New space school opens doors and minds
Posted: October 10, 2001

The military has been teaching air tactics for 80 years. The Air Force's newest school is continuing that long heritage, helping to bridge the gap between air and space.

The Space Operations School graduated its first class here recently. Part of the Space Warfare Center, the school's plan is to develop tactics, techniques and procedures to enhance space power doctrine and teach officers how to put those methods to use.

The school traces it lineage back to the Army's Air Corps tactical school of the 1930s, which taught officers about the use of air power on the battlefield, and later became the center for the development of air tactics and theory. These theories resulted in the doctrine of high-altitude, precision daylight bombing, and led to the production of the B-17 and other heavy bombers.

Today, the SWC is the Air Force's think tank for space tactics and theory development and the SOPSC serves as the medium for educating space warriors. It helps further space-thinking by bringing together people from many career fields including pilots, space and missile operators, scientists, engineers and acquisition experts.

The SOPSC mission is divided among three branches: future concepts, theory and tactics, and training and education.

The future concepts branch evaluates new technologies presented at space conferences and various Air Force Research Lab sites. It develops modules of instruction, and updates and assesses space wargaming scenarios.

The theory and tactics flight acts as liaison to the Air Force Doctrine Center at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and is the SWC's lead in the development of space power theory. It works closely with Air Force Space Command units and the Air Force Weapons School to ensure warfighters have the most current space warfare tactics and procedures available.

The training and education flight concentrates on teaching space operators how they can enhance the effectiveness of commanders in the field by bringing the space aspect to the battlefield.

Courses taught at the school include the advanced space operations course, designed to give in-depth instruction of space applications and support considerations to officers and enlisted; the weapons school preparation class, which is for officers selected to attend the Air Force's elite Weapons School located at Nellis AFB, Nev.; and the senior leaders space course, used to enhance general and flag officers' knowledge of space integration.

The SOPSC also offers computer-based training courses, including orbital mechanics and satellite communication.