Somewhere deep in Rocky Mountain country the United States is training two elite Airforce attack squadrons to protect the world — or at least the US — from space attacks. The 26th and 527th Space Aggressor Squadrons (SAS) have been tasked with protecting our space assets, developing strategies to secure our space interests, and mounting a defense against extraterrestrial invaders that, on paper, sounds a lot like a Michael Bay script.
Both squadrons are currently tasked with playing the role of the bad guys in intergalactic simulations designed to train US troops should such a battle occur.
Most of the role-playing centers around cyberwarfare. Brute force jamming — using satellite networks to scramble communications — and training US troops to operate without GPS or satellite communications are among the most common scenarios.
Captain Christopher Barnes of the 26th SAS told Seeker:
We study threats to the space realm, either coming from space or based on land. If we can’t directly replicate them with hardware, then we figure out if there’s a software solution or some way we can train people to the point where they can fight through them, if they have to, in a conflict.
The Office of Space Commerce writes: “If you think it is hard to get work done when your Internet connection goes out at the office, imagine losing that plus your cell phone, TV, radio, ATM access, credit cards, and possibly even your electricity.”
While it sounds far-fetched, we’re nearing an era where protecting space assets is becoming increasingly important. From corporate satellites to extensive infrastructure set to be put in place for future government and private missions, it makes sense to have a plan in place, even if we’re never forced to use it.