Social Networking Helps Shoot Down Rogue Sat

“Operation Burnt Frost,” last year’s shootdown of a rogue spy satellite, was a triumph of social networking, according to Lucas Steinhauser, the deputy chief of U.S. Strategic Command’s Knowledge Transfer Office.

A recent article in an internal newsletter noted that social networking tools enabled planners to find the right people with the right expertise as the satellite hurtled toward re-entry. In very short order, the team was able to reach out to a NASA engineer who was able to conduct specialized modeling necessary to understand satellite’s trajectory — and gauge the likelihood of a successful shootdown.

“Leveraging our nation’s expertise through individual social networks was a huge determining factor in the success of Operation Burnt Frost,” wrote Steinhauser.

Social networks helped planners navigate around the national security bureaucracy during the operation.

“We soon learned that the executive officers and our network of contacts were invaluable,” wrote Maj. Michael Shewfelt. “They could quickly retrieve or obtain the latest information directly from the generating source. Many times a senior officer would ask for the latest briefing received. We would call the flag’s executive officer and he or she would track the briefing down to an un-forwarded e-mail attachment still in a senior officer’s e-mail inbox.”

Under the leadership of Gen. James Cartwright, now the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the U.S. Strategic Command adopted a lot of the collaborative office tools that are already commonplace in the commercial world.

“Operation Burnt Frost,” last year’s shootdown of a rogue spy satellite, was a triumph of social networking, according to Lucas Steinhauser, the deputy chief of U.S. Strategic Command’s Knowledge Transfer Office.

A recent article in an internal newsletter noted that social networking tools enabled planners to find the right people with the right expertise as the satellite hurtled toward re-entry. In very short order, the team was able to reach out to a NASA engineer who was able to conduct specialized modeling necessary to understand satellite’s trajectory — and gauge the likelihood of a successful shootdown.

“Leveraging our nation’s expertise through individual social networks was a huge determining factor in the success of Operation Burnt Frost,” wrote Steinhauser.

Social networks helped planners navigate around the national security bureaucracy during the operation.

“We soon learned that the executive officers and our network of contacts were invaluable,” wrote Maj. Michael Shewfelt. “They could quickly retrieve or obtain the latest information directly from the generating source. Many times a senior officer would ask for the latest briefing received. We would call the flag’s executive officer and he or she would track the briefing down to an un-forwarded e-mail attachment still in a senior officer’s e-mail inbox.”

Under the leadership of Gen. James Cartwright, now the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the U.S. Strategic Command adopted a lot of the collaborative office tools that are already commonplace in the commercial world.

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