US and close allies sign ‘call to action’ in space defense – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

Chief of Air Force Capability, Air Vice Marshal Cath Roberts AM, CSC, inside the Photovoltaic Systems (EOS) control room at Mount Stromlo Observatory, Canberra. (LAC Adam Abela, Royal Australian Air Force)

WASHINGTON: In a first public statement of intent, the United States and five of its closest military allies today announced a joint “call to action” for future cooperation to protect our interests. their interests in space, including potential development efforts to fill gaps in their collective capacities.

While there are no real surprises, the document is clearly designed as a signal that China and Russia have a common ally to push back against the ongoing political struggle to shape opinion. on acceptable military actions in space.

Vision “Combined Spatial Operations (CSpO) 2031” [PDF] signed by the US Department of Defense and the allied defense ministries of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

“Through sharing intelligence, information, and training with allies and partners, we can achieve more than the sum of our parts in jointly pursuing a safe and secure space domain. classified,” said Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, director of the UK Department of Defense’s Space Department in a press release.

The Defense Department statement underscored the existential threat posed by adversaries in the military’s most remote areas.

“CSpO is an initiative to address the overarching need to encourage responsible use of space, recognizing the challenges to space sustainability, the threats posed by technological advancements, and the increasingly comprehensive and active space programs of other countries,” DoD press release announced the new treaty states. The group’s last high-level meeting was held on December 21.

While new in itself, in many ways the document simply lays out past and present allied plans.

“An interesting document but nothing out of the ordinary,” said Kaitlyn Johnson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “This group (Five Eyes, plus France and Germany) has been on the road for a lot of these.”

However, Jessica West of Canada’s Plowshares Project, says that “from an operational military perspective, this is a pretty significant statement about the security and sustainability implications of poor governance in space. ”

“It’s encouraging to see a ‘call-to-action’ about rule building and better coordination,” she told Breaking Defense.

Cliffs in space

Confusingly, CSpO is not unlike another international collaboration, the Space Command’s Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC), located at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. CSPOC, consisting of only Five Eyes representatives, reports to SPACECOM’s Combined cosmic force composition command undertakes all of the day-to-day space support functions for military operators, such as managing the military’s access to communications satellites and operating GPS satellites.

Today’s document offers a broader vision for the larger CSpO group, which Space Force General Jay Raymond described last month as a place where close allies “come together as a collective.” to “work on policy and force design and integration, and messaging, and behavioral norms — all of that. “

It also provides insights into how allies think about future rules of the road for military space operations.

First, the document commits allies to “promote responsible military conduct in space to promote conditions that maintain the freedom of use, access, and sustainability of the space domain, and time to prevent irresponsible behavior and avoid escalation”.

Western allies have been working closely to fine-tune their approach within the framework of the new United Nations Open End Working Group on Military Space Standards – despite the fate of the effort. That is still being put in place after Russia successfully stalled its first meeting on February 14 and got ready for an impending invasion of Ukraine.

“These standards are also quite widely shared outside of the CSpO group if you look at the UN discussions on this issue, so I hope that this underlines the commonality of these goals and is a stepping stone to achieving a relatively broad international consensus,” said Secure World Foundation’s Victoria Samson.

Second, and perhaps more appropriate in the current circumstances, it places a public spotlight on the allies’ efforts to work together in the so-called gray zone of information warfare that has broken out. as the United States, China, and Russia seek to describe each other’s actions as threatening, and similar actions of their own as maintaining, peace, and stability in the heavens.

To do so, the signatories will “collaborate in strategic communication efforts to establish desired conditions in the information environment”. Indeed, in 2020, the highly classified Schriever War Game – which includes the signatories in sight as well as Japan – has focused on exactly this: “strategic messages” to enhance understanding public awareness of Russian and Chinese threats, SPACECOM leader General James Dickinson said in November 2020.

The vision document lays out six “guiding principles” for the group in conducting military operations in space: “freedom use of space, responsible and sustainable use of space, cooperation in while recognizing sovereignty and respecting international law.”

It also sets out four specific goals to guide collective and national activities:

  • Prevent conflicts. “By increasing coordination, building resilience, promoting responsible behavior in space, strengthening partnerships and transparent communication, we enhance national and collective capacity to prevent conflict and promote security and stability in all areas.”
  • Unity of Effort. “CSpO participants seek to enable hybrid spatial operations by sharing information across multiple levels of classification – from the strategic to the operational and tactical levels, and at a pace that is appropriate for the operations. move.”
  • Space Mission Guarantee. This includes establishing “a robust, responsive, and interoperable spatial infrastructure” to ensure “continuous functionality and resilience of equipment, facilities, and networks.” , information and information systems, personnel, infrastructure and supplies.”
  • Defense and Protection. “This could include cooperation on a range of measures, such as: developing requirements for current and future systems to combat hostile space activities and to prevent, deny or defeat attacks or interference in the space enterprise; provide combined, agile and adaptive command and control through flexible, secure, interoperable and sustainable communications; share relevant wisdom and information; and timely and comprehensive leadership dialogue and decision-making. ”

Finally, the signatories commit to six common “streams of effort” to realize the goals. These include: developing “interoperable, flexible architectures” by identifying capacity gaps and “collaboration opportunities”; improved smart sharing; and enhanced command, control and communication links.

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/02/us-close-allies-sign-call-to-action-in-space-defense/ US and close allies sign ‘call to action’ in space defense – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense

Jake Nichol

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