Last January, following the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, Iran tried to retaliate by launching dozens of missiles at U.S. military bases in Iraq. Remarkably, not a single American was killed in those attacks and now the reason why can be revealed.
The U.S. Space Force’s early warning system worked to quickly get Americans into shelters on those bases, thwarting Iranian designs to kill a lot of American servicemen and women. About 100 Americans suffered from several kinds of traumatic brain injuries but otherwise, there were no military personnel who were harmed.
Officers spoke to the importance of the Space Force’s role in the operation. “This is what they’re trained to do day in and day out,” Space Force Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Brandon Davenport told C4ISRNET. “It felt like any other day other than the fact that we all knew there were Americans and allies on the other end of that missile.”
Though the branch is newly minted—the Space Force was commissioned less than a month before the attack—its early warning system has seen extensive action thus far. In 2020 alone, the Space Force tracked over 1,000 missiles worldwide. The branch closely monitors U.S. rivals such as China and Russia, whose space capabilities increasingly pose a threat to American security.
Space Force chief of space operations Gen. John Raymond applauded the efforts of his service members to defend against Iranian aggression.
“They operated the world’s best missile warning capabilities,” Raymond said. “They did outstanding work, and I’m very, very proud of them.”
The report comes from C4ISRNet, an electronic warfare site.
In addition to foiling the Iranian attack, the Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise became an official part of the U.S. intelligence community.
The Space Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise became the 18th member of the intelligence apparatus. It has not been expanded since 2006 when the Drug Enforcement Administration’s intelligence unit became a member.
“This accession reaffirms our commitment to securing outer space as a safe and free domain for America’s interests,” National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said during an afternoon ceremony with Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond.
Critics will question whether or not the early warning of incoming Iranian missiles could have been effected by the Air Force space command or some other Pentagon office that was already in existence. It would be a fair question. It appears to me that Space Force has been having trouble carving out an independent role from other agencies and services. But going beyond the PR, this was a notable example of Space Force capabilities under pressure.
And that’s a good thing.