    awareness, real time battle management unimpeded."

    Noting that space is a worldwide mission, Blaisdell said his
    organization has more than 33,600 people spread out in 21 different
    locations in the United States and 15 places around the world.

    Pointing out that warfighters need good communication, Blaisdell
    "Many people forget that we depend quite a bit on commercial
    communications. You need good communications if you're going to get
    the theater and be able to make a difference. Good communications is
    needed to ensure that we have information superiority for the

    Warfighters are also concerned about weather conditions, he noted.
    "You would no more go into a battle in any region in the world
    knowing the weather conditions," Blaisdell said. "For the Army,
    want to know moisture and soil content. They don't want their tanks
    bogged down. The Navy needs to know winds and sea state, iceberg
    possibilities. The Air Force will not do refueling operations in

    When it come to "space control," for space situation awareness, the
    general said, "We need to know what's happening in our space
    environment, not only for what we have, but what other countries may
    have." He said the United States has a ground system that can read
    lettering on a basketball out about 25,000 miles. But it's weather

    Col. Steven Fox, director of the Army Space Program Office and the
    project manager for the exploration of national capabilities, said
    Army considers itself the largest user of space capabilities.

    "And most recently, our Afghanistan involvement highlights how much
    rely on space," Fox said. "Space enables everything we do, from
    detection of missiles immediately upon launch so we can prepare to
    intercept them or to deal with the effects. We collect data for
    analysis and use space for dissemination of intelligence
    We use GPS for other space-based systems to locate targets, to guide
    our weapons and for navigation."

    The colonel said space assets "allow us to disseminate missile data
    warnings to soldiers very quickly so they can take the appropriate
    action. But primarily, space ensured that we had an uneven playing
    field in favor of the United States and our allies. Space is
    fundamental to the way Americans are going to fight."

    Space capabilities also help the Army keep track of supplies and
    enhance logistics operations.

    Fox said space capabilities also allow the Army to keep track of
    soldiers who are far beyond line of sight of normal communications.
    Some soldiers carry transmitters.

    Asked why some soldiers buy commercial GPS receivers, Fox said,
    sort of like your favorite brand of cell phone. So I believe some
    soldiers are used to a commercial product and they use it."

    He said a second aspect is, "when we build our military GPS
    we build them to counter threats. In that process, the size
    So, if you're a soldier, you're trying to keep as light as possible,
    so often they grab their personal device." The colonel noted that
    though that practice is discouraged, soldiers still do it.

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