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Space Force holds inaugural ISR-focused conference

graphic with words United States Space Force

U.S. Space Force organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect and defend U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- U.S. Space Force held its first Senior Intelligence Officer Conference here in February. 

Originally planned as a MAJCOM-level conference, the recent establishment of USSF changed the focus of the event to Service-level issues.  The focus expanded beyond individual unit needs to discussing the future of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance within the USSF, to include training and exercises, defensive cyber operations for space, and future organizational structures.  

Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, HQ USSF deputy commander, whose mantra has long been “Intel drives Ops,” expressed his optimism about the ability of the ISR community to transform how we address emerging and expanding threats in the space domain during his conference keynote speech.

“I am so excited to see the trajectory of Space ISR.  There is no doubt that we are in a warfighting domain and ISR is driving this revolution,” said Whiting.

Col. Suzy Streeter, HQ USSF director of ISR, also spoke and highlighted the significance of the conference in bringing together the warfighter and staff echelons. She further emphasized how this is a critical time for dialogue as the sixth Service establishes new space doctrine and policies.

Col. Streeter also noted that as in every other warfighting domain, threats must be a key driver of decision-making from acquisitions to operations, and how “ISR underpins these efforts.” 
Lt. Col. Matthew Roberts, HQ USSF ISR Operations Division chief, summed up the way ahead for the USSF ISR community.

“The discussions started at this conference will continue as we determine the organizational structure and ISR missions within the USSF as space ISR professionals develop new techniques to sense, identify, attribute and share the rapidly evolving threat picture – the threat that initially spurred the establishment of the Space Force,” said Roberts.  

Within the Air Force, major commands typically hold annual Senior Intelligence Officer Conferences to bring together unit intelligence SIOs and command staff subject matter experts to address issues related to ISR unit readiness and warfighting capabilities.  As a unique USSF organizational structure is established, and the ISR structure within the USSF is formed; regular, recurring SIO conferences are expected to be held at appropriate levels within the new Service.