Tuesday, June 18

Space Force leverages commercial data analytics to aid combatant commands in new ways > United States Space Force > Article Display

A pilot program developed by Space Systems Command is utilizing commercial-data analytics powered by commercially and publicly available information to provide timely surveillance, reconnaissance and tracking products to combatant commands. Known as the Tactical Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Tracking Program, or TacSRT, the pilot program is a U.S. Space Force chief of space operations initiative to rapidly deliver commercial data analytics Operational Planning Products, or OPPs, through the USSF field components to meet unified combatant command needs.

TacSRT is designed to directly implement the U.S. Space Force Commercial Space Strategy by taking advantage of speed, innovation and capabilities offered by the commercial sector to create strategic advantage and support combatant commanders.

TacSRT provides a rapid, dynamic and competitive acquisition process for commercial vendors to receive taskings and deliver analytical products using space sensing data through a Global Data Marketplace, or GDM. The GDM is a web-based, one-stop shop interface allowing the TacSRT Cell to advertise, award, and fund short-term surveillance, reconnaissance and tracking contracts with commercial vendors. TacSRT is advancing how to best use space based commercial resources, making real-time modifications and improvements to maximize the analytical benefits for warfighter needs.

Working with global space partners, TacSRT continues to improve its methodology to develop products that can be used in real-time by U.S. ground forces to make better operational decisions during crisis. A recent example of these improvements was during the May 2024 Brazilian floods that endangered the U.S. consular general, consulate staff and their 18 families. In under 48 hours from tasking, TacSRT identified that pre-planned evacuation routes to local airports were no longer viable, and helped develop a new route that was successfully used to evacuate all U.S. personnel and their families on May 9.

Earlier this year, TacSRT again proved its mettle by providing U.S. Southern Command with near real-time tracking of devastating wildfires sweeping across Chile and Colombia.

“The commercial data analytics provided by the TacSRT team adapted quickly to the dynamic wildfire environment in our operations in Chile and Colombia,” said Col. Jonathan Whitaker, USSOUTHCOM director of Space Forces. “The response of the team was dynamic and persistent as fire fighters worked to get ahead of the blaze. In 22 years of service as a space operator, I have never been involved in a more tactical application of space capability.”

TacSRT works by connecting space component requests with commercial businesses to perform short-term projects and address specific problems. Once the mission is accomplished, feedback and lessons learned are aggregated to refine future operations.

According to Capt. Travis Osborn, a space operator by trade and the strategic engagement lead for TacSRT, the goal of TacSRT is to tap into underutilized commercial resources to meet the needs of military personnel in the field.

“It’s really operations and acquisition working hand-in-hand to deliver the best possible capacity for the warfighter,” Osborn said.

Because the data used to create OPPs comes from commercial sources, OPPs are readily releasable to partner nations enhancing the combatant command’s ability to conduct security cooperation. As a result, potentially life-saving data can be delivered to combatant commands in near-real time to inform and accelerate emergency response activities.

In Columbia and Chile, for example, understanding of the direction of the fire’s spread, its proximity to populated areas, and the condition of the roadways entering and exiting fire-engulfed areas played a critical role in disaster mitigation efforts. Thanks to TacSRT, this information was available quickly and seamlessly, helping the two partner nations more effectively respond to the crises facing them.

In total, TacSRT tracked 34 wildfires across 12 locations in Columbia and 57 wildfires across 33 locations in Chile, with less than 72 hours between the initial request and daily OPP deliveries that continuously identified hot spots, burn direction, blocked roads and highlighted at-risk populations and critical infrastructure.

“We’re able to leverage and apply emerging, commercial data analytics and space sensing capabilities to deliver collaborative and potentially lifesaving OPPs at the speed of relevance,” said Maj. Montana Collie, TacSRT program manager. “In a matter of hours, our team can translate plain-text queries from the space components into scoped requirements and select best-value, commercial vendors to deliver unclassified, fully releasable OPPs.”

The idea for TacSRT germinated and grew back in July 2023. While deployed to Colombia for USSOUTHCOM’s exercise Resolute Sentinel, a four-member TacSRT pilot team contributed to real-world operations when they used OPPs to identify potentially illegal fishing vessels in Peruvian waters and to provide analysis of an erupting volcano in Colombia that enabled dynamic disaster response planning.

Leveraging commercial data is a key enabler, Collie noted. “The innovation in the commercial sector is simply amazing, and we need to do everything we can to present this capability to the warfighter.”

Indeed, word of TacSRT appears to be spreading quickly. Already this year, the TacSRT team has partnered with USSOUTHCOM’s director of Space Forces, Space Forces Europe-Africa, Space Forces Central, Space Forces Indo-Pacific, and Special Operations Command Space Force Special Operations Element.

“This pilot program has shown that SSC can deliver value-added information in a multitude of unique ways to benefit not only joint force operations, but also assist in international humanitarian efforts,” said Col. Daniel Visosky, senior materiel leader for the Environmental and Tactical Surveillance Delta. “As this program moves ahead, we will look to solidifying our relationships with the Space Force component commands and further partnering with our commercial counterparts in the intelligence community,” he added.

It’s also one more way in which SSC is helping to deliver capabilities faster through commercial partnerships.




source: www.spaceforce.mil