AFSPC: Space, Cyberspace Provide Advantages, Challenges

Gen. John Hyten, the Air Force Space Command commander, stresses the importance of agile information superiority during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2015. Image Credit: Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield

Gen. John Hyten, the Air Force Space Command commander, stresses the importance of agile information superiority during the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2015. Image Credit: Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Whitney Stanfield

September 19, 2015 – Gen. John Hyten, the Air Force Space Command commander, explained how space and cyberspace domains are integral components in modern and future operations during a speech at the 2015 Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition September 15.

“Everything we do is a multi-domain problem,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what problem we’re looking at, we have to figure out how to look at it from a multi-domain approach. When we do that, we will bring the power of the Air Force to bear on any problem, and that power will be enormous – that’s what it’s all about.”

Hyten talked about maintaining information superiority and safeguarding against possible threats to that information.

“You have to be able to have agile information superiority so you can adjust when an enemy does something to you that says ‘I want to take that advantage away from you,’” he said. “When that happens, you have to be able to fight. All you have to do in order to effectively have agile information superiority is get ahead of your adversary. It’s something we’ve learned in this (Air Force) since the beginning of communications.”

Those communications aren’t limited to land-based communications, he said. The Air Force also needs to be equally as focused on safeguarding satellite communications.

“The warfighters depend on (satellite) communication and if that communication is not there, then we do not fight effectively and we go back to what it looked like in World War II,” Hyten said. “I don’t know about you, but I never want to go back to that kind of fight.”

The Air Force is working on a developmental planning effort, looking at air superiority in 2030 as a full multi-domain solution.

“The amazing thing about the air superiority problem in 2030 is for it to be able to be effective, we have to have an integrated capability of air, space and cyber that is seamless,” Hyten said. “The good thing about having space and cyberspace in one command is we can actually integrate the capabilities of space and cyber and figure out how we’re putting those pieces together. That’s what we’re trying to do. All the networks are invisible, but everything is connected – for the United States Air Force to work, everything has to work together.”

From consolidating the various networks around the Air Force into one, to standing up a test Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center, the Airmen in AFSPC are working toward full integration of space and cyber into every Air Force operation.

“When you see our Airmen, you can’t help but be excited about what we’re doing,” Hyten said. “The strength of our Air Force is our Airmen, and this problem demands Airmen. It demands innovation and … if we would just give them the tools and get out of the way, they’ll figure it out.”