In a large, tin-roofed warehouse near Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, members of a team of modern space warriors spend their days hatching plots to defeat the US military in extraterrestrial combat.
They’re called Space Aggressors.
Their job is to act like the enemy during mock space battles to help US units prepare for a conflict that may one day extend into the cosmos.
“We play the bad guys,” said Captain Christopher Barnes, chief of training for the 26th Space Aggressor Squadron. “Our job is to not only understand the different types of threats and potential enemies, but also to be able to portray them and replicate them for the good guys, our Air Force.”
The 26th and 527th Space Aggressor Squadrons are headquartered in a two-story warehouse at Colorado’s Schriever Air Force Base, stocked with advanced radio and satellite equipment and nicknamed “the barn.” Behind the building, antenna dishes trace the sky.
While attacks by the Space Aggressors are simulated, senior US military and intelligence officials warn the threat in space is very real.
America relies heavily on space assets to project force around the globe, from launching missiles to directing warships across the seas. Indeed, the Global Positioning System, or GPS, is actually a group of 31 high-orbiting satellites owned by the US government and operated by the US Air Force.
Some worry that disrupting America’s vast network of satellites and ground-based systems could send US forces back to an antiquated era of…