Concept of Operations for the Small Unit Space Transport

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                  Version 2.0

        Concept of Operations
                for the
Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion
        (SUSTAIN) Capability
              18 November 2008

                  Version 2.0


                                      Table of Contents

Executive Summary
1 Scope
  1.1 CONOPS Purpose
  1.2 CONOPS Organization
  1.3 Acknowledgements
2 General User-Oriented Description of SUSTAIN
  2.1 Basing and Readiness Concepts
  2.2 Insertion and Extraction Concepts
  2.3 Command and Control Concepts
  2.4 Support and Sustainment Concepts (DOTMLPF)
3 Force Capability Gaps and Documented SUSTAIN-Related Needs
  3.1 Joint Force Capability Gaps
  3.1.1 Functional Concept Component
  3.1.2 Operational Mission and Function Deficiencies Mobility and Maneuver Firepower
  3.2 Documented Joint and Special Operations Force (SOF) Needs for SUSTAIN
  3.2.1 Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO)
  3.2.2 Special Operations Space Enabling Concept
  3.2.3 Marine Corps SUSTAIN Universal Need Statement (UNS)
  3.2.4 Prompt Global Strike Mission Need Statement (MNS)
  3.3 Joint Force Attributes and Functional Concepts
  3.3.1 Joint Force Attributes. SUSTAIN seeks to enhance the following Joint Force Attributes:
  3.3.2 Joint Functional Concepts
  3.3.3 Force Application Functional Concept (FAFC)
4 Operational User SUSTAIN-Applicable Core Missions
  4.1 U.S. SOCOM Core Missions
  4.1.1 Counterterrorism (CT)
  4.1.2 Counter proliferation (CP)
  4.1.3 Special Reconnaissance (SR)
  4.1.4 Direct Action (DA)
  4.1.5 Unconventional Warfare (UW)
  4.1.6 Information Operations (10)
  4.1.7 Psychological Operations (PSYOP)
  4.1.8 Foreign Internal Defense (FID)
  4.1.9 Civil Affairs Operations (CAO)
  4.2 Air Force Missions Suited to SUSTAIN Support
  4.2.1 Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)
  4.2.2 Air Force Security Forces (AFSF)
  4.2.3 Air Force Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)
  4.3 U.S. Marine Corps Missions Suited to SUSTAIN Support
  4.3.1 Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC)
  4.3.2 Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF)


5 SUSTAIN Operational Vignettes and Scenarios - Introduction
6 SUSTAIN Organization, Command, and Control
  6.1 SUSTAIN Alert Status and Execution Authority
  6.2 SUSTAIN-Enabling Space Service Leadership
  6.4 SUSTAIN Basing Requirements
  6.4.1 CONUS Space Ports
  6.4.2 Forward-Expeditionary Space Ports
  6.4.3 Carrier Launch Capability
  6.4.4 Low Earth Orbit Military Space Station
  6.5 Expendable vs Reusable SUSTAIN Vehicles
  6.6 SUSTAIN-Inserted Force Sustainability
  6.7 Defining Operational Utility of SUSTAIN
  6.7.1 Initial Spirals of SUSTAIN Capabilities
  6.7.2 Objective Spiral of SUSTAIN Capability
Appendix A: References
Appendix B: Glossary


                                        Executive Summary

Author’s Note: SUSTAIN CONOPS incorporates the comments received from participants at
the SUSTAIN CONOPS Conference held at the NSSO in Fairfax, VA on 18-19 Sep 2008.
Version 2.0 now focuses on U.S. Special Operations Command as the principle operational user

“The [USSOCOM] direct approach addresses the immediate requirement to pursue terrorists,
their infrastructure and their resources…In the dynamic and ambiguous environments that
constitute today’s battlefields, the ability to rapidly analyze and exploit information is key to fast
sequential targeting. This requires unique skills, specialized technologies and flexible mobility.
We understand the necessity of prosecuting targets with speed, precision and discipline.”

     Admiral Eric Olson, USSOCOM, Senate Armed Services Committee Testimony, 2008

“Space transport systems could facilitate expeditious delivery of special teams to any point
globally as fast as humanly possible in the 2015-2020 timeframe… SOF space lift and transport
will require low visibility, low probability of identification, detection, and exploitation to
maintain and preserve force protection and operational security. SOF space lift will require
flexible orbital insertion or have maneuverable capability to obtain target orbits or positions
once launched.”

Brigadier General Remo Butler, USSOCOM, Special Operations Space Enabling Concept, 2004

“Space is the only practical environment through which small numbers of combat Marines can
be transported at sufficient speed to insure the relevance of global terrestrial force projection at
the earliest stages of conflict. The Marine Corps needs a capability to transport small, mission
tailored units through space from any point on the globe to a contingency at any other point on
the globe within minutes of a National Command Authority (NCA) decision to introduce such
     Lieutenant General Buck Bedard, USMC, SUSTAIN Universal Need Statement, 2002

The Capstone Concept for Special Operations (CCSO) states that U.S. national security in the
21st Century will remain characterized by a Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The
prosecution of GWOT will include actions to counter regional instability arising from ethnic,
religious, cultural and economic disputes. Additionally, the United States has committed itself to
stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by rogue states or terrorist
clients. The primary tool for stopping proliferation in the operational environment is SOF.
As a result, U.S. SOF must prepare for a continued high tempo of expeditionary operations and
contingency responses. Likely engagements for SOF range across a spectrum from support to
Major Combat Operations (MCO) to SOCOM’s core mission set based on the specialized team
construct. U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) provides the highest leverage
outcomes employing small, specialized, independently operating teams in this regard, and will
assume an ever increasing role in Joint Force operations in the future.


This increased SOF role is described in the USSOCOM Capstone Concept for Special
Operations (CCSO). The CCSO emphasizes that not since World War II has the U.S. relied so
heavily on its SOF, but notes that the mission evolution of SOF is not complete, and the need to
transform in order to meet future challenges is unremitting. Transformation requires higher
tempo of force evolution, not in response to our adversaries, but in advance of our adversaries. It
requires a willingness to look beyond pressing issues of the day and prepare to engage an
adversary that is not yet in our sights. In this spirit, the CCSO outlines an overarching depiction
of how the SOF community will support national strategic and military objectives beyond the
Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP).

The CCSO observes that the U.S. will continue to battle a networked and technologically savvy
adversary that utilizes non-conventional methods of warfare as its primary means of operation.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) will continue to be the highest leverage threat that our
enemy can bring to bear against the nation. Increasingly, threats such as WMD and the High
Value Target (HVT) individuals who harbor them present only fleeting opportunities for
interception or neutralization. As the U.S. preeminent capability for Counter terrorism (CT),
Unconventional warfare (UW) and Direct Action (DA), SOF is particularly disadvantaged by
traditional military response timelines that do not succeed in defeating such nimble adversaries,
globally. In order for SOF to defeat these enemies through superior tempo, USSOCOM and the
Joint Special Operations community must integrate our nation’s superior national, operational,
and tactical real-time intelligence capabilities with a revolutionary global transport capability for
full effect. The Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) capability will maintain
that higher SOF tempo in the 21st century.

Since September 11th, the U.S. in general, and the Department of Defense (DoD) and US-
SOCOM in particular, have been adjusting to realities of the GWOT. The traditional threats of
the last century are today eclipsed by a non-conventional enemy. In this USSOCOM must be
prepared for a strategic environment characterized by geopolitical uncertainties, rapid
technological advances, emerging and evolving threats, constrained resources, and evolving roles
in the GWOT. Future challenges to international stability and security include the threat posed
by the continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological,
radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) devices on a global scale. Terrorist groups with the ability to
construct, move, and employ such weapons represent a growing peril. SOF must also continue to
cultivate its direct ability to find, fix, track, and eliminate specific enemy targets globally.
Influence, information, and intelligence, and as necessary DE are best assured through the
situational curiosity of SOF teams on the ground. In this spirit, USSOCOM is committed to bold
initiatives and new approaches that will ensure its future success. In this regard, SUSTAIN force
introduction will be a centerpiece of Joint Expeditionary Special Operations Force (JESOF)
mobility transformation.

The expeditionary nature of Joint SOF will allow for tailorable force packages capable of con-
ducting operations in countries and regions of interest anywhere in the world. These tailorable
force packages will provide COCOMs with a highly responsive and adaptable instrument to
influence operations or resolve crises. With respect to responsiveness SUSTAIN provides a
leap-ahead improvement over traditional aerospace transport for those teams.


SOCOM teams organize, train and equip specifically for operations globally. Yet, absent the
preexisting forward deployment of teams, transport of teams and capabilities is limited to
terrestrial air, land, sea, and undersea vehicle speeds. New concepts for aircraft carrier and
amphibious shipping Sea Bases expand SOCOM basing options, offering political leaders
increased freedom of action; however land-locked areas of operation and overflight restrictions
still present SOF insertion constraints. The SUSTAIN capability provides SOF teams in support
of the Joint Force Commander (JFC) or national command Authority (NCA) the capacity to be
rapidly transported to any point on the globe, effectively instantaneously. The objective
SUSTAIN capability spans the full spectrum of Special Forces (SF) employment, to include a
wide range of manned and unmanned payloads.

A fundamental advantage of a SUSTAIN capability with global reach stems from its inherent
operational mobility, or more precisely its operational agility. Specifically, it provides the high-
speed transport necessary to rapidly move credible specialized forces to remote locations with
precision. Furthermore, it provides this capability within minutes and hours of execution orders
as opposed to days associated with conventional terrestrial transportation. Equally suitable for
operations from land-based airfields, space ports, SUSTAIN vehicle-capable carrier ships, or
military space stations, SUSTAIN provides the Joint Force Commander (JFC) virtually unlimited
basing options for Special Forces (SF) team insertion and extraction.
SUSTAIN will constitute the first family of multi-mission military aerospace vehicles to include
a man-rated space vehicle in the SOCOM tool kit. It will blend the versatility of tactical assault
support aircraft with the revolutionary speed and global reach that can only be achieved with a
suborbital or orbital space craft. SUSTAIN is planned as a combined arms compliment to
conventional all-terrestrial aircraft capabilities such as the CV-22, C-130, and the other fixed and
rotary wing aircraft in the SOCOM inventory. SUSTAIN is a high leverage capability that will
greatly expand JESOF and national options in an age where timely response to crises in their
infancy can mitigate the need for an escalation of hostilities at an increased national cost.


1 Scope

This Concept of Operations (CONOPS) describes the employment of a SUSTAIN capability
focused overwhelmingly on the specific needs of SOCOM forces and the unique global
contributions that SOCOM makes to Joint Forces in the realm of Counterterrorism (CT). In
addition to traditional CONOPS content, such as the USSOCOM Advanced Tactical Laser
(ATL) CONOPS format, this document also includes some elements that are normally associated
with a Concept of Employment (COE), such as the V-22 COE format. The reason is that
SUSTAIN is a technology opportunity-based capability, wherein the possible platforms,
vehicles, and support concepts by physical necessity lead to a family of space-dependent
solutions. Only space-enabled solutions combine the necessary speed, global reach, and
unconstrained overflight. In short, the SUSTAIN CONOPS by necessity leads to a space-
enabled SUSTAIN COE.

1.1 CONOPS Purpose

This CONOPS is produced in partial fulfillment of the National Security Space Plan (NSSP). In
that document the Under Secretary of the Air Force directed that a study be conducted to assess a
responsive, reusable space lift capability. This assessment considered manned and unmanned
capabilities including “potential operations concepts” and a technology roadmap. This CONOPS
is intended to lay the foundation for a follow-on technology roadmap.

This CONOPS focuses on SUSTAIN supporting United States Special Operations Command
(USSOCOM) forces as they participate in joint expeditionary operations and national special
missions. The SUSTAIN CONOPS is intended as a baseline reference document with a
threefold purpose, namely: 1) stimulate early discussion of the tactics and support processes
needed for 21" century SOF team missions, 2) highlight likely opportunities to expand
USSOCOM mobility-related doctrine and theater Operational Plans (OPLAN), and 3) identify
needs for enhanced SOCOM capabilities to guide future development. The CONOPS also
provides SOCOM and DoD a means for explaining to external audiences how SUSTAIN
supports the National Defense Strategy (NDS).

Annex A to this CONOPS features several operational vignettes that highlight SUSTAIN
employment concepts and full spectrum utility. Employment scenarios are set in the year 2019
and beyond, a period when space-enabled SUSTAIN will operate in support of Special
Operations Forces (SOF) in concert with other advanced terrestrial aerospace capabilities such as
the CV-22, F-22, Joint Strike Fighter, C-17, and other and future attack, assault support, and
transport aircraft. Scenarios also anticipate CONUS “space ports” such as the operational
Mojave Space Port adjacent to Edwards AFB, CA and others planned for New Mexico,
Oklahoma, and Florida. Similarly, expeditionary space ports in Guam, Diego Garcia, Alaska,
Hawaii, and other forward based locations aboard or adjacent to U.S. military air facilities for
SOF responsiveness and agility are assumed. Finally, scenarios anticipate aircraft carrier and
low earth orbital expeditionary SOF SUSTAIN basing are considered as options.

1.2 CONOPS Organization


The CONOPS is organized into six (6) sections and two (2) appendices (A and B):

   •   Section 1 is an Executive Overview of the CONOPS.

   •   Section 2 contains a general description of SOF SUSTAIN, and outlines basing, platform,
       vehicle, execution, and sustainment characteristics.

   •   Section 3 first discusses the SUSTAIN need from the USSOCOM and Joint Forces
       perspective, relating it to Joint concepts as well as specific documented operational

   •   Section 4 discusses the core missions of USSOCOM, USSOCOM Service Components
       and other potential DoD users of the SUSTAIN capability.

   •   Section 5 introduces the SOF SUSTAIN scenarios and vignettes that are discussed in a
       separate and detailed classified Annex to this CONOPS.

   •   Section 6 discusses significant organizational and political issues requiring attention in
       order to optimize warfighter employment of SUSTAIN.

   •   Appendix A lists the SUSTAIN CONOPS references and Appendix B is a glossary of
       terms and acronyms used in this CONOPS.

1.3 Acknowledgements

The support and assistance received from numerous agencies, both civil and military, during the
SUSTAIN CONOPS development and review process is greatly appreciated. Of special
importance was the assistance provided by the following organizations: National Security Space
office (NSSO), U.S. Air Force (AF), and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).

2 General User-Oriented Description of SUSTAIN

The SUSTAIN capability provides the Joint Force Commander (JFC) a capacity to rapidly
transport operationally relevant SOF capabilities to any point on the globe, effectively
instantaneously. The SUSTAIN capability spans the full spectrum of global capability, from
manned SOF insertion to unmanned autonomous warfighting and logistics related payload
delivery. Space transport and insertion are the only means of attaining the needed speed and
avoiding overflight restrictions in order to guarantee the virtually immediate physical appearance
of fully relevant combined arms Joint Force capabilities anywhere, anytime. SUSTAIN also
potentially provides SOF the capability to conduct manned space control missions in conjunction
with urgent Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) needs.


       Figure 1. SUSTAIN overcomes anti-access strategies and over-flight restrictions.

The SUSTAIN should enable mission-tailored SOF to be transported from any point on the globe
to a contingency at any other point on the globe within minutes of a National Command
Authority (NCA) decision to introduce such forces. This SUSTAIN capability must include
flexibility and agility of response that allows SOF teams and payloads to loiter on-orbit in
reasonable time/distance proximity of the battlespace of interest to optimize the time of
intervention. It also includes the requirement to transport, insert, support maneuver of, extract,
and egress the Joint Force without the requirement for intermediate logistical reconstitution. The
SUSTAIN capability calls for a basic modular transport system that enables a SOF unit to be
inserted individually, by sequential echelons or by a larger formation.

2.1 Basing and Readiness Concepts

2.2 Insertion and Extraction Concepts

Space Insertion with Terrestrial Extraction. As reusable launch technologies become more cost
effective this would serve as the next logical step in fully operationalizing the SUSTAIN.
Although terrestrial extraction would remain dependent on evolutionary technologies and
techniques, the space insertion phase would combine speed of transit with freedom to enter the


contingency area in a transformational manner heretofore not yet demonstrated. This would
serve as a further step in refining and proving the value of the objective SUSTAIN.

Space Insertion and Extraction with Refueling. This step represents the operationalization of the
objective SUSTAIN in most respects, with the exception of unrefueled mission cycle self-
sufficiency. Options include on-orbit SUSTAIN refueling prior to insertion and following
egress, space station logistical or personnel reconstitution, or a combination of all.

Space Insertion and Extraction without Refueling. Discussed in greater detail below, this is the
objective SUSTAIN material approach, and the ultimate beneficiary of the interim capability
steps discussed above. If the various science and technology (S&T) paths and resultant
capabilities are rationally integrated, the objective SUSTAIN will be realized sooner and more

2.3 Command and Control Concepts

2.4 Support and Sustainment Concepts (DOTMLPF)

   •   Doctrine. The SUSTAIN capability is necessarily designed around what is known today
       of basic warfighter organization at the SOF team. The small unit as defined in SUSTAIN
       is 12-14 personnel for specific reasons. It is the size of the team element that is basic to
       USSOCOM. 12-14 combat personnel is approximately the traditional design parameter
       for tactical assault support platforms, whether they were surface ground, water, transport
       helicopter, or tilt-rotor aircraft. This unit size has even been employed as the stick
       parameter used for combat gliders, a platform that was conceptually a functional
       forerunner of SUSTAIN. The assumption is that the enduring utility of the squad-team
       sized unit as the smallest viable combat element will continue to be its capability to
       conduct limited independent operations, especially within the Special Operations
       Command (SOCOM) construct. Furthermore, the technology-enabled warfighting
       capacity of small units will increase.

   •   Organization. A SUSTAIN Family of Assault Support Capabilities (SUSTAIN FASC) is
       envisioned as a revolutionary follow-on to evolutionary air, land, and sea assault support,
       even if only as a complimentary capability. Once SUSTAIN has matured in the SOCOM
       operating environment, the physical SUSTAIN capability could be fielded and manned in
       quantities similar to Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Battalions or Assault Support
       Squadrons. Logistics, Command and Control (C2) and fire support capabilities variants
       would be fielded and organized in appropriately complementary numbers. Principles of
       attachment, cross-attachment, direct support, and general support would apply as they do
       for other assault support and fire support platforms. SUSTAIN Composite Squadrons are
       conceivable. Under a Space Force or Space Service the SUSTAIN capability, matured in
       operations by USSOCOM, could expand to have broad general utility.

   •   Training. Significant training will have to be undertaken by SOF to operate and maintain
       SUSTAIN proficiency. Whether SUSTAIN vehicles and infrastructure are owned by
       USSOCOM, or a future Space Service is a separate set of organizational and political


    issues. Pilot, launch and maintainer personnel training will be impacted by those
    discussions and whichever organization is assigned ownership and advocacy functions
    for SUSTAIN will inherit that particular training responsibility. However, as it pertains
    to SOF teams that fly on SUSTAIN it is the responsibility of those users to train their
    specialized small units to become proficient SF passengers. This also requires those
    users to commit themselves to the creation and integration of SUSTAIN tactics,
    techniques and procedures (TTPs) into their roles and missions, as appropriate. As an
    analogy, the Marine Corps cannot effectively embark a Marine Expeditionary Unit
    (MEU) without first thoroughly training with its host Amphibious Squadron ships.
    SUSTAIN is no different for USSOCOM. If for example the platform and infrastructure
    came to be owned by Air Force or a future Space Service SOCOM would need to
    continuously conduct Joint training, just as they might today with Air Mobility Command
    (AMC) assets. SUSTAIN should incorporate integrated training and simulation devices
    to the maximum extent possible due to the significant projected expense associated with
    any actual SUSTAIN operations.

•   Material. SUSTAIN is proposed as a material solution only, as it is believed that the
    required global response timelines could not be met by a non-material solution. It is
    believed that a competitive comparison of candidate solutions could occur as early as
    2015, followed by operational experimentation. Due to the nature of employment, the
    Table of Equipment (T/E) should encompass a SUSTAIN capabilities embodying assault
    support transport, logistics/recovery, fire support, and C2, similar to evolutionary families
    of land, sea, and air assault.

•   Logistics. Logistics training requirements to support SUSTAIN, as well as all of its sub-
    capabilities, should make the greatest possible use of existing Joint Forces experience and
    facilities. The designation of new Military Operational Specialties (MOS) will become
    necessary throughout USSOCOM and its Service Components with regard to SUSTAIN
    maintenance and supply generally, and advanced weapons and equipment repairmen and
    technicians specifically. Training of operators and maintainers should be compatible
    with existing training concepts in the USSOCOM Aviation community, whenever
    possible. Additional required training must be integrated into the future curricula taught
    at SOF and Service Schools.

•   Personnel. Revolutionary military equipment such as that which SUSTAIN introduces
    will require the establishment of new MOS. Personnel will need to be taken from other
    SOF Aviation and Joint Aviation communities with Air Force Special Operations
    Command (AFSOC) being the most likely source. Some pilots will have to be retrained
    as spaceplane pilots with many new skill sets relating to astronautics. Maintainers and
    operational crews will need to adapt to aerospace platforms having physical and
    operational characteristics radically different from the terrestrial military aircraft they
    have become accustomed to. Personnel from all Services should be considered as a
    larger pool, as some Joint Force growth is inevitable. A new and Separate Service is
    worthy of consideration and will be discussed later in this CONOPS.


   •   Facilities. SUSTAIN should seek to minimize construction or procurement of new
       facilities to the greatest extent possible, as space-related infrastructure is expensive.
       Several states are establishing spaceports and their associated infrastructure in support of
       the rapidly expanding space tourism industry. These spaceports are often collocated
       with, or relatively near to military installations. The Services and Joint Forces should
       seek to maximally leverage this on-going investment. New investment will become
       necessary for the carrier certification and qualification of some small Single Stage To
       Orbit (SSTO) SUSTAIN variants as well as the expeditionary spaceport basing that might
       be sought aboard Guam, Diego Garcia, or other forward-based locations.

3 SOCOM Capability Gaps and Documented SUSTAIN-Related Needs

3.1 SOCOM Capability Gaps

3.1.1 Functional Concept Component

The primary functional component deficiency that this CONOPS addresses is a projection that
given current trends, USSOCOM will lack an Expeditionary Attribute of tempo dominance in the
future. In coming years there will exist a gap between SOF’s real-time, speed-of-light awareness
of details regarding unfolding global contingencies and their actual ability to respond relevantly
and effectively to said contingencies. From the standpoints of relative tempo, operational
security (OPSEC), and geographic proximity, SOF teams will become less rapidly deployable,
employable, and sustainable throughout the global battlespace relative to the tempo of adversary
actions. Anti-access and area-denial environments combined with longer range and more lethal
adversary weapons will compound this relatively slowed responsiveness. SOCOM elements will
not be capable of rapid deployment and immediate employment, or be capable of seamlessly
handing off to conventional forces for sustained operations as a crisis or conflict develops.

3.1.2 Operational Mission and Function Deficiencies

While the speed of terrestrial and national security space Intelligence Surveillance, and
Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities is keeping pace with the accelerated tempo of localized events
in the modern world, the ability of SOF teams to physically respond (troops on the ground) at
any global locality is not. If this deficiency is not resolved, SOCOM will become increasingly
less capable of appearing on the scene to respond relevantly and effectively to exploit strategic
opportunities or minimize strategic damage at the earliest stages of a contingency. To illustrate
the deficiencies, the following functions that are essential for SOF in order that the military
objectives of the JFC and/or the NCA are achieved, increasingly cannot be performed without
unacceptable limitations. Mobility and Maneuver

A deficiency exists with respect to SOCOM’s ability to deliver tailored SOF teams to any
terrestrial point globally in order to act on current intelligence. Instead, SOF insertion options
are limited by speed, range, signature, and vulnerability of evolutionary aerospace, land and
undersea insertion technologies, as well as the vulnerability of expeditionary delivery platforms.


The highest speed of global SOCOM insertion from CONUS is limited to that of jet aircraft
arriving within the constraints of in-flight refueling, foreign airspace over-flight restrictions, non-
permissive air-defense environments, and the possible absence of suitable airfields. It should be
noted that airspace sovereignty is commonly accepted as extending to an altitude of 50 miles
above the surface of the earth. Similarly, the highest speed of global surface SOF movement is
limited to that of ships, boats, assault amphibians, hovercraft, wheeled and tracked land vehicles,
and combat swimmers, all significantly slower than terrestrial aviation platforms. Other
constraints include underway replenishment, 12-mile littoral coastal sovereignty, emergent anti-
ship threats, and known challenges of overland movement in restrictive or non-permissive land
combat environments. Firepower

The weapons that will threaten independently operating SOF in the 21st Century will continue to
advance in terms of range, speed, and lethality. The pace of the advancements in adversary
tactical, offensive anti-air, land, and surface threat capabilities has been greater than the pace of
the U.S.’s capability to counter them with improvements to protection and conventional kinetic
weapons technologies alone. Revolutionary weapons capabilities are needed to preserve assault
support insertion of SOF as a viable course of action for the JFC.

3.2 Documented Needs for SUSTAIN-Related Capabilities

3.2.1 Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO) dated Aug 2005 - Excerpts

The CCJO recognizes the need for historically unprecedented speed and global reach in Joint
Force Operations. The CCJO states:

   •   “Recognizing that we cannot cover the entire globe with forward postured military
       forces, overcoming time-distance and access challenges will remain key to effectively
       preventing and responding to crises…The future joint force will increasingly require a
       mechanism to enable global sourcing of military forces and capabilities; in order to
       leverage the most responsive, best positioned forces at the time of need.”

The CCJO also notes the requirement for advanced transport capabilities:

   •   “The joint force will exploit all available military and commercial lift, including
       advanced military lift platforms. Advanced platforms will allow the joint force to avoid
       deploying into predictable and vulnerable ports and airheads, posing increased dilemmas
       to the adversary. This ability also allows the joint force to respond in a matter of days
       rather than weeks.”

The expeditionary nature of the future force is also highlighted in the CCJO:

   •   “An expeditionary joint force is organized, postured and capable of rapid and
       simultaneous deployment, employment, and sustainment. Implicit in this is a joint force
       that converges mission-tailored capabilities at the desired point of action from dispersed


       locations around the globe, regardless of anti-access or area-denial environments. As
       elusive and adaptive adversaries seek refuge in remote and inaccessible areas, the norm
       will be short-notice operations, austere operational environments, incomplete information
       and the requirement to fight on arrival throughout the battlespace…”

The CCJO continues with a discussion of the criticality of speed:

   •   “Key to effectively controlling tempo is the ability to be faster than the adversary or
       situational events. The speed at which forces maneuver and engage, or decisions are
       made, or relief is provided, will largely determine operational successes or failures.
       Successfully overcoming future challenges may require speed of action across all
       domains. Acting fast is in itself a force multiplier and often a requisite for the effective
       application of military capabilities.”

Finally, with respect to agility the CCJO states:

   •   “An agile joint force has the ability to move quickly and seamlessly to defuse (or help
       defuse) a crisis situation or effectively operate inside the decision loop of even the most
       capable adversary. Agility is about timeliness [permitting] JFCs to exploit fleeting

3.2.2 Special Operations Space Enabling Concept dated 25 May 2004 - Excerpts:

“The purpose of the Special Operations Forces Space Enabling Concept (SOFSEC) is to state
desired space and space related capabilities needed to enhance SOF potential in the 2015-2020
timeframe…The central theme is how space can support SOF in the long term prosecution of the
War on Terrorism, and how space can be leveraged as a force-multiplier for the range of SOF
missions and functions...”

“In the 2015-2020 timeframe force application may be a new mission area for space. Barring any
national policy, legal challenges, impediments, or technical hurdles, the U.S. may be able to
demonstrate the capability to deploy kinetic and passive weapons and platforms in space. This
capability would represent a new era in the military's use of space and will require
knowledgeable SOF with forward thinking and resources to implement and maximize the
effectiveness of force applications from space.”

“…space transport systems could facilitate expeditious delivery of special teams to any point
globally as fast as humanly possible in the 2015-2020 timeframe. As space systems are fielded to
combat support agencies, entities, forces and units, a capability will be required that provides for
maintenance, sustainment and reconstitution of space resource elements, components and
systems to users in all operational environments and conditions. Sustainment planning needs to
be coordinated and programmed early in the development phases of new space capabilities.”

“Space Lift and Transport…SOF space lift and transport will require low visibility, low
probability of identification, detection, and exploitation to maintain and preserve force protection
and operational security. SOF space lift will require flexible orbital insertion or have


maneuverable capability to obtain target orbits or positions once launched. For extra vehicular
operations in space, SOF would continue to leverage existing skills of the Astronaut Corps to
provide human surveillance from space orbiting vehicles or platforms.”

“Force application systems are [also] needed to support SOF and conventional forces. These
space-based assets whether on a satellite or Space Maneuverable Vehicles (SMV) will provide a
kinetic or passive capability for use in conflict and act as a deterrent in pre-crisis situations. SOF
operators should have the ability to rapidly direct this capability, affecting the target within
minutes or seconds of a request. This capability can have huge implications in fighting the

3.2.3 Marine Corps SUSTAIN Universal Need Statement dated 22 Jul 2002 - Excerpts:

“The Marine Corps needs a capability to transport small, mission-tailored units through space
from any point on the globe to a contingency at any other point on the globe within minutes of a
National Command Authority (NCA) decision to introduce such forces. This includes a need for
flexibility, such as the ability to loiter in low earth orbit to optimize the time of insertion, as well
as the ability to be extracted from the contingency area without a need for transport refueling.
Finally, this capability needs to include a self-sufficient combined arms weapons capability for
self-defense en route, during terrestrial mission execution, and during extraction and egress.”

“The War on Terrorism highlights the need for flexible, rapid US response options to
contingencies around the world at their earliest stages, ideally within seconds and minutes of
their identification. It is plausible that despite the continuous forward presence of deployed
expeditionary forces such as Marine Expeditionary Units, the US will not be able to immediately
appear on the battlefield to exploit strategic opportunities at any point on the globe. The scope of
intervention necessary to contain or neutralize a contingency grows exponentially as the time
between the decision to take action and the physical intervention increases. Earliest intervention
results in minimal force application with consequent minimal visibility at the lowest national
cost. The range of early intervention options needs to span the lethality-response spectrum from
the soft and impersonal electromagnetically delivered messages of the Information Operations
campaign, to hard and impersonal area and precision munitions effects delivery, to the
immediate physical presence of fully mission-tailored Marine Corps small units on the ground at
the site of the developing contingency. In addition to the War on Terrorism, this need applies to
other Marine Corps actions in Operations Other Than War (OOTH) and conventional operations,
where the strategic opportunities of immediate intervention I using the full range of US options,
including Marines on the ground outweigh the risks and costs of such actions.”

“A clear deficiency remains with respect to any US ability to physically deliver relevantly
tailored forces to any terrestrial point globally in order to act on current intelligence relevantly.
Instead, small unit insertion options are limited by the speed, range, signature and vulnerability
of tactical terrestrial insertion technologies as well as the proximity of host platforms. The
highest speed of global small unit insertion from CONUS is limited to that of jet aircraft arriving
within the constraints of in-flight refueling, foreign airspace over-flight restrictions, possible
non-permissive air-defense environments, and the absence of suitable airfields. Under the more
favorable circumstance where host platforms are in-theater, such as Navy ships or foreign


expeditionary, commercial, and military airfields, previously noted shortfalls are compounded by
lower transport altitude, airspeed, or water speed in the case of small boats.”

“The capability that results from the fulfillment of the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion
Need must include the following characteristics:

   •   Negligible sensor-detectable cross-section. Capability must have a minimal radar and
       magnified-optical cross-section as it enters the theater in which the contingency is
       located. During atmospheric reentry and tactical flight operation it also needs to have a
       minimal acoustic signature.

   •   Kinetic air defense survivability. The combination of speed, altitude, and stealth of the
       capability must place it outside of the ballistic or kinematic engagement envelopes of
       current and future evolutionary anti-aircraft gun and missile systems.

   •   Orbital sustainment. The capability must enable the attainment and maintenance of low-
       earth orbit, for loiter as required to optimize insertion timing or to stand-by pending
       mission abort, depending on how the developing contingency is interpreted by supported
       Commander or NCA in real-time.

   •   Transport of up to 13 combat-equipped personnel not including the transport crew.
       Needs to have the passenger cube capacity and on-board life support for a 13-person
       Marine infantry squad or task organized team(s).

   •   Flexible launch on demand. Needs to adhere to short launch timelines from expeditionary
       spaceports and/or airfields, and be capable of launching into any orbital inclination as

   •   Combined arms weapons suite. Needs to combine advanced electromagnetic and kinetic
       energy weapons in a fully integrated suite for the purpose of system self-defense in space,
       in flight, and on the ground, as well as provide fire support to inserted personnel while
       they are engaged in missions on the ground.

   •   Multiple personnel insertion options. Needs to provide pilot operators the option of
       terrestrial In-flight high altitude, low altitude, or ground passenger exit capability.

   •   Unrefeuled transport operation for entire mission cycle. From the time the transport is
       launched to the time it returns to secure CONUS or expeditionary spaceport/airfield i1
       needs to be capable of operating without being refueled. This includes any demands
       placed on the system for CIFS in support of ground missions and any energy
       requirements for on-orbit Delta V (i.e. changes to orbital altitude, elliptical eccentricity,
       and/or plane inclination) and parking/loiter.

   •   Vertical Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL). Operator-determined VSTOL transport
       options are needed during insertion and extraction to maximize both surprise and
       survivability in adaptation to situation, mission, terrain, and environmental conditions.


   •   Avoidance of foreign airspace over-flight restrictions. Must attain and reenter from space
       attitude at sufficient rate or employ a non-standard decent mechanism to minimize
       violation of sovereign foreign airspace.”

“At virtually any geographic point or area on the globe that is of potential interest to US national
security, events that are unfavorable to US interests can develop and escalate at an ever-
increasing rate due to the impact of technologies in the hands of others. This rate of escalation is
aggravated by the organization of many of our potential adversaries' capabilities into small units,
teams and platforms for speed and flexibility. This is especially true for adversaries that seek an
asymmetric advantage to compensate for their other comparative weaknesses. In the end, events
around the globe can unfold much more rapidly, and in many circumstances call for the earliest
intervention if larger conflicts or other negative international implications are to be averted.
Space transport and insertion is the only means of attaining the needed speed of response for
virtually immediate physical appearance of fully relevant small units at any point on the globe.”

“The missions and tasks that this need relates to are those contingencies that require the presence
of task-organized teams of specialized Marine Corps combat personnel for physical presence and
physical intervention, on-site in order to exploit time-sensitive strategic opportunities to
influence US national security interests early and favorably. Space transport and insertion is the
only means of attaining the needed speed of response for virtually immediate physical
appearance of fully relevant small units at any point on the globe.”

“The expressed need identifies a technology-enabled opportunity to support the evolving nature
and increasing strategic significance of Marine Corps small unit missions and tasks with
heretofore non-existent global transport and insertion timeliness. Space transport and insertion is
the only means of attaining the needed speed of response for virtually immediate physical
appearance of fully relevant small units at any point on the globe.”

“While the speed of terrestrial and national security space Intelligence Surveillance, and
Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities (to include collection, analysis, and dissemination) is keeping
pace with the accelerated tempo of localized events, the ability of small Marine Corps units to
physically respond (troops on the ground) at any global locality is not. As previously stated,
space transport and insertion is the only means of attaining the needed speed or response for
virtually immediate physical appearance of fully relevant small units at any point on the globe. If
this need is not satisfied Marine operating forces will continue to lack the corresponding ability
to appear on the scene and respond relevantly and effectively to exploit strategic opportunities or
minimize strategic damage at the earliest stages of a contingency.”

“The UNS submission timing coincides with an awareness of emerging advanced defense and
commercial technologies and programs. The earlier identification of desired capabilities will
allow the USMC to steer those technologies to favorable material solutions. Space is the only
practical environment through which small numbers of combat Marines can be transported at
sufficient speed to ensure the relevance of global terrestrial force projection at the earliest stages
of conflict.”


3.2.4 Prompt Global Strike Mission Need Statement dated 2 May 2003 – Excerpts:

“This Mission Need Statement (MNS) directly supports the defense Planning Guidance (DPG)
Fiscal Years 2004-2009 priorities of long-range precision strike and the evolution of systems to
overcome anti-access technologies and tactics. The DPG directs the development of capabilities
to respond anywhere on the globe; deploy quickly, across great distances to supplement forward-
stationed and deploying United States (US) forces; and project power even when the United
States has no permanent military presence or only limited infrastructure in the region.”

“Mission Need. To deter aggression, the United States must possess credible capabilities to
project military power and conduct rapid operations with a high probability of success across the
entire spectrum of conflict. The PGS mission need is to strike globally and rapidly with joint
forces against high-payoff targets in a single or multi-theater environment. Such a capability
will allow the United States to capitalize on advanced standoff capabilities to achieve desired
weapons effects while minimizing effects from anti-access strategies. Additionally, PGS will
give combatant commanders the capability to rapidly deny, delay, deceive, disrupt, destroy,
exploit, or neutralize targets (e.g. command and control nodes; integrated air defenses; and
chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) production/storage/launch facilities) in a
time frame that is reduced from weeks/days to hours/minutes, even when US and Allied forces
have no permanent military presence or only limited infrastructure in a region and regardless of
anti-access threats.”

   •   “Space Operations Vehicle (SOV). An exoatmospheric reusable launch vehicle or space
       plane could directly deliver precision guided munitions and/or carry and release a
       Common Aero Vehicle (CAV) space delivery vehicle that protects, guides, and dispenses
       weapons during reentry.”

   •   “Space-Based Platform. This concept consists of a manned or unmanned platform in low
       earth orbit. The platform could release a CAV space delivery vehicle with weapons, fire
       kinetic energy weapons or employ directed energy weapons.”

   •   “Joint Power Projection. The ability to rapidly deploy, employ and sustain US forces
       from multiple, dispersed locations. Power projection includes the ability to sustain
       expeditionary forces even in the face of anti-access strategies or deploy forces directly to
       crisis regions using combinations of lift even where the United States lacks permanent
       presence or forward staging bases.”

3.3 Joint Force Attributes and Functional Concepts

The Joint Functional Area applicable to SUSTAIN addresses the rapid employment of forward
Joint Forces and tailored expeditionary SOCOM forces from the Continental United States
(CONUS) and elsewhere. Rapid employment includes the use of National Security Space (NSS)
in order to provide initial engagement capabilities through organic SUSTAIN firepower or to
marry up forces with other teams, pre-positioned weapons and equipment, and in some cases
facilitate the introduction of follow on forces. SUSTAIN-enabled missions for SOCOM teams


include those anticipated for both Air Force SOF units (i.e. AFSOC, AFSF, and CSAR) and
Marine Corps SOF units (i.e. MARSOC, MEUSOC, and ANGLICO).

3.3.1 Joint Force Attributes. SUSTAIN seeks to enhance the following Joint Force Attributes:

   •   Expeditionary. This describes the need for designated SOF to be rapidly deployable,
       employable, and sustainable throughout the global battlespace regardless of anti-access,
       or area-denial environments and independent of existing infrastructure. Designated SOF
       elements of the Joint Force must be configured as expeditionary teams (based in CONUS
       or abroad), capable of rapid deployment and immediate employment, and capable of
       setting the conditions for a seamless transition to sustained operations if a broader crisis
       or conflict cannot be avoided.

   •   Decentralized. This describes a SOF capability that operates based on clear strategic
       objectives and commander’s intent, one that allows subordinate small unit leaders to
       compress decision cycles and seize the initiative. Decentralization provides increased
       freedom of action for subordinate forces to operate near-autonomously and to be re-
       tasked to exploit fleeting opportunities.

   •   Adaptable. This describes SOF prepared to quickly respond to any contingency with the
       appropriate capabilities mix. This requires versatile teams and forces that are tailorable
       and scalable for employment and able to adapt fundamental capabilities in a multi-use
       manner as mission requirements dictate without losing significant operational capability.

   •   Decision Superiority. This is the state at which better decisions are reached and
       implemented faster than an adversary can react, or in a non-combat situation, at a tempo
       that allows SOF teams to shape situations or react to changes and accomplish their
       respective missions.

3.3.2 Joint Functional Concepts. The functional concepts to which the SUSTAIN capability
applies include:

   •   Dominant Maneuver. The SUSTAIN capability enables SOCOM SOF teams to gain
       positional advantage with decisive speed and overwhelming operational tempo through
       the execution of distributed maneuver and application of continuous pressure to an
       adversary’s system.

   •   Precision Engagement. The SUSTAIN capability provides SOCOM SOF teams the
       ability to employ dispersed joint capabilities generating effects across all battlespace,
       vertically, horizontally, and over great distances, to achieve a desired end state. This
       includes focusing precisely on single targets or broadly applied in sustained, large-scale
       operations, and producing the desired precise lethal and non-lethal outcomes while
       controlling undesired effects.

   •   Information Operations. The SUSTAIN capability provides SOCOM SOF teams
       engagement and protection capabilities in the information domain across the full Range


       of Military Operations (ROMO). This includes the employment of electronic warfare
       (EW) attack, psychological operations (PSYOPS), and military deception to affect
       adversary decision-making and behavior.

   •   Space Operations. The SUSTAIN capability provides SOCOM the ability to execute
       Space Control missions in response to National Command Authority (NCA) direction. A
       manned or unmanned SUSTAIN vehicle could deliver an ORS Operationally Responsive
       Space Situational Awareness (ORS SSA) to selected orbits to survey, capture, or
       neutralize suspicious space objects. Conversely, SUSTAIN can serve as the primary
       vehicle for delivering ORS payloads to selected orbits, as required.

3.3.3 Force Application Functional Concept (FAFC) dated 5 Mar 2004 – Excerpts

The FAFC recognizes the need for historically unprecedented speed and global reach in Joint
Force Operations. The FAFC states:

   •   “Several [factors] will serve to complicate future operations. Many of our forces may not
       be in position to immediately seize the initiative in a combat operation. This may require
       the repositioning of deployed forces, and/or additional expeditionary forces ready to
       deploy quickly to intermediate staging bases or employ directly into hostile territory.
       Forward bases from which to effectively stage operations may be extremely limited, and
       those bases that are made available may have limited or inadequate infrastructure. This
       may increase reliance on sea basing for access to the battlespace. Our potential
       adversaries have likely paid attention to our recent combat operations and will seek anti-
       access/area denial capabilities, including WMD, to thwart our success during the initial
       stages of an operation and deny us the ability to establish a foothold for follow-on

The FAFC continues with a discussion of speed as the key to gaining the initiative:

   •   “The ability to maneuver forces for the purpose of creating or supporting the creation of
       effects on the enemy requires a number of actions, often performed under severely
       limiting conditions. First, future joint forces must be able to quickly move strategic
       distances and enter directly into the theater of operations (strategic agility). The ability to
       quickly gain the initiative and swiftly defeat an opposing force means our forces will
       have to effectively deal with very short lead times, long travel distances, minimal
       infrastructure (e.g., few adequate ports or airfields, limited host nation support) at
       intermediate staging locations and be able to successfully conduct joint forcible entry into
       the battlespace. Future expeditionary joint forces must be modular in design so they can
       be quickly tailored to meet a wide range of contingencies. These smaller, more agile
       forces must have sufficient combat power to prevail in contested joint forcible entry
       operations and may have to operate from a joint sea base to preclude a dependence on
       land based infrastructure and host nation support. Force projection assets must be able to
       cover strategic distances in days vice weeks…”


The FAFC continues with a discussion of the need for the Joint Force to overcome anti-access
strategies of our opponents:

   •   “Joint forces must be able to initially defeat/destroy/disable/bypass/deceive/disrupt an
       opponent’s anti-access and area denial capabilities in order to enable our movement into
       and throughout the theater. We must be able to dictate the range of engagements from
       inter-theater to line-of-sight, successfully engaging enemy defenses and weapons of mass
       destruction from outside the effective range of enemy weapons, and we must do so
       quickly before the main force enters the theater.”

Again, addressing the issue of maneuver:

   •   “The effective use of maneuver and engagement to create effects within the battlespace
       requires new techniques that maximize synchronization and integration of our forces.
       This key attribute of synchronization will be addressed more in a later section. The
       ability of our joint forces to move quickly and freely within the battlespace not only
       enables more accurate, rapid and decisive engagements, it can also pose insurmountable
       dilemmas for enemy forces as we prosecute actions within their decision-making cycle
       and preclude their ability to react effectively to our mission objectives.”

Finally, the FAFC defines Joint Force agility:

   •   “Agile describes the degree to which the joint force is able to apply force (1) rapidly
       across strategic distances and (2) operationally and tactically through all domains of the
       battlespace at will. Forces must be able to move rapidly from base to theater, ideally
       directly from deployment to engagement, thereby minimizing lengthy reception, staging,
       onward movement and integration (RSO&I) phases in distant, remote and austere areas.
       The enemy can be expected to oppose the movement of forces into and within a theater.
       Our ability to create the freedom to move forces wherever and whenever we choose
       allows the joint force commander to set the conditions for engagements, dictate the pace
       of operations and achieve desired effects. Freedom of action can be achieved through
       design of platforms (e.g., using speed, stealth and protection) or created by the actions of
       the joint force (e.g., avoiding, neutralizing or destroying enemy defenses).”

4 Operational User SUSTAIN-Applicable Missions

United States Special Operations Command's (USSOCOM) is the principle intended user of the
SUSTAIN capability. In fact, the inspiration behind the SUSTAIN concept originally emerged
from an evident capability gap, namely the limitations of terrestrial air-speeds and the need for
overflight rights that have hampered SOCOM missions in the past. Specifically, the inability to
rapidly insert specialized teams into Afghanistan from the U.S. within hours of the events of 9/11
may have caused strategic opportunities to be missed. In an effort to fill that gap, SUSTAIN is
primarily intended to support of SOCOM’s core missions related to rapidly intercepting
unsecured Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), globally, as well as conducting hot pursuit of
high value strategic targets during the hours of vulnerability that they are exposed.


The Title 10 Service-specific gaps that can be materially fulfilled with a SUSTAIN capability
will overwhelmingly be executed through Service Components that contribute to the USSOCOM
organization. In consideration of the SUSTAIN-relevant operational needs that have been
expressed to date this pertains to Air Force and Marine Corps in the form of AFSOC and

However, other Service organizations will also benefit from SUSTAIN for the purpose of
transporting and inserting small specialized teams globally. Specific beneficiaries include Air
Force Security Forces (AFSF), Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), the Marine Corps Air Naval
Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO), and Special Operations Capable Marine Expeditionary
Units (MEUSOC). It is envisioned that these non-SOCOM sourced capabilities would be
employed in conjunction with or governed entirely by SOCOM as specialized attachments to
SOCOM units in support of SOCOM missions. What follows is a discussion of the various
SOCOM and Service core missions that SUSTAIN would enable:

4.1 U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Core Missions

USSOCOM plans, directs and executes special operations in conduct of the War on Terrorism in
order to disrupt, defeat, and destroy terrorist networks that threaten the United States, its citizens
and interests worldwide. USSOCOM organizes, trains, and equips Special Operations Forces
provided to Geographic Combatant Commanders, American Ambassadors and their Country
Teams. In order to accomplish its Combatant Command mission, USSOCOM has been
assigned the following core tasks: Counterterrorism (CT), Counter-proliferation (CP), of
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Special Reconnaissance (SR), Direct Action (DA),
Unconventional Warfare (UW), Information Operation (1 0), Psychological Operations
(PSYOP), Foreign internal Defense (FID), and Civil Affairs Operations (CAO). The relation of
the SUSTAIN capability to each is detailed below:

4.1.1 Counterterrorism (CT)

CT is SOCOM’s number one mission. CT produces effective protective measures to reduce the
probability of a successful terrorist attack against U.S. interests. This task involves offensive
measures taken to prevent, deter, preempt, and respond to terrorism. SOF are specifically
organized, trained, and equipped to conduct covert, clandestine, or discreet CT mission in
hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments. These missions include, but are not limited
to intelligence operations, attacks against terrorist networks and infrastructures, hostage rescue,
recovery of sensitive material from terrorist organizations, and non-kinetic activities aimed at the
ideologies or motivations that spawn terrorism. SUSTAIN offers SOF the heretofore non-
existent option for the earliest unopposed insertion of tailored CT teams around the globe.

4.1.2 Counter Proliferation (CP) of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

CP refers to actions taken to support DoD and other governmental agencies to prevent, limit
and/or minimize the development, possession, and employment of weapons of mass destruction,
new advanced weapons, and advanced-weapon-capable technologies. The major objectives of
DOD policy are to prevent acquisition of WM D and missile capabilities (i.e. preventive


defense), roll back proliferation where it has occurred, deter the use of WMD and their delivery
systems, and adapt U.S. military forces and planning to operate against the threats posed by
WMD and their delivery systems. SOF provides unique capabilities to monitor and support DOD
policy. SUSTAIN offers SOF the heretofore non-existent option for the earliest interception of
WMD when a fleeting opportunity presents itself.

4.1.3 Special Reconnaissance (SR)

This is reconnaissance and surveillance actions conducted as special operations in hostile, denied
or politically sensitive environments to collect or verify information of strategic or operational
significance, employing military capabilities not normally found in conventional forces. These
actions provide an additive capability for commanders and may supplement other intelligence
collection when conventional reconnaissance and surveillance actions are limited by weather,
terrain, or adversary countermeasures. SUSTAIN may be the only alternative for the insertion of
SR for missions of strategic importance where time, distance, and overflight challenges are

4.1.4 Direct Action (DA)

DA is the conduct of short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions conducted as
a special operation in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to seize, destroy,
capture, exploit, recover, or damage designated targets of strategic or operational significance,
employing specialized military capabilities. Direct action differs from conventional offensive
actions in the level of physical and political risk, operational techniques, and the use of
discriminating force to achieve specific objectives. SUSTAIN offers the DA mission the
elements of speed, surprise and shock. The DA mission will also benefit from the vehicle’s
organic capabilities. In addition to an organic advanced combined arms weapons suite, the
SUSTAIN vehicle(s) will possess a C4 suite that is fully integrated with and actively
contributing to the global common operating picture. This includes SUSTAIN ability to
facilitate a seamless broad spectrum of secure communications for coordinating requested fires
from outside the theater with the team’s plans for extraction. This will also permit coordination
between the Joint Force Commander and higher, adjacent and subordinate elements throughout
the battlespace and globally.

4.1.5 Unconventional Warfare (UW)

UW involves a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations, normally of a long
duration. UW is predominantly conducted by, with, or through indigenous or surrogate forces
that are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external
source. UW includes guerrilla warfare and other direct offensive, low-visibility, covert, or
clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence
activities, and unconventional assisted recovery. SUSTAIN can serve as a speedy long-range
insertion capability for teams when time is short.

4.1.6 Information Operations (IO)


These are actions taken to influence, affect or defend information, information systems and
decision-making. SUSTAIN will have the operational capacity to assist the SOCOM detachment
to the Joint Force Commander in the achievement of IO objectives. The SUSTAIN IO
capability-set will include Electronic Warfare (EW), Computer Network Operations,
Psychological Operations (PSYOPS), Operations Security (OPSEC), and Military Deception.
The IO potential of the SUSTAIN capability is significant in terms of the earliest global
appearance of relevant teams and capabilities.

4.1.7 Psychological Operations (PSYOP)

PSYOPS are planned operations to convey truthful information and indicators to foreign
audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately, the behavior
of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of PSYOP is to
induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives.
Similarly to IO, the PYOPS potential of the SUSTAIN capability is significant in terms of the
earliest global appearance of relevant teams and capabilities.

4.1.8 Foreign Internal Defense (FID)

FID is one of SOCOM’s primary peacetime missions. It is designed to help friendly developing
nations by working with their military and police forces to improve their technical skills,
understanding of human rights issues, and to help with humanitarian and civic action projects.
Special Forces unconventional warfare capabilities provide a viable military option for a variety
of operational taskings that are inappropriate or infeasible for conventional forces. Special
Forces are the U.S. military’s premier unconventional warfare force. Participation by civilian or
military agencies of a government in any of the action programs taken by another government or
other designated organization to free their society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency.
SOF's primary contribution to this interagency activity is to organize, train, advise, and assist
host-nation (HN) military and paramilitary forces. The goal is to enable these forces to maintain
the HN's internal stability, to counter subversion and violence in their country, and to address the
causes of instability. Early SUSTAIN-enabled insertion of FID teams can be critical in a time of
crisis, especially when HN civil authority is breaking down.

4.1.9 Civil Affairs Operations (CAO)

CAO constitutes operations consisting of civil affairs (CA) activities and specialized support
provided to commanders responsible for conducting civil military operations (CMO). CA
activities involve establishing and conducting military government or civil administration until
civilian authority or government can be restored or transitioned to other appropriate authorities.
CA supports CMO by focusing efforts to minimize civilian interference with military operations
and limit the adverse impact of military operations on civilian populations and resources.

4.2 Air Force (AF) Component and Core Missions Suited to SUSTAIN Support

4.2.1 Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)

Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) provides Air Force special operations forces

for worldwide deployment and assignment to regional unified commands. The command's SOF
are composed of highly trained, rapidly deployable Airmen, conducting global special operations
missions ranging from precision application of firepower, to infiltration, exfiltration, resupply
and refueling of SOF operational elements. AFSOC's unique capabilities include airborne radio
and television broadcast for psychological operations, as well as aviation foreign internal defense
instructors to provide other governments military expertise for their internal development. In
general, AFSOC’s core missions closely parallel SOCOM’s over-riding core missions, since
AFSOC is the aerospace enabler for SOCOM’s other Service components, as well as any other
missions that fall under SOCOM and JSOC command and control (C2).

Supported Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) units include the 1st Special Forces
Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force), Naval Special Warfare Development Group
(DEVGRU) with its SEa, Air and Land (SEAL) teams, the Intelligence Support Activity (ISA),
the 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24th STS), and Task Force 121. Supported Army Special
Operations Command (ASOC) forces include the 75th Ranger Regiment, Army Special Forces
(SF), the 4th Psychological Operations Group, the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, and the Special
Operations Support Command. Supported Marine Corps Special Operations Command
(MARSOC) units include two Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOB), one Marine
Special Operations Group (MSOG), and one Marine Special Operations Advisor Group

Today AFSOC accomplishes these various SOCOM aerospace support missions through a
number of operational units. They include:

   •   The 1st Special Operations Wing (1 SOW) that focuses on supporting SOCOM UW, CT,
       CSAR, TRAP, PSYOPS, FID, IO, deep battlefield resupply, interdiction, close air
       support (CAS), and precision fires. Considering that the responsibilities of the 1 SOW
       intersect almost all of the core missions of SOF, integrating the SUSTAIN capability into
       this wing is most appropriate.

   •   The 27th Special Operations Wing (27 SOW) that facilitates infiltration, exfiltration,
       SOCOM team re-supply, air refueling of SOCOM rotary wing and tilt-rotor aircraft (CV-
       22) aircraft, precision fire support, TRAP and several other core SOCOM missions.
       SUSTAIN will be able to augment the 27 SOW in most of its missions, especially
       infiltration, global team resupply, and TRAP.

   •   The 919th Special Operations Wing (919 SOW) Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)
       unit flies and maintains the MC-130E Combat Talon I and MC-130P Combat Shadow
       special operations aircraft, both designed for covert operations. 919 SOW-supported
       SOF could benefit from the SUSTAIN capability option as well.

   •   The 193d Special Operations Wing (193 SOW) is assigned psychological operations
       (PSYOP) as its primary wartime and contingency operations mission when it is attached
       to AFSOC. The IO and PSYOP potential of the SUSTAIN capability is significant, and
       may become integral to the capabilities of the 193 SOW.


   •   The 352nd Special Operations Group (352 SOG) provides several squadrons for exercise,
       logistics, war planning, aircrew training, communications, aerial delivery, medical,
       intelligence, security and force protection, weather, information technology, and
       transformation functions in support of current operations. SUSTAIN could conceivably
       be a participant in such exercises.

   •   The 353rd Special Operations Group (353 SOG) is prepared to conduct a variety of high-
       priority, low-visibility missions in support of Joint and allied special operations forces in
       the Pacific, including global mobility, exercise support, and humanitarian and relief
       operations. For humanitarian operations, when and where the timely appearance of
       specialized teams at the very onset of an emergency is critical to leveraged success,
       SUSTAIN can significantly impact IO success for SOF and national objectives.

   •   The 720th Special Tactics Group (720 STG) organizes, trains and equips SOF worldwide
       to integrate, synchronize, and/or control the elements of air and space power in the area
       of operations. It also provides long-range operational and logistics planning, and deploys
       command and control elements during special tactics force employment or deployment.
       Considering its space coordination functions the 720 STG is a candidate for assuming
       aspects of the SUSTAIN capability.

   •   The United States Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field,
       Florida is a primary support unit of the Air Force Special Operations Command. The
       USAFSOS prepares special operations Airmen to successfully plan, organize, and
       execute global special operations by providing indoctrination and education for AFSOC,
       other USSOCOM components, and joint/interagency/ coalition partners. Training related
       to the SUSTAIN capability will become a major subset of this SOF school’s curriculum.

4.2.2 Air Force Security Forces (AFSF)

Air Force Security Forces are the first and only ground based line of defense for the USAF both
in CONUS and in an expeditionary environment. AFSF provide both military police services as
well as physical security of resources, including guarding AF nuclear weapons, while also
functioning in a light infantry role in Base Defense operations. While capabilities vary from unit
to unit, AFSF can provide Close Precision Engagement (sharpshooter) teams, Military Working
Dogs/Handlers, and Heavy Weapons (M2, MK19) teams; establish sensor systems around base
perimeters, and respond to hostile acts with Emergency Services Teams (SWAT).

Generally, AFSF personnel are trained in ground combat skills to a greater degree than other
members of the AF and there is some commonality of training between AFSF and SOF. Given
AFSF teams properly trained and maintained in ground combat skills to the degree demanded by
SOF, AFSF could attach to and function with SOF teams as battlefield security elements or
liaison teams for transition after SOF has accomplished its mission. This could be relevant to
Joint Airfield Seizure operations where a SUSTAIN capability is employed for SOF seizure
followed immediately by an AFSF base opening phase.


Airfield seizure is normally a Joint operation performed by SOCOM via its AFSOC, ARSOC, or
MARSOC components, or, less frequently, by Special Operations Capable (SOC) MAGTF units.
Once seizure has taken place by Joint Forces utilizing a SUSTAIN capability, the potential exists
for a gap while waiting for sufficient follow-on forces to arrive via conventional airlift. To
facilitate a seamless transition from seizure to airbase opening, an ADVON of appropriately and
sufficiently trained AF Security Forces from selected Security Forces Groups (SFGs)/Base
Defense Groups (BDGs) could accompany the Joint seizure force. Further, these forces would
allow the seizure force to embark on its next operational objective, provide reach-back to USAF
command nodes, and allow expansion of the airbase while receiving follow-on airbase opening

The most important SUSTAIN-enabled function of AFSF in Joint Airfield Seizure involves the
execution of “Base Opening and Security Operations.” The ability for Air Force and Joint Forces
to establish and operate an expeditionary airbase is often critical to the success of the Joint force
mission. In practice seizure will be accomplished by specialized forces as a SOCOM-directed
DA, US Army Rangers, MARSOC, MEU (SOC), or other similarly DA-capable SOCOM or
SOC force. Once secured the airbase can be rapidly brought back into friendly operation by
AFSF personnel inserted from across the theater or across the globe via a SUSTAIN form of
Rapid Global Mobility.

Two distinct forms of Rapid Global Mobility must be considered in shaping a SUSTAIN
capability; tactical and strategic spacelift. Tactical spacelift has been discussed to this point as it
relates to SOF insertion, however there are technology issues (discussed later in part 6) which
could hinder this application due to the challenges of stealthy/survivable insertion and extraction.
Strategic spacelift would be less demanding given that it would be a one-way insertion into an
established airfield where speed and over-flight are the predominant issues. Strategic spacelift
might be the more applicable niche where AFSF finds that they need to leverage a SUSTAIN

Based on the Expeditionary Airbase Life Enabling Concepts, the Four Stages of Expeditionary
Airbase Life Cycle are:

   •   Airbase Opening. During this stage forces will plan and execute airbase seizure adjusted
       to the degree of permissiveness as the situational context. A standardized methodology is
       employed to plan the operation, which includes deliberate coordination between those
       seizing the airbase and those who will open the airbase to friendly operations in that
       particular expeditionary environment.

   •   Establish the Airbase. During this stage forces and equipment will be built-up,
       infrastructure will be developed, and the requisite C3 and security measures will be
       established to bring the airbase to an initial operating capability in support of most
       missions and weapon systems.

   •   Operate the Airbase. During this stage all of the preceding capabilities that were realized
       in bringing the airbase to a full operational capability and readiness will be integrated and
       set in operation in order to support the designated mission.


   •   Close the Airbase. During this final phase in the cycle of an expeditionary airbase closure
       measures are implemented and redeployment efforts are set in motion, in order to
       effectively end the expeditionary airbase lifecycle and return the base to the host nation.

 Figure 2. Following seizure, there are four stages in the life cycle of the expeditionary airbase.

In planning for the Airbase Opening (ABO) of an expeditionary airbase several steps must be
accomplished to insure the seamless transition from seizure through operations through closure.
All planning must be fully Joint from the start, to include non-AF assault forces in every step of
the ABO process. To avoid so-called planning seams, Strategic Joint planning must be
accomplished well before seizure, tactical Joint planning must include all Joint and CRG
planners, and the Senior Airfield Authority (SAA) must be designated in advance for the sake of
unity of command and efforts on the ground.

Following seizure hand-off seams must be avoided during opening. This includes continued
support to the CRG and SAA from non-AF Joint Forces units. Taskings from the SAA to such
support units may include but are not limited to Force Protection, airfield damage repair,
construction, EOD, intelligence, MANPADS, security along avenues of approach, and SHORAD
responsibility. During open there is also a requirement to avoid seams during the assumption of
C2 responsibilities. Full coordination with base operating support and the airfield manager is
critical. During the period of establishment continued coordination with the BOS is required as
the initial Expeditionary Air Force forces prepare to hand-off to follow-on and presumably
tenant forces. If seams are avoided during the opening the expeditionary airbase, subsequent
establishment, operation, sustainment, augmentation, and eventual closure are likely to run
smoothly. By offering speed and surprise SUSTAIN insertion may simplify opening by reducing
the operational costs of seizure.

* Note: Regardless, if SUSTAIN is operationalized as an AF capability, AFSF will be
responsible for providing security and must monitor its development at least from a resource
protection standpoint.

4.2.2 Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR)


The USAF has been designated by DOD as the lead service for Combat Search and Rescue
(CSAR). To meet the requirements of a lead service, the Air Force has equipped and trained
specialized rescue forces to conduct CSAR. By the same logic that SUSTAIN is a logical
insertion means for SOF in the case of a TRAP operation anywhere around the world, so too is
SUSTAIN well suited to global CSAR, again when time is critical.

Personnel recovery has become an increasingly important mission area receiving added emphasis
among OSD policy makers and throughout DoD. It is significant that recent world events
requiring military planning options also involved the deployment of combat search and rescue
forces. In each instance, recovery assets were among the first to arrive in theater so they would
be ready to support combat operations. Additionally, soon after planning began during recent
crises, the White House staff requested the Joint Staff provide their concept of personnel
recovery for the contingency for review. Presidential interest was high concerning the safety of
US military forces and our ability to recover them if necessary.

The primary operational task of CSAR is to locate, communicate with, and recover downed
aircrews and isolated personnel. This primary task can be broken into three sub-tasks:

   •   Locating the aircrew or isolated personnel (survivor) by visual or electronic search
       methods to pinpoint the survivor’s location and permit recovery.

   •   Communicating with the survivor by radio or visual signaling to conduct authentication.

   •   Recover the survivor to return the survivor to friendly control and provide the survivor
       necessary medical assistance.

Other Air Force CSAR tasks related to the primary rescue mission include: 1) Personnel and
equipment to train rescue mission ready personnel; 2) Operate efficiently during peacetime
Airdrop rescue personnel and equipment; 3) Configure rescue equipment for deployment; 4)
Provide self-protection for rescue assets; 5) Conduct medical evacuation operations; 6) Provide
intelligence support directly to the rescue aircrew; 7) Respond to and prepare for rescue mission
execution; 8) Control alert and airborne rescue missions; and 9) Support rescue sortie production.
To accomplish the primary task, the US Air Force currently maintains two operational systems,
the HC-130N/P and the HH-60G. The HC-130 provides long-range search capability in a no-to-
low threat environment, day or night. The HC-130 also provides a limited command and control
link for all rescue assets during a rescue mission, and extends the range of the rescue helicopter
by providing in-flight air refueling. The HH-60 provides limited search and recovery of the
survivor in up to a medium threat environment, day or night. If a survivor requires immediate
medical attention and cannot wait for the arrival of the recovery helicopter, threat environment
permitting, specially trained Pararescuemen (PJ) can be airdropped to survivors using parachute
deployments. Once on scene, the PJ will stabilize survivors and prepare them for recovery.

The threat environments that rescue assets operate within can be adjusted by the use of
supporting aircraft. Supporting aircraft providing air-to-air, air-to-ground, and Suppression of
Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) coverage can degrade the threat, either temporarily or permanently,
permitting rescue assets to enter the area and execute the recovery. Rescue forces may be


augmented by these supporting systems depending on the threat environment, distance to the
survivor, and availability of assets.

4.3 U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Component and Core Missions Suited to SUSTAIN Support

4.3.1 Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC)

On 24 February 2006, MARSOC was activated at Camp Lejeune, NC with a planned strength of
2,600 Marines, Sailors and civilian employees when the component becomes Fully Operational
Capable(FOC) in 2010. As a service component of USSOCOM, MARSOC is tasked by the
Commander USSOCOM to train, organize, equip, and when directed by CDRUSSOCOM,
deploy task organized, scalable, and responsive U.S. Marine Corps special operations forces
worldwide in support of combatant commanders and other agencies. Since its 2006
establishment MARSOC has continuously deployed Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOTs)
and Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOCs) in support of all of the Geographic
Combatant Commanders. Missions have included conducting combat operations in Afghanistan
and training foreign SOF in Africa, Asia, South America, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

To date MARSOC is tasked by SOCOM with providing Marines who are specially trained in the
following SOF disciplines:

 •   Direct Action (DA) - short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions taken to
     seize, destroy, capture, recover or inflict damage in denied areas.

 •   Special Reconnaissance (SR) - actions conducted by SOF to obtain or verify, by visual
     observation or other collection methods, information concerning the capabilities,
     intentions, and activities of an actual or potential enemy.

 •   Foreign Internal Defense (FID) - participation by civilian and military agencies of a
     government in any of the programs taken by another government to free and protect its
     society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency.

 •   Counterterrorism (CT) – offensive measures taken to prevent, deter and respond to

 •   Unconventional Warfare (UW) - a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations,
     normally of long duration, predominantly conducted by indigenous or surrogate forces
     organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external

 •   Information Operations (IO) - use of offensive and defensive information means to
     degrade, destroy, and exploit an adversary’s information-based process while protecting
     one’s own.

MARSOC is composed of two Marine Special Operations Battalions (MSOB), a Marine Special
Operations Advisor Group (MSOAG), and a Marine Special Operations Support Group


(MSOSG). Each MSOB is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel. Within each MSOB reside
five Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOCs), each commanded by a Major. Each
MSOC is further task-organized with personnel uniquely skilled in special equipment support,
intelligence and fire-support. The base unit within the MSOC is the 14-man Marine Special
Operations Team (MSOT), each being commanded by a Captain. The MSOAG advises and
assists friendly host-nation forces, and their naval and maritime military and paramilitary forces,
to enable them to support their respective governments’ internal security and stability, to counter
subversion and to reduce the risk of violence from internal and external threats. Finally, the
MSOSG provides support to deployed MSOCs, including combined arms planning and
coordination (such as Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company [ANGLICO] teams), K-9, comms,
all-source intelligence fusion, logistics, and all forms of combat service support (CSS).

Due to these taskings, the SUSTAIN capability is a natural fit with MARSOC, for both CONUS
based teams and forward-based expeditionary teams. Interestingly, the missions of MARSOC
are closely aligned and complementary with missions assigned to expeditionary naval forces,
especially to the Special Operations Capable Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU SOC) Marine
Air-Ground task Force (MAGTF). This will be discussed in greater detail below.

4.3.1 Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF)

In general, the MAGTF is the Marine Corps’ principle organization for conducting missions
across the spectrum of military operations. MAGTFs provide combatant commanders or joint
task force commanders with scalable, versatile expeditionary forces able to respond to a broad
range of crisis and conflict situations. They are balanced; combined-arms force packages
containing organic command, ground, aviation, and sustainment elements. A single commander
leads and coordinates this combined-arms team from peacetime training through deployment.
MAGTF teams live and train together, further increasing their cohesion and fighting power.
Since the establishment of the MARSOC the MAGTF has developed a closer relationship with
the SOF mission by means of the habitual integration of MARSOC units in the form of MSOCs
and their organic SUSTAIN-enabled small MSOTs.

Four types of MAGTFs can be task organized as Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF), Marine
Expeditionary Brigades (MEB), Special Purpose MAGTFs, and Marine Expeditionary Units
(MEU). Of the various MAGTF configurations it is the MEU(SOC) that has the most in
common with SOCOM, and therefore most applicable to SUSTAIN. With respect to the
USSOCOM mission, it is the MEU(SOC) MAGTF variation that is of greatest interest. This is
because SOCOM routinely deploys MARSOC capabilities forward by attaching a MSOC to
every MEU(SOC).

Forward-deployed MEU(SOC)s operating in conjunction with or subordinate to Expeditionary
Strike Groups (ESGs) operate continuously in the areas of responsibility of various unified
combatant commanders. COMMARFORCOM and COMMARFORPAC routinely maintain
forward-deployed MEU (SOC)s in the Mediterranean, Arabian Gulf, and Pacific regions. These
units provide the President and the unified combatant commanders with forward-deployed units
that can conduct a variety of quick reaction, sea-based, crisis response options in either a
conventional amphibious/ expeditionary role or in the execution of maritime special operations.


The MEU is commanded by a colonel and deploys with 15 days of accompanying supplies.
Prior to deployment, a MEU undergoes an intensive six-month training program, focusing on its
conventional and selected maritime special operations missions, today enabled by the attached

SUSTAIN is well-suited to MARSOC in support of the MEU(SOC) mission. Equipped with a
SUSTAIN insertion option, MSOCs and their organic MSOTs can achieve intercontinental reach
and timely response from expeditionary spaceports or appropriately-equipped ESG flight deck
platforms operating with or near the MEU. A man-rated, point-to-point launch on demand,
space transport and insertion family of vehicles is the only means of attaining the needed speed
of MEU/MSOC response for virtually immediate physical appearance of fully relevant SOF at
any point on the globe. This speed would be particularly valuable for the MARSOC DA and SR
missions. It is also the only means of avoiding operationally undesirable coordination with or
violation of third party sovereign air, sea, and land battlespace in conjunction with expeditionary
reach. A family of capabilities will achieve combined arms operational self-sufficiency. C2,
transport, gunship, and logistics variants, similar to the range of conventional aviation and light
armor assault support variants with which Joint Forces are familiar will be required.

The missions of the MSOC-augmented MEU(SOC) that can greatly benefit from the SUSTAIN
capability in order to help fulfill USSOCOM’s core missions include:

           Amphibious Operations. While MARSOC does not have a pre-assigned SOCOM
           mission in support of the execution of a MEU(SOC) conventional operation,
           SUSTAIN allows SOCOM to direct the MSOC to perform missions in support of the
           MEU Commander, if they are requested by the COCOM in whose AOR the MEU is
           operating. For example, the commander might request that a MARSOC (or
           NAVSOC) team or teams be deeply inserted from the sea via SUSTAIN to employ
           organic SR, UW, and other specialized skills in advance of an amphibious operation.

           Direct Action (DA). The DA mission and capabilities of the MEU(SOC) are today
           identical to those of SOCOM, as the sea-based MARSOC MSOC is an organic
           extension of SOCOM. Given the forward deployment of the MEU(SOC), SUSTAIN-
           enabled speed, reach, and surprise of the MSOC make it an exceptional strategic

           Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP). Given forward-deployment,
           SUSTAIN will provide the MEU (SOC) a theater-wide TRAP capability. This
           includes a potential wide-area, high-altitude Search and Rescue (SAR) capability that
           combines operationally responsive space capabilities with SUSTAIN orbital
           platforms and manned aerospace vehicles. Other TRAP-like contingency air, land,
           and sea battlespace functions are conceivable. As noted earlier, SOCOM does not
           have global SAR assigned as a core mission; the Air Force does. However, under
           unforeseen circumstances all Joint Force capabilities will be brought to bear in an
           emergency, and the SUSTAIN-equipped MEU(SOC) MSOC, AF CSAR, and any
           other SOF operators will contribute to a TRAP or SAR, globally.


          Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR). The ISR mission and
          capabilities of the MEU (SOC) are today identical to those of the SR core mission of
          SOCOM, as the sea-based MARSOC MSOC is an organic extension of SOCOM.
          SUSTAIN increases the speed and depth of manned and unmanned insertion of SR
          capabilities, and given the forward deployment of the MEU(SOC), like DA,
          SUSTAIN-enabled MSOC SR becomes an exceptional strategic capability.

          Airfield/Port Seizure. SUSTAIN offers the MEU (SOC) the ability to execute airfield
          and port seizures with unprecedented speed and surprise, with small team on the
          ground well in advance of conventional MEU air assets steaming to within range.
          Having been assigned the mission of DA within SOCOM, the sea-based MARSOC
          MSOC will be a valuable tool for the purpose of assisting airfield (and port) seizure,
          as discussed earlier under AFSOC missions. Again, SUSTAIN enables unprecedented
          speed, reach, and surprise in the execution of a DA.

          Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO). While MARSOC does not have a
          pre-assigned SOCOM mission in support of the execution of a MEU(SOC) NEO,
          SUSTAIN allows SOCOM to direct the MSOC to perform missions in support of the
          MEU Commander, as deemed necessary. For example, the commander might request
          that a MARSOC (or NAVSOC) teams or teams be dispatched from the sea via
          SUSTAIN to reinforce embassies and their Marine Security Guard (MSG)
          detachments under siege at remote missions in advance of conventional MEU air
          assets steaming to within range. SUSTAIN also allows the rapid deployment of SOF
          teams to secure or deny key terrain or avenues of approach via SOF SR or SAC,
          when their concession to approaching forces can be predicted within hours or

          Humanitarian Aid/Disaster Relief. SUSTAIN offers the MSOC-augmented
          MEU(SOC) the ability to insert advance teams of SOF specialists for coordination
          with impacted governments in anticipation of the arrival of follow-on forces,
          especially in the area of FID and UW. SUSTAIN precludes both the need for either
          functional runways, the proximity of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) shipping, or
          the in-range capability of conventional aircraft.

          Supporting Arms Coordination (SAC). SAC constitutes the capability of the
          MEU(SOC) to provide to inserted Joint Forces and allies engaged in close combat,
          fire support communications and expertise. This access to air, sea, and other fire
          support platforms and ordnance then becomes an organic fire support asset under the
          command of the Force Commander who is engaged on the ground. In addition to the
          inserted team, the SUSTAIN vehicle itself will include a combined arms weapons
          suite, and be capable of calling for non-organic fire support from across the globe.
          The unit that would augment an inserted MSOC SOF to provide this expertise and
          specialized communications equipment would be the Naval Gunfire Liaison
          Company (ANGLICO).

5 SUSTAIN Operational Vignettes and Scenarios - Introduction


Annex A contains SUSTAIN vignettes and scenarios. Annex A scenarios highlight the value
that the SUSTAIN capability can provide SOCOM forces in their support of Joint Force
operations today and in the future. Specific core mission areas were selected to depict the utility
of sub-orbital or orbital assault support vehicles as enabling rapid unimpeded global transit and
terrestrial insertion. As a compliment to SOCOM’s present CV-22, C-130, and other terrestrial
air capabilities, SUSTAIN can serve as a first echelon aerospace alternative when speed of team
and/or capability delivery is critical to mission success, especially in the cases of WMD
interdiction and HVT hot pursuit.

6 SUSTAIN Political and Organizational Issues

Many of the challenges confronting the full operationalization of the SUSTAIN capability can be
described as organizational and political, i.e. challenges that can be considered somewhat
independently of the technologies that need to be developed for SUSTAIN. Specific key
organizational and political challenges include:

6.1 SUSTAIN Alert Status and Execution Authority

The operational readiness posture of a SOF SUSTAIN capability stationed aboard an aircraft
carrier, in low earth orbit, ashore at a CONUS spaceport, or at a forward-deployed expeditionary
spaceport is primarily a political one. As with any large program, and in spite of the leveragable
aspects of SUSTAIN for science and industry, the SUSTAIN capability will be costly from a
material standpoint. To set the context for such a policy discussion the U.S. has a useful
precedent to consider when contemplating the value of a SUSTAIN force in readiness.

During the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s the U.S. remained in a virtual and continuous state of war
with the Soviet Union. Considering the catastrophic consequences of permitting one or more
nuclear weapons to be employed against us or our allies, the U.S. NCA was willing to accept
significant risks. Specifically, nuclear weapons-armed B-52s and Minuteman missile silos
remained at a heightened state of alert that accepted risks that might seem unthinkable today.
These included the risks of unintended consequences of that could arise from erred or interrupted
strategic communications when weapons release authorities were extended to pairs of
operators/pilots. Any number of human or machine errors could have led to an unwanted and
unlimited nuclear exchange. The risks also included the significant national cost of maintaining
this continuous state of readiness even when the probability of its necessity was quite low.

Yet, the risks of flattened and decentralized emergency controls were perceived as necessary to
avoid the loss of precious time and single points of failure in a mutually destructive strategic
stand-off. In the case of armed B-52 aircraft, a selected number were continuously airborne and
half-way enroute to their Soviet targets at any given time. For missile silos a two man rule was
the extent of judgment when a total loss of communications created ambiguities. However, the
political calculus of the times determined that the risks and the costs were worth it, for both
nations. It was this credible-believable-frightening hair trigger decentralization that permitted
both nations to survive the Cold War without a hot war.

Today it can be argued that the nuclear arsenal of Russia (or China for that matter) does not pose
the same sort of threat as it did in the late 20th Century. The ideologically fueled expansionism

of the Soviet Union and contest for global ideological and resource domination more
constrained. Yet, we still find ourselves at war, and the national penalties related to a delayed
response to rapidly developing events around the world are at least equal to the penalties of
delayed responses to events in the Cold War. In fact, the National Security Strategy states part:

   •   "The United States of America is fighting a war against terrorists of global reach. The
       enemy is not a single political regime or person or religion or ideology. The enemy is
       terrorism- premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against innocents...”

   •   “Concerned nations must remain actively engaged in critical regional disputes... When
       violence erupts and states falter, the United States will work with friends and partners to
       alleviate suffering and restore stability…”

   •   “We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able
       to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and our allies
       and friends.”

In the 21st Century technology-enabled a host of strategic vulnerabilities to emerge that did not
exist in the 20th Century. The precious nature of time and the need for early precision military
intervention was always important during the Cold War – in itself this criticality of time is
generally permanent. What has changed though is the scope of the danger. In the Cold War the
possessors of strategic threats to the U.S. and the general locations of those threats was know.
When compared to the global landscape today and the lack of moral inhibitions of our terrorist
adversaries the strategic uncertainties are great. Given proliferation of WMD technologies and
the potential for miniaturization of such devices that uncertainty grows exponentially again.
Finally, all of the communication and coordination tools of the 21st Century combined with the
continuing potential for WMD to devastate our homeland, the need for earliest precise
intervention is no less important that it was during the Cold War. The national risks and costs
that the U.S. is willing to accept in order to guarantee such a force-in-readiness should be no
lower than they were in the last century, as the consequences of lacking such an intervention
capability are at least as grave.

6.2 SUSTAIN-Enabling Space Service Leadership

The Commission to Assess National Security Space (NSS) Management and Organization
suggested that NSS leadership and advocacy be assigned to an existing Title 10 Service in the
form of an Executive Agent (EA) for NSS. This was to serve as an initial step towards greater
NSS unity of effort, leadership, and space advocacy. However, the chronic difficulty for a single
Service to simultaneously advocate and fund two environmentally disparate domains, and
programmatically competing sets of technologies and warfighting responsibilities is today well
documented. If the DOTMLPF material responsibilities for Joint Force SUSTAIN capability are
assigned to any Service with competing terrestrial interests the capability could languish and not
be ready when the nations needs it.

Threat and opportunity needs-based NSS budget requirements, such as those of SUSTAIN, will
exert increasing pressure on any Service that is assigned EA responsibilities for NSS. All


Services would act on an obligation to assign top priority to traditional roles and missions before
NSS EA as a secondary duty. NSS resource needs would represent a conflict of interest for any
EA decision maker. Therefore, while investment in continued space supremacy is in the nation's
best interest, it is not in a Service EA’s best interest. Faced with what routinely amount to zero-
sum-gain funding constraints, the NSS EA precedent is evidence enough that space will suffer
first. It is for this reason that the functions of the NSS EA have been removed and placed in the
hands of USD (AT&L). Clearly, this is a temporary fix until a permanent solution can be found
for space leadership and advocacy.

The issue of a competing internal roles and missions conflict of interest was not the fault of the
assigned Service EA. Instead, it lay (and lies) in a National Security Act and in Title 10
authorizations that are out-of-date. Considering the dilemma, a next step in NSS organization
and management may be in order, namely the establishment of a separate Title 10 empowered
Space Service focused only on NSS warfighting capabilities. A Space Force or Service should
be Special Operations focused from its inception, with SUSTAIN as a center piece capability. In
the absence of a Title 10 Space Service, if USSOCOM were to oversee such a SOF Space Force,
its existing Major Force Program (MFP) authority could be leveraged for the developmental
aspects of SUSTAIN.

Two prominent objections to a separate Title 10 Space Service or a Space Force have prevailed
to-date. One states that space is merely an “information medium;” with space warfighting
restricted by past UN treaties such as ban on orbital nukes and continuing pressure to ban all
weapons in space. The other is that there exists no identifiable martial mission for a U.S. Space
Service comparable to the employment of weapons from manned and unmanned platforms in
other warfighting domains. Both objections run counter to current global threats, as well as the
emergence of Joint Force opportunity-based needs such as SUSTAIN. With the world-wide
proliferation of WMD and an increasing the ease of access, space has indeed evolved to a
warfighting domain, with SOF representing the tip of the spear. The threat comes not only from
peer and near-peer competitors, but especially from morally unconstrained non-state adversaries
equipped only with money and a determination to use space as a sea for weapons storage and

Technological advancement and proliferation is no different from WMD proliferation as an
expression of state and non-state potency and independent will. Space is an exposed U.S. flank,
and an immediate Service martial mission exists for its defense. Offensive or defensive U.S.
space-related SOF missions relating to space system protection, space negation, global strike,
missile defense, transport, assault support, and other capabilities must follow now to avert
surprises later.

The key proto-Space Service organizations and personnel positions are already in existence, and
would largely fulfill the initial Service resource needs. For example, the Air Force Professional
Space Community can immediately form the core of a new Space Service. This core could be
augmented with members of the civilian and military space cadres of the other Services by
means of permanent inter-service transfers. The AF Space and Missile Systems Center could be
absorbed as the Space Service acquisition arm. The National Reconnaissance Office could
likewise be absorbed as-is, along with its specialized functions and personnel mix. The precise


organization of the Service organization can be debated, but the solution must insure from the
outset that the Service be Title 10 at a minimum, and that it has full Joint Chiefs of Staff and
Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) membership.

As noted earlier, USSOCOM and Joint Forces have validated space-enabled needs to overcome
the constraints of thick air travel and non-permissive airspace for responsive expeditionary
transport and insertion. As a Joint requirement SUSTAIN recognizes that USSOCOM ands Joint
Forces will both require heretofore-unimaginable assault support speed, range, and altitude in
order to achieve strategic surprise in the future. This should encourage an evolution of the
National Security Act so that it reflects the impact of emerging NSS technological opportunities
for both friend and foe in this regard. The establishment of a SUSTAIN-enabled, SOF-capable
Space Force will prepare the nation to exploit our adversary’s 21st Century vulnerabilities while
shoring up our own open and vulnerable national flank.

6.4 SUSTAIN Basing Requirements

The issue of hosting the SOF SUSTAIN force in readiness capability, in CONUS, abroad, or
aboard ship, will likely be the subject of political discussion. Each case will have its own
respective set of issues that will have to be resolved.

6.4.1 CONUS Space Ports

Spaceports, also known as “cosmodromes” will be required for the operation of the SOF
SUSTAIN capability. Today in the realm of commercial, civil, and scientific space such
facilities include substantial infrastructure. This includes launch towers- pads, vehicle assembly
buildings, transport crawlers, and cryogenic fuels production, transfer and storage capabilities,
huge areas of safety and security buffer real-estate, to name but a few of the major investments.
Some of the best known spaceports are the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) in French Guyana
and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Spaceports like the commercial Mojave,
CA Spaceport include runways for takeoff and landing of rocket-powered aircraft like Spaceship
One and the Lynx. Typically a major spaceport capable of heavy and medium lift launches
includes more than one launch complex. The complexes are sufficiently separated and the total
facility acreage is large enough so that adjacent launch pads not on the active launch site are not
in danger of fratricide if a fueled/armed vehicle explodes.

The space tourism industry is being targeted by numerous commercial spaceports word-wide.
Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and Esrange, Sweden are all developing spaceports. Russia’s
Baikonur spaceport is already operational, and Australia has one planned for the purpose of
launching Russian spacecraft. Consideration will have to be given to leveraging land-based U.S.
spaceports in order to base a SUSTAIN force in readiness in the nearer term. The spaceport at
Mojave, CA is collocated with the Edwards Air Force Base, and this provides a good model for
the facility leverage that will be required to reduce the long-term cost of SUSTAIN. In the U.S.
commercial spaceports are also planned for Oklahoma, New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, Alaska,
and Wisconsin.


As will be seen in the follow-on SUSTAIN Technology Roadmap, some SUSTAIN variants may
well be classified as “hypersonic” aerospace planes. In other words some hypersonic Single
Stage to Space (SSTS) and Single Stage to Orbit (SSTO) vehicles may themselves be, or may
contain spaceplane stages that require hypersonic airspeeds shortly after horizontal launch or
shortly before horizontal landing. The Supersonic Combustion Ramjet (SCRAMJET) requires
high airflow velocities of over Mach 3.5 for operation, and it is SCRAMJETs that will serve as
the engines for these high altitude, thin-air breathing vehicles. These high required air flow
velocities also imply highly efficient aerodynamic airframes that produce less lift than
conventional aircraft at lower speeds nearer the earth’s surface. Hypersonic engine-powered
aircraft will therefore need to land at higher airspeeds upon their return, and for that purpose
require a very long runway. This must be considered for locations where SUSTAIN SSTO and
SSTS variants are to be hosted. Noise abatement challenges will also be present, ranging from
the intense low frequency acoustics associated with vertical launch to sonic booms. Zoning may
require as much as a 5 mile wide corridor surrounding very long runways and launch pads.
Finally, facility sharing agreements will have to take in to consideration the military security
requirements associated with SUSTAIN.

6.4.2 Forward-Expeditionary Space Ports

Considering the national security purpose of SOF SUSTAIN, forward-deployed expeditionary
spaceports should be considered for Diego Garcia, Guam, and Hawaii at a minimum. All three
of these locations meet two important of launch site criteria, namely they are near the equator
allowing maximum use of the Earth's rotational speed, and all three permit launch towards the
east where the rocket range extends over water. They also all appear to offer the potential to host
launches to polar and highly inclined orbits, and Adak, AK should also be considered for hosting
such missions. This forward deployment will shave precious minutes off of time critical
missions where the mere appearance of forces can by itself have such a psychological impact on
the targeted audience that further escalation becomes unnecessary.

6.4.3 Carrier Launch Capability

As will be seen in the follow-on section that discusses the development of a technology roadmap
for SUSTAIN, certain spaceplane technologies under development today lend themselves to
possible aircraft carrier operations at sea. The specific class of space vehicle is known as “Single
Stage to Space (SSTO)” and in the future following further advances possibly “Single Stage to
Orbit (SSTO).” This class of vehicle comprises a unitary winged aerospacecraft that can be
powered by conventional air-breathing jet engines, liquid fueled rockets, hypersonic speed
Supersonic Combustion Ramjets (SCRAMJET), or a hybrid combination that includes all three
propulsion means.

As will be seen later, the SSTS vehicles that are being developed today have physical dimensions
comparable to many aircraft that are flown off of carriers today. Perhaps only a small number
would be required for the SUSTAIN mission so that this specialized capability and equipment
does not detract from the CVN’s core terrestrial Seastrike missions. In the near term only SSTS
vertical reach can be achieved from a CVN, not LEO. However, in reaching altitudes of 100 km
or more the CVN-based SUSTAIN may achieve a point-to-point capability of up to 1000 km


allowing individuals, small teams, or unmanned autonomous capabilities to be delivered in=to
denied areas rapidly. If the SSTS vehicle does not land it will be able to return to the Seabase
without refueling.

Over the longer term the SSTO spaceplane technologies may evolve to the point that global
reach can be achieved from the CVN platform for the same purpose. The necessary technology
enablers for such an advanced capability will be included in a future SUSTAIN Technology
Roadmap. It should be noted that CVN launch of SUSTAIN offers all of the advantages of the
aforementioned land based expeditionary spaceports, along with the additional quality of
selecting the launch location. As with any other highly specialized strategic capability, the
decision to equip CVNs with a SOF SUSTAIN capability will largely be a political one, just as
the decision to include tactical nuclear weapons in a ship’s arsenal or to enter territorial waters
with a nuclear ship can cause controversy. In summary, CVN-basing of SUSTAIN is a political
issue, not a technological issue.

6.4.4 Low Earth Orbit Military Space Station

Ideally, the SOF SUSTAIN capability calls for a permanent manned space segment. With
SUSTAIN-equipped specialized small units geographically dispersed across the globe, in
CONUS, aboard CVNs, and forward deployed at expeditionary spaceports, an eventual military
space station completes the set of options. A military space station in LEO provides several
advantages. First of all an operationally significant SUSTAIN capability is continually fueled,
rested, and has access to a variety of mission-equipment sets, not just the single equipment and
skill options it was launched with. Also, once safely on-orbit the SUSTAIN amounts to a fully
fueled drop ship that is at most 90 minutes from its terrestrial objective. Crews would of course
have to be frequently rotated, but the experience of ISS and other extended space programs
lowers the risk of maintaining a force-in-readiness in space.

The technological feasibility of creating and operating a space station is not in question, as the
International Space Station (ISS) is a known quantity. What is necessary though is to overcome
political resistance to the notion of militarizing space with a permanent armed presence. To date
the use of space as an extraterrestrial volume for the ballistic missile transit has come to be
accepted. Similarly, in the realm of information collection and exchange reconnaissance and
communications satellites dedicate to military purposes no longer encounter meaningful
resistance. Even the terrestrially launched SUSTAIN capability that reaches space during a
portion of its journey to a remote terrestrial objective can be categorized with ballistic missiles.
But a military space station invites a new level of scrutiny, both internationally and domestically.
In all cases, the earlier that a military space station can be debated the earlier that it will be

6.5 Expendable vs Reusable SUSTAIN Vehicles:

As will be seen in the SUSTAIN Technology Roadmap, many concepts for a family of
SUSTAIN material solutions have already been developed by a number of military, government,
and commercial entities. Today, all material capabilities relating to National Security Space
(NSS) space are expensive, and this will be evident in the discussions. Consequently, an


important area of discussion in the NSS community continues to be the issue of vehicle
reusability. The direction of launch vehicle technologies is already headed towards reusability,
and this can be efficiently leveraged for a SOF SUSTAIN capability. However, the issue of a
man-ratable, reusable upper stage remains a major cost question, and will be discussed in the
technology roadmap.

For SUSTAIN operations the issue of upper stage vehicle reusability and expendability ties in to
the issue of utility. Several variations of insertion and extraction are envisioned in this
CONOPS. Some envision a reusable upper stage that inserts a small force, has some utility
during the execution of the mission, and then serves as the means to allow the team to self-
extract via terrestrial flight or again through space. Others envision a vehicle that is CAV-like in
that it is merely an expendable pod (although a large one) that guarantees the safe and protected
insertion of the team and its equipment, but that can be destroyed in place or abandoned, with
extraction occurring by other means.

The issue of reusability vs expendability is therefore primarily one of cost. Even a man-rated
reentry pod has a significant cost associated with it, and if SUSTAIN becomes a mainstream
capability the routine destruction or abandonment of such vehicles is expensive. Conversely, the
development of a reusable spaceplane for SUSTAIN will have a much higher unit cost, even if
fewer are built. Dual and multi-use spaceplane technologies could drive the unit cost down, and
if SUSTAIN becomes a generally useful aerospace capability a “Wing” or “Wings” of such
vehicles can be imagined, driving unit costs down further. In the end the issues of SUSTAIN
vehicle reusability will be a political question of national cost, and must be subjected to military
appropriations debate.

6.6 SUSTAIN-Inserted Force Sustainability

The SOF force sustainability issues that confront SUSTAIN are little different than those that
already confront Joint Forces, and other forms of light infantry operating deep in an adversary’s
territory. Sustaining these forces through resupply, reinforcement, movement, and extraction
once they are inserted are fundamental requirements, and remain challenges in all cases. The
political aspect to this issue is the question of balancing the cost and risk of using SUSTAIN as a
small unit insertion means against the operational gains that can be foreseen through this
technique that cannot be accomplished by any other means. The threshold for SOF SUSTAIN
consideration is either the inaccessibility of the sensitive/critical site, the need for speed of
capability delivery, or a combination of both. Once a commitment to employ SUSTAIN has
been made the commitment to sustain the force is no longer an issue of debate, just as it is taken
for granted that one expends great efforts to sustain USSOCOM in the field today.

6.7 Defining Operational Utility of SUSTAIN

The HOT EAGLE examined several SOF SUSTAIN insertion and extraction concepts. These
ran the gamut from the most executable missions in the near-term to the most challenging
missions of the longer term.

6.7.1 Initial Spirals of SUSTAIN Capabilities


The lowest risk SOF mission in the near-term would be for a forward deployed sub-orbital SSTS
or mothership-launched vehicle to deliver an unmanned SOF payload into a denied area without
landing or remaining within theater. The launch could occur on Guam, Diego Garcia or aboard a
CVN. The distance would be relatively short for SUSTAIN, perhaps only a few hundred
Nautical Miles over a land-locked Area of Operations. This nominal capability is well within the
state of the art today as vertical or horizontal landing are unnecessary in theater and the
SUSTAIN vehicle can return to base without refueling. Payloads delivered could be weapons,
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), or logistics related. Considering the
straight-forward simplicity of such a SOF mission the vehicle could even be an unmanned
aerospace system.

The challenges with SUSTAIN increase as soon as the capability is man-rated for SOF team
insertion or on-orbit astronautically governed activity. Even if the vehicle is only planning on
delivering small SOF teams, space dive altitudes, vehicle velocities, G-Force and other
parameters will have to be achieved with precision. Also, the act of combat space diving will
require a breach of the SUSTAIN vehicle integrity in vacuum. It can also be assumed that a
manned mission will require a crew. All of this can be accomplished; however the degree of
complexity is greater with a manned payload.

If SOF teams are expected to be delivered as the payloads a landing will likely be required
following a reentry. Landing could be horizontal such as the Bimese second stage, whereby an
airstrip or field will be required, or the landing could be vertical such as the Delta Clipper and
similar VTOVL concepts. Complexity increases since the RLVs of both system types will
produce some degree of detectable audible, visible, and IR signatures in spite of mitigation
measures. In the case of a winged, horizontal landing some degree of airfield/strip
permissiveness must be assured. For the vertical landing, site characteristics and suitability must
be understood in advance.

In the case of all three scenarios above the distance from the launch site to the objective is
assumed to be short. Whether returning to base without reentering and landing or following
mission accomplishment on the ground and a self-extraction launch, the total distances involved
allow the SUSTAIN vehicle to conserve enough fuel for a return to the point of mission origin.
The vehicles best suited to this sort of short-range point-to-point mission are derivatives of the
SpaceShip and Lynx technologies now being developed for space tourism. Only small teams,
and in the case of space diving perhaps only individuals transported in separate space planes for
ground link-up, can be accommodated in the early iterations of SUSTAIN.

For longer range missions that approach the objective global two-hour delivery criteria of the
existing operational needs, the complexity of execution increases again. In the near-term SSTO
and point-to-point SSTS they will not in themselves be capable of carrying the fuel necessary to
complete a global mission without refueling. Multi-stage, heavy lift launch vehicles will be
required to accelerate a manned lander to the horizontal speeds needed for access, while allowing
the lander to retain enough fuel for a maneuvering reentry, some tactical cross-range, and a self-


Fortunately, the VTOVL, VTOHL, and HTOHL capabilities that are being developed by NASA
such as Ares, by AF such as ARES, and a possible rejuvenation of DC-Y will permit SUSTAIN
some efficient leverage. By HOT EAGLE’s estimations if the X-40-like HMFL only uses 10-
12% of its propellant load during reentry and landing, there should remain sufficient reserve for
some degree of self-extraction of the entire team. Ideally extraction would mean a return to sub-
orbit or LEO and a return to the point-of-origin in CONUS or anywhere else on the globe. In the
near-term such a self-contained energetic capability is beyond the reach of material and fuel
science. Nevertheless, an extraction with global reach may not be necessary under any
foreseeable circumstance. The threshold tactical and operational value of extraction relates to
regaining the safety and security of the SUSTAIN personnel and equipment. This implies that a
return to a friendly force or coming to within range of friendly mutual support is good enough.
By these more practical criteria, a successful extraction could be a thick air, low altitude flight of
a few tens to a few hundreds of Nautical Miles. Space and sub-orbital space can perhaps be
neglected altogether following insertion.

Another intermediate option for SOF SUSTAIN considers the possibility that a TSTO Bimese
RLV could refuel the SUSTAIN HMFL upon its return to LEO following terrestrial mission
completion and self-extraction. The HOT EAGLE program assumed that the winged second
stage of a Bimese pair would first transport the SUSTAIN VTOVL HMFL payload to LEO
enroute to the target. In fact, with the Bimese upper stage serving as a mothership the SUSTAIN
could loiter on-orbit for up to 72 hours if the fluid situation on the ground so dictates. Once
ordered to insert the lander would be topped-off so that the crew would have a full load of fuel
when they begin their deorbit. Again, only 10-12% of that fuel would be expended during a
maneuvering glide reentry and vertical landing. The lander that delivers the team will be
reusable, and await mission completion for the team’s vertical launch self-extraction back to

Meanwhile, the winged Bimese upper stage would remain in LEO. Either through augmentation
with conformal external tanks or simply by means of its heavy lift capacity and reserve, the
winged stage will have additional fuel so as to serve as a space tanker. Upon the link up of the
tanker and the lander upon its return to orbit, that lander and crew could again be topped off in
order to have enough Delta V to get back to the needed orbital inclination and parameters so as
to safely return to the spaceport. Once this refueling has occurred the tanker mission will be
complete as well, and any external expendable tankage can be jettisoned and deorbited. Whether
it is piloted or unmanned, this winged RLV stage can now itself deorbit and fly back to the
spaceport for refurbishment and marriage with its twin in preparation for the next mission.

6.7.2 Objective Spiral of SUSTAIN Capability

The objective SOF SUSTAIN capability, and arguably the objective transport capability of all
commercial, scientific, and civil space interests, is the SSTO vehicle. In the case of SUSTAIN,
militarized SSTO would permit a small force to embark a vehicle in CONUS or at any other
point on the ground around the globe, along with their weapons and equipment. Just as SOF
teams of squad and platoon (-) size load C-130s, CV-22s, UH-64, OV-10s, CH-53s, CH-47s, and
any number of like combat vehicles, so too would SUSTAIN travel in mutually supporting
formations of two or more spaceplane vehicles. While the design of the individual SUSTAIN


vehicle platform is necessarily constrained to a single small unit, the actual SOF capability
delivered may be many times larger, and delivered in a formation of separate vehicles.

The central SSTO capability is one vehicle without the need for a mothership or separate booster
stages can be dispatched on a mission worldwide (including LEO), conduct that mission, and
return to the Seabase or spaceport without having to refuel. This is a routine expectation for
surface and air tactical assault support platforms. While it is currently beyond the state of the art
with respect to material, fuel, and compact power source technologies, it can be envisioned and
should be developed because it will have extraordinary operational utility.

The objective SUSTAIN capability also calls for a VSTOL capability so that the piloted
spaceplane retains the flexibility to land either horizontally or vertically, whatever happens to be
tactically suitable at the time. Also, hybrid propulsion systems will be included whereby the
SUSTAIN vehicle will integrate redundant options that include air-breathing and rocket
components, with the rockets being fueled with oxygen and hydrogen, primarily. Some of the
oxygen would be compressed and captured during hypersonic flight. Both oxygen and hydrogen
would be extracted and liquefied from water on in-theater from indigenous water sources using
electrolysis, in-stride with the mission.

In order to accomplish electrolysis and cryo storage, the objective SUSTAIN platform will also
require a significant reservoir of pulsed and continuous electrical power. That power will also be
needed for life-support, protection, electric weapons, ion thrusters for small attitude adjustments
on orbit, ultrasonic acoustic refrigeration, and thermal management functions. SUSTAIN should
drive the state-of-the-art in compact battery, capacitor, and cryogenically-cooled generator
technologies. The objective SUSTAIN should also consider incorporating a compact nuclear
power source for full realization of its platform potential. Compact onboard CW and pulse power
capabilities are anticipated to leverage other on-going DoD science and technology (S&T)
thrusts, and will help enable this field-expedient fuel production capacity.


                                        Appendix A


1. Assessing the Potential for Suborbital Transportation by International Space Univ. dated 2008
2. NASA’s New Human Space Flight Partner: COTS, authored by CPT Andy Lee dated 19 Oct 2008
3. USA TODAY article titled Pentagon Envisions Spaceship Troopers dated 15 Oct 2008
4. SUSTAIN Conference Minutes (Archive) dated 23 Sep 2008
5. Draft 1.0 of SUSTAIN CONOPS dated 12 Aug 08
6. Joint NSSO and USMC SUSTAIN Brief dated 10 Jun 2008
7. The MAGTF - USMC Concepts and Programs dated 2007
8. USSOCOM Capstone Concept for Special Operations dated 2006
9. Popular Science Magazine article titled Marines in Space dated Dec 2006
10. DARPA Director’s Out-Brief of LtCol Paul Damphousse dated 13 Dec 2005
11. dated 2005
12. HOT EAGLE Presentation titled Marine Ops Using Space Transport dated 13 Jul 2005
13. CMC Concept Paper for Distributed Operations dated 25 Apr 2005
14. Marine Corps Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare Capabilities List dated 15 Apr 2005
15. HOT EAGLE White Paper dated 10 Mar 2005
16. Jawbreaker, authored by Gary Berntsen dated 2005
17. Letter from Dr. Hans Mark dated 5 Jan 2004
18. Special Operations Space Enabling Concept dated 25 May 2004
19. Force Application Functional Concept dated 5 Mar 2004
20. MV-22 Concept of Employment dated 15 Dec 2003
21. Army and USMC Planner Memos on Human Space Flight Questions dated 26 Aug 2003
22. Memorandum of Agreement for the CAV/Hypersoar Program dated 26 May 2003
23. Prompt Global Strike Mission Need Statement dated 2 May 2003
24. Naval Transformation Roadmap dated 2003
25. PP&O Presentation to CMC of SUSTAIN concept dated 2003
26. JCD, Full Spectrum Dominance Through Joint Integration SV-1 dated 22 Jan 2003
27. CJCSI 3170, Joint Capabilities Integration and Requirements System, dated 22 Jan 2003
28. Sea Power Magazine interview of outgoing CMC General James L. Jones dated Jan 2003
29. National Security Space Plan dated 2003
30. Draft SUSTAIN Initial Capabilities Document dated Nov 2002
31. The National Security Strategy dated September 2002
32. Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion Universal Need Statement dated 22 Jul 2002
33. Marine Corps Need Statement for an Advanced Gunship Weapons Suite, dated 13 May 2002
34. Strategic Technology Investment Prioritization for Space Transport Systems dated Oct 2001
35. Marine Corps Opening Statement before the Space Commission dated 2001
36. USAF Scientific Advisory Board Report on AF Hypersonics Research dated Dec 2000
37. CG, MCCDC Concept Paper titled Ship-to-Objective Maneuver dated 25 Jul 1997
38. CMC Concept Paper titled Operational Maneuver from the Sea dated 1997
39. Space Power, authored by G. Harry Stine dated 1981


                            Appendix B


AAR       Air-Augmented Rocket
AAV       Amphibious Assault Vehicle
ABL       Airborne Laser
ABO       Airbase Opening
ACAT      Acquisition Category
ACES      Alchemist Air Collection and Enrichment System
ACF       Air Contingency Force
ACM       Air Contingency MAGTF
AEDC      Arnold Engineering Development Center
AEF       Air Expeditionary Force
AEG       Air Expeditionary Group
AEW       Air Expeditionary Wing
AF        Air Force
AFAF      Air Force Auxiliary Field
AFETS     Air Force Engineering and Technical Services
AFOSR     Air Force Office of Scientific Research
AFRL      Air Force Research Laboratory
AFSOC     Air Force Special Operations Command
AFSPC     Air Force Space Command
AGM       Air-to-Ground Missile
AGOW      Air Ground Operations Wing
AHM       Airborne Hypersonic Missile
AI        Air Interdiction
Al        Aluminum
ALETD     Advanced Law Enforcement Training Division
ALO       Air Liaison Officer
ALTV      Approach and Landing Test Vehicle
AMC       Airborne Mission Coordinator
AMC       Air Mobility Command
ANSER     Analytic Services Inc
ANGLICO   Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company
AoA       Analysis of Alternatives
AoA       Angle of Attack
ADVON     Advanced Echelon
AOC       Air Operations Center
AOR       Area of Responsibility
ARG       Amphibious Ready Group
ARES      Affordable Responsive Spacelift
ARRMD     Affordable Rapid Response Missile Demonstrator
ASAT      Anti-Satellite
ASC       Aeronautics Systems Center
ASOC      Army Special Operations Command


ASSET    Aerothermodynamic/elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests
ATL      Advanced Tactical Laser
atm      Atmospheres of Pressure
AT0      Air Tasking Order
ATR      Automatic Target Recognition
AWFC     Air Warfare Center

BAI      Backup Aircraft Inventory
BDA      Battle Damage Assessment
BDG      Base Defense Groups
BLOS     Beyond Line-of-Sight
BLUE     Basic Launch Understanding Effort
BMDO     Ballistic Missile Defense Office
BOS      Base Operating Support

C2       Command and Control
C3       Command, Control and Communications
C4I      Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence
CAF      Combat Air Forces
CAG      Combat Applications Group
CAS      Close Air Support
CAV      Common Aero Vehicle
CBA      Capabilities Based Assessment
CBRN     Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear
CBRNE    Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive
C-C      Carbon-Carbon
CC&D     Camouflage Concealment and Deception
CCSO     Capstone Concept for Special Operations
CCTV     Closed-Circuit Television
CDP      Concept Development Process
CDR      Critical Design Review
CETS     Contractor Engineering Technical Services
CFD      Computational Fluid Dynamics
CIA      Central Intelligence Agency
CIFS     Close In Fire Support
CINC     Commander-in-Chief
CMA      Collections Management Authority
COCOM    Combatant Command Authority
COM      Collections Operations Management
CRG      Combat Response Group
COMSEC   Communications Security
COE      Concept of Employment
CONOPS   Concept of Operations
CONUS    Continental United States
CPE      Close Precision Engagement
CRG      Crisis Response Group


CRAF           Civil Reserve Air Fleet
CRM            Collections Requirements Management
Cryo           Cryogenically
CSAR           Combat Search And Rescue
CSG            Centre Spatial Guyanais
CSS            Combat Service Support
CSSE           Combat Service Support Element
CTO            Chief Technology Officer
CTV            Crew Transfer Vehicle
CVN            Carrier Fixed Wing Navy
CW             Continuous Wave

DARPA          Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
DBS            Deployable Bench Stock
DBT            Deeply Buried Target
DCGS           Distributed Common Ground Station
DC-XA          Delta Clipper-Experimental Advanced
DE             Directed Energy
DEAD           Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses
DEATHSTRIIKE   Deterrence of Enemy Activities & THreats by Space Transport for Rapid
               Insertion, Influence, & Kinetic Effects
Delta Force    1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta
DEMPC          Data Exploitation and Mission Planning Console
DEVGRU         Naval Special Warfare Development Group
DEW            Directed Energy Weapons
DF             Deuterium Fluoride
DGPS           Differential Global Positioning Satellite
DIRLAUTH       Direct Liaison Authorized
DISA           Defense Information Systems Agency
DISN           DISA Information System Network
DMS            Defense Messaging Service
DoD            Department of Defense
DOTMLPF        Doctrine, Organize, Train, Material, Logistics, Personnel, & Facilities

EA             Executive Agent
EELV           Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle
ELV            Expendable Launch Vehicle
EFV            Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
EMD            Engineering and Manufacturing Development
EMP            Electromagnetic Pulse
EO             Electro-Optic
E/O            Electro-Optical
EOB            Electronic Order of Battle
EOD            Explosive Ordnance Disposal
ESD            Electrostatic Discharge
EST            Emergency Services Teams


ETAC     Enlisted Terminal Attack Controller
EUCOM    European Command
EW       Electronic Warfare

F2T2EA   Find Fix Track Target Engage Assess
FAA      Functional Area Analysis
FAC      Forward Air Controller
FAC(A)   Forward Air Controller (Airborne)
FASC     Family of Assault Support Capabilities
FARC     Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
FCT      Firepower Control Team
FDE      Force Development Evaluation
Fe       Iron
FID      Foreign Internal Defense
FIE      Fly-In-Echelon
FM       Frequency Modulation
FMTU     Foreign Military Training Unit
FNA      Functional Need Analysis
FO       Forward Observer
FOC      Full Operational Capability
FOD      Foreign Object Damage
FOIA     Freedom of Information Act
FOL      Forward Operating Location
FP       Force Protection
FSA      Functional Solutions Analysis
FSSG     Force Service Support Groups
ft       Feet
ft/sec   Feet per Second
FTU      Flying Training Unit
FYDP     Future Years Defense Program

GBS      Global Broadcast System
GCC      Geographic Combatant Command
GCS      Ground Control Station
GEO      Global Engagement Operations
GEO      Geostationary Orbit
GJ       Giga-Joule
GPS      Global Positioning Satellite
GDT      Ground Data Terminal
GFAC     Ground Forward Air Controller
GMTI     Ground Moving Target Indicator
GOTCHA   Goals, Objectives, Technical Challenges, and Approaches
GTOW     Gross Takeoff Weight

H2O2     Hydrogen Peroxide
HAHO     High Altitude High Opening


HALO        High Altitude Low Opening
HARM        High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile
HCV         Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle
HEL         High Energy Laser
HEO         Highly Elliptical Orbit
HF          Hydrogen Fluoride
HL          Heavy Lift
HNA         Host Nation Approval
HNS         Host Nation Support
HOT EAGLE   High Ops Tempo Access to Globe and Launch Experiment
HPM         High Power Microwave
HTOHL       Horizontal Takeoff Horizontal Landing
HTS         Horizontal Test Stand
HUMINT      Human Intelligence
Hyper-X     NASA X-43 Hyper-X Program
HVT         High Value Target
HyTech      Hypersonics Technology Program

I&W         Indications and Warning
ICBM        Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
ICD         Initial Capabilities Document
I-CDR       Incremental Critical Design Review
IDM         Improved Data Modem
IFFIS       Identification Friend-or-Foe Selective Identification Feature
IHPRPT      Integrated High-Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology
IHPTET      Integrated High-Performance Turbine Engine Technology
IMC         Instrument Meteorological Conditions
INS         Inertial Navigation System
INT         Interdiction
IO          Information Operations
IOC         Initial Operational Capability
IPB         Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace
IR          Infrared
IRBM        Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
IS2         Integrated Stage 2
ISA         Intelligence Support Activity
ISAS        Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
ISR         Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
ISS         International Space Station
ISSA        Inter-Service Support Agreements
IT          Information Technology
ITAR        International Traffic in Arms Regulations
IW          Information Warfare

JCS         Joint Chiefs of Staff
JESOF       Joint Expeditionary Special Operations Force


JFACC      Joint Force Air Component Commander
JFC        Joint Force Commander
JFCOM      Joint Forces Command
JP         Jet Propellant
JHPSSL     Joint High Power Solid State Laser
JORTS      Joint Operations Readiness and Training System
JROC       Joint Requirements Oversight Council
JSO        Joint Special Operations
JSOC       Joint Special Operations Command
JSOC4I     JSOC Control, Communications, Computers, and Information
JSOEC      Joint Special Operations Enabling Concepts
JSOI       Joint Special Operations Intelligence
JSOKCA     Joint Special Operations Keystone Capability Area
JSOLAR     Joint Special Operations Logistics, Acquisition, and Resourcing
JSOTEC     Joint Special Operations Training and Education Command
JSOU       Joint Special Operations University
JSOTEC     Joint Special Operations Training and Education Command
JSOTF      Joint Special Operations Task Force
JSOW       Joint Special Operations Warrior
JSTARS     Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System
JSTOF      Joint Special Operations Task Force
JSTRIIKE   Joint Space Transport for Rapid Insertion, Influence, & Kinetic Effects
JTAC       Joint Terminal Air Controller
JTIDS      Joint Tactical Information Display System
JTO        Joint Technology Office
JTRS       Joint Tactical Radio System
JWICS      Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System
JZ         Jump Zone

Kbps       Kilo Bits Per Second
KE         Kinetic Energy
KEW        Kinetic Energy Weapons
kgf        Kilogram-Force
KIAS       Knots Indicated Airspeed
KKV        Kinetic Kill Vehicle
kN         Kilo Newton
KT         Kiloton
kW         Kilowatt

LAN        Local Area Network
lb         Pound
LCE        Logistics Combat Element
L/D        Length-to-Diameter
LD         Low-Density
LEO        Low Earth Orbit
LG ESD     Laser-Guided Electrostatic Discharge


LLNL         Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
LNO          Liaison Officers
LOC          Line of Communication
LOCAAS       Low Cost Autonomous Attack System
LOS          Line of Sight
LOX          Liquid Oxygen
LRI          Line Replaceable Items
LRPP         Long Range Planning Process
LTD          Laser Target Designator
LTIOV        Last Time Information is of Value
LTM          Laser Target Marker
LWIR         Long Wave Infrared
LZ           Landing Zone

m            Meter
M            Mach
MAGTF        Marine Air Ground Task Force
MANPADS      Man Portable Air Defense System
MARSOC       Marine Special Operations Command
MARSOF       Marine Special Operations Forces
MASINT       Measurement and Signals Intelligence
MAW          Marine Aircraft Wings
MCO          Major Combat Operations
MDA          Milestone Decision Authority
MDS          Mission Design Series
MEB          Marine Expeditionary Brigade
MEO          Medium-Earth Orbit
MEPOP        Multi-mission Expeditionary Persistent Overhead Platform
MEU          Marine Expeditionary Unit
MFP          Major Force Program
MGD          Magneto Gas Dynamic
MHD          Magnetohydrodynamic
MHz          Megahertz
MLCC         Mobile Launch Control Center
MICHELLE-B   Modular Incremental Compact High Energy Low-cost Launch Example
MILSTD       Military Standard
mips         Million Instructions per Second
MLCC         Mobile Launch Control Center
MIRV         Multiple Independently-targetable Reentry Vehicle
MNS          Mission Needs Statement
MOA          Memorandum of Agreement
MOB          Main Operating Base
MOOTW        Military Operations Other Than War
MOPP         Mission Oriented Protective Posture
MOS          Military Occupational Specialty
MOU          Memorandum of Understanding


MPC         Mission Planning Cell
MPF         Maritime Pre-positioned Force
MPS         Maritime Pre-positioned Ships
MPSRON      Maritime Pre-positioning Ships Squadrons
MSOAG       Marine Special Operations Advisor Group
MSOB        Marine Special Operations Battalion
MSOC        Marine Special Operations Companies
MSOSG       Marine Special Operations Support Group
MSOT        Marine Special Operations Team
MTI         Moving Target Indicator
MTS         Multi-spectral Targeting System
MTW         Major Theater War
MW          Megawatt
MWIR        Medium Wave Infrared

NAI         National Aerospace Initiative
NAI         Named Area of Interest
NASA        National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA LaRC   NASA Langley Research Center
NASP        National Aerospace Plane
Nb          Niobium
NBC         Nuclear, Biological and Chemical
NCA         National Command Authority
NDS         National Defense Strategy (NDS)
NEO         Non-combatant Evacuation Operation
NHFRF       National Hypersonic Flight Research Facility
NG          Northrop Grumman
NIPRNet     Non-secure Internet Protocol Routing Network
nm          Nautical Miles
NPB         Neutral Particle Beam
NRC         National Research Council
NRL         Naval Research Lab
NRO         National Reconnaissance Office
NSS         National Security Space
NSSO        National Security Space Office
NSSP        National Security Space Plan
NSTC        National Science and Technology Council
NVG         Night Vision Goggle

OODA        Observe-Orient-Decide-Act
OP          Observation Post
OPCON       Operational Control
OPSEC       Operational Security
ORS         Operationally Responsive Space
OSC         On-Scene Commander
OSD         Office of the Secretary of Defense


OTAR     Over-The-Air Rekeying
OTV      Orbital Transfer Vehicle

PACOM    Pacific Command
PBD      Program Budget Decision
PD       Probability of Damage
PDAI     Primary Developmental Aircraft Inventory
PDE      Pulse Detonation Engine
PGM      Precision Guided Munition
PID      Positive Identification
PIREP    Pilot Report
PJ       Pararescuemen
PMAI     Primary Mission Aircraft Inventory
PRIME    Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry
psi      Pounds per Square Inch
PSYOPS   Psychological Operations
PTAI     Primary Training Aircraft Inventory

QDR      Quadrennial Defense Review

R&D      Research and Development
RASV     Reusable Aerodynamic Space Vehicle
RBCC     Rocket-Based, Combined Cycle [Engine Configuration]
RCS      Radar Cross Section
RDT&E    Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation
RESCAP   Rescue Combat Air Patrol
RFI      Request for Information
RTLS     Return to Launch Site
RLV      Reusable Launch Vehicle
ROE      Rules of Engagement
ROMO     Range of Military Operations
RQG      Rescue Group
RSN      Regional Satellite Node
RSP      Readiness Spares Package
RSTA     Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition
RVT      Reusable Vehicle Test

S&T      Science and Technology
SAA      Senior Airfield Authority
SAB      Air Force Scientific Advisory Board
SAC      Supporting Arms Coordination
SALT     Supporting Arms Liaison Team
SAM      Surface-to-Air Missile
SADL     Situation Awareness Data Link
SAM      Surface to Air Missile
SAR      Synthetic Aperture Radar


SBIR        Small Business Innovative Research
SBL         Space-Based Laser
SBR         Space Based Radar
SBSP        Space Based Solar Power
SBU         Sensitive But Unclassified
SATCOM      Satellite Communications
SCIF        Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility
SCL         Standard Conventional Load
SCRAMJET    Supersonic Combustion RAMJET
SDB         Small Diameter Bomb
SEAD        Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
SEAL        SEa, Air and Land
SECAF       Secretary of the Air Force
SEI         SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc.
SFG         Security Forces Group
SHL         Super Heavy Lift
SHORAD      Short Range Air Defense
SIGINT      Signals Intelligence
SIPRNet     Secure Internet Protocol Routing Network
SLBM        Sea-Launched Ballistic Missile
SLI         Space Launch Initiative
Sm2Co17     Samarium-Cobalt
SMC         Space and Missile Command
SME         Subject Matter Expert
SMU         Special Mission Unit
SMV         Space Maneuvering Vehicle
SOC         Special Operations Capable
SOC         Squadron Operations Center
SOCOM       Special Operations Command
SOFA        Status of Forces Agreement
SOG         Special Operations Group
SOKF        Special Operations Knowledge and Futures
SOP         Standard Operating Procedures
SOS         Special Operations Squadron
SOT         Statement of Task
SOV         Space Operations Vehicle
SOW         Special Operations Wing
SpaceX      Space Exploration Technologies Corporation
SRB         Solid Rocket Boosters
SRT         Special Reaction Team
SSC         Small Scale Contingencies
SST         Supersonic Transport
SSTO        Single Stage To Orbit
SSTS        Single Stage To Space
STRIIKE     Space Transport for Rapid Insertion, Influence, & Kinetic Effects
STRIKEPAC   Space Transport for Rapid Insertion, Kinetic Effects, & Psyops ACtions


STG         Special Tactics Group
STS         Space Transportation System
STS         Special Tactics Squadron
SUSTAIN     Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion Capability
SWAT        Special Weapons And Tactics
SX-1        Spaceplane Experimental

TACON       Tactical Control
TACP        Tactical Air Control Party
TACS        Theater Air Control System
TARPS       Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System
TASS        Tactical Automated Sensor Systems
TAV         Transatmospheric Vehicle
TBCC        Turbine-Based Combined Cycle (Engine Configuration)
TBM         Theater Ballistic Missile
TCT         Time Critical Target
T/E         Table of Equipment
TEG         Test and Evaluation Group
TEL         Transporter-Erector-Launcher
TF          Task Force
Tgt         Target
THAAD       Theater High-Altitude Area Defense
Ti          Titanium
TIB S       Tactical Information Broadcast System
TMAC        Transformational Mass Acceleration Capability
TOF         Time of Flight
TPED        Tasking Processing Exploitation and Dissemination
TRANSEC     Transmission Security
TRAP        Tactical recovery of Aircraft and Personnel
TRL         Technology Readiness Level
TSOC        Theater Special Operations Command
TST         Time Sensitive Target
TSTO        Two-Stage-To-Orbit

UAS         Unmanned Aerial System
UAV         Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UCP         Unified Command Plan
UHF         Ultra High Frequency
US          United States
USA         US Army
USAF        US Air Force
USAFSOS     United States Air Force Special Operations School
USCENTCOM   U.S. Central Command
USD(AT&L)   Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
USMC        United States Marine Corps
USN         US Navy


USSTRATCOM   U.S. Strategic Forces Command
UV           Ultraviolet

VAB          Vehicle Assembly Building
VaPak        Propane Vapor Pressurization
VHF          Very High Frequency
VHM          Vehicle Health Monitoring
VMC          Visual Meteorological Conditions
VSTOL        Vertical-Short Take-Off and Landing
VTOHL        Vertical Take-Off Horizontal Landing
VTOL         Vertical Take-Off and Landing
VTOVL        Vertical Take-Off Vertical Landing
VTS          Vertical Test Stand

W            Watt
WAN          Wide Area Network
WCMD         Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser
WIG          Weakly Ionized Gas
WISTI        Wide-Area Infrared Surveillance Thermal Imager
WMD          Weapons of Mass Destruction
WSMR         White Sands Missile Range
WSTF         White Sands Test Facility