Stingy Intel-Sharing a ‘Recipe for Losing’: Space Force’s David Miller

Defence Industry

Orlando: Overly restrictive handling of US intelligence and battlefield insights that boxes out allied forces is a failing move, says the leader of US Space Operations Command.

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The Department of Defence and the intelligence community increasingly view a successful fight with Russia and China as requiring teammates: France in a battle for Europe, for example, or Australia in the Indo-Pacific. Hesitancy to share data between countries could translate to disjointed operations and confusion on the front lines.

Space Force Lt Gen David Miller on May 6 told attendees at the GEOINT conference in Florida that legacy processes that “stamp NOFORN on everything” are a “recipe for losing.” The NOFORN designation indicates that information may not be released to foreign governments, organisations and non-US citizens. It is one of many factors that controls who can see what and when.

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“The United States does not go into conflict alone. Check your history. It does not happen,” said Miller, who took the helm at Space Operations Command in January. His comments come as the Defence Department pursues what’s known as Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

In the CJADC2 vision, forces across land, air, sea, space and cyber are seamlessly connected and firepower can be coordinated over vast distances. That includes international troops, with whom the US military has a history fighting alongside.

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“It must be interoperable,” Miller said. “We need to have our coalition partners a part of the formation and their shooters ready to receive this information, and it goes directly to them at the same time it goes to the United States Air Force or whoever the shooter is on our side.”

Secrecy in the space domain has long posed a challenge to the Defence Department and the public looking to know more. Congress has in the past instructed the department to review its classified space portfolio. A rewrite of space classification policy was announced earlier this year.

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“Inside the Beltway, people always ask me, ‘How can I make things unclassified?’ That is not actually a thing I’m all that concerned about,” John Plumb, assistant secretary of defence for space policy, told reporters at the Pentagon earlier this year. “I’m concerned about reducing the classification of things where they are over classified to the point that it hampers our ability to get work done or hampers the ability of the warfighter to do their mission.”