One of the first rules of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) is, Admit when you have lost contact. This is a valuable rule, because it allows tactical crews to reestablish a datum and begin with new tactics, with a much higher probability of submarine redetection, rather than continue unproductive search patterns. As a Navy, we should admit we have “lost contact” when it comes to space.
Despite being dependent on space for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; position, navigation, and timing; communications; and weather information, the Navy is not organized to ensure its needs are met as the new Space Force takes shape. It must make long-needed changes in space manning, training, organizational alignment, and operational practices.
The Navy in Space: Yesterday and Today
In the 1960s, the Navy influenced both manned and unmanned space development. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed the first electronic signals intelligence satellite, Grab (Galactic Radiation and Background), in 1958, launching Grab 1 in June 1960. In addition:
1. From the Sea to the Stars: A Chronicle of the U.S. Navy’s Space and Space-Related Activities, 1944–2009 (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, 2010).
2. From the Sea to the Stars, 66.