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US State Department Releases its First Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy

By Rachel Jewett | June 1, 2023
U.S. State Department

The Harry S Truman building, headquarters of the U.S. State Department. Photo: Wikipedia

The U.S. Department of State released its first-ever Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy this week, outlining how it will use diplomacy to advance U.S. space leadership and expand international cooperation.

The framework, released May 30, is guided by the National Space Policy released in 2020, and the Space Priorities Framework released in 2021 outlining the Biden/Harris administration’s priorities for space policy. 

The new framework outlines actions for the department across three pillars: advancing U.S. space policy for safe and responsible use of space; pursuing international cooperation to solve societal challenges and advance U.S. foreign policy goals; and equipping the State Department’s workforce with the skills and knowledge for space policy work. 

It includes a number of goals corresponding with each of the pillars, including ensuring technology transfer mechanisms and export controls support national and economic security, and promoting space-related critical infrastructure security and resilience.

It also highlights the importance of space data in responding to disasters and climate change, and prioritizes greater use and access for satellite-based data. 

Outlining the State Department’s mission in space, the framework says: “The Department of State will promote U.S. space leadership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and advance U.S. and allied security priorities. We will pursue and maintain a rules-based international framework for outer space activities, including the long-term sustainability, commercialization, exploration, and utilization of space, so as to strengthen the U.S. leadership role in coalitions, support human exploration, and expand the benefits of space for all.” 

The State Dept. said the framework will help maintain rule-based international order and foster cooperation and space commercialization and exploration as the space environment gets more crowded. 

The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC) drafted the strategic framework with department stakeholders and inter-agency and external partners.