Unit trainers from the 21st and 50th Security Forces Squadron conduct virtual simulator training on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Feb. 13, 2024.

Unit trainers from the 21st and 50th Security Forces Squadron conduct virtual simulator training on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Feb. 13, 2024. U.S. Space Force / Airman 1st Class Cody Friend

Space operations boss wants more virtual simulations to boost training

After a recent demo, Lt. Gen. David Miller said Space Operations Command needs realistic simulations to train at the highest levels.

The Space Force wants better virtual training simulations that mimic real-life threats to better hone guardians’ skills, a top defense official said. 

“We don't have the emulation capability for the threat and the simulation capability across units to allow us to train at the high fidelity levels that we will need to,” Lt. Gen. David Miller, commander of Space Operations Command, said during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event Monday. “I'll be honest …much of that training will likely be very sensitive, and we would not want to expose that in a live-fly arena. So it's going to probably have to be virtual.”  

The Space Force began the “commit” phase of its force readiness framework, called the Space Force Generation model, on July 1. The framework is split into three parts: “prepare” for 21 days, “ready” for 42 days, and “commit” for 105 days. 

“We are walking through tabletop exercises, threat academics, planning iterations and charrettes, and we do do some exercises already, primarily with the support of our [Space Training and Readiness Command] teammates…that allow us to get the mission area to focus right in one set of exercises and training venues,” he said. 

Additionally, the training simulations must be incorporated across multiple missions and weapons systems, Miller said. 

“In the past, because of the way the sustainment was focused, the training improvements were only focused—laser focused—on a training suite inside one particular weapon system. I’ve got 68 major weapon systems in SpOC,” Miller said. “We need to train across weapon systems so that they can plan together, execute a plan…That is how the joint force fights, and that's the direction we're headed.”

The demand for space capabilities has skyrocketed in recent years as the Space Force provides capabilities to the Joint Staff and combatant commands. For example, the military branch currently doesn’t have the capacity to meet combatant commanders’ needs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, Miller said. 

“For every mission in space, we’ve got one squadron. So the notion that we can break every one of those squadrons up into small pieces, and give them to every combatant commander, we'd be we'd have nothing left to constitute. So we have to have models that allow us to meet 24/7 mission requirements, while simultaneously surging to the needs and demands of combatant commanders.” 

SpOC is planning an inaugural meeting with allies, partners, and all of the combatant commanders in October to discuss requirements, capacity, and modernization needs.

“We'll have a first-ever sourcing and prioritization conference with all of the combatant commanders as well as our allies and the interagency in October. All those requirements will come in, we'll level-set on the capacity that we have, including modernization that we might need to take forces down in order to build new capability, and then build a plan for the future that goes out at least two to three years,” Miller said. “And we're going to refresh on that every six months.”

The meeting will come almost a year after a reorganization that included specific groups called integrated mission deltas, dedicated to key focus areas like electronic warfare to better align tech capabilities with what operators need.