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US Space Command Invites More Allies to Join Ongoing Operation

By Calvin Biesecker | April 9, 2024
      Gen. Stephen Whiting at Space Symposium 2024. Photo: Space Foundation

      Gen. Stephen Whiting at Space Symposium 2024. Photo: Space Foundation

      COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—U.S. allies Germany, France, and New Zealand have been invited to join U.S. Space Command’s Operation Olympic Defender (OOD), which already includes Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with a goal of further strengthening U.S. and allied space operations, Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of Space Command, said on Tuesday.

      Our international allies and partners provide strategic and operational advantages,” Whiting said at the annual Space Symposium. “We share intelligence, we plan together, and we work to ensure that space is safe for all. And we’re working to even improve our integration through improved command and control and planning to make sure that we get even better in the future.”

      The order for OOD was first signed by then Space Command Chief Gen. John Raymond in May 2020, with the aim to coordinate better with allies, and enhance space operations, mission assurance, and resilience.

      The U.S. is already expanding its military space work with partners, he said. In February, the Space Command hosted the Global Sentinel exercise that included 25 countries, two observer nations, and the NATO Space Center of Excellence. The exercised is focused on space domain awareness and how allies and partners can better operate together toward that end, he said.

      At the end of May, Space Command will host the Nimble Titan missile defense war game that will feature 26 countries, including the U.S., Whiting said.

      Space Command has 185 space domain awareness data sharing agreements and this week will add one more with Uruguay, he said.

      “By sharing space information with spacefaring allies and partners, and academic institutions, we promote trust required for coalition unified action,” Whiting said.

      Whiting also announced that the command’s Capability and Validation Environment (CAVE) has achieved minimum viable capability. CAVE is Space Command “modeling and simulation laboratory” to analyze warfighting, plans, and campaigns, requirements development, an all-domain joint warfighting concepts, he said.

      “And we’ll use that to derive better ways of deterring and planning to conduct operation for a war that’s never happened and a war we don’t want to happen,” he said.

      Whiting also leaned in on the need for U.S. space forces to be able to conduct dynamic space operations, and on-orbit and logistics infrastructure, two capabilities he said must be “fielded quickly” to help ensure the U.S. remains in “enduring competition” with its adversaries and avoids conflict.

      “The days of energy neutral, positional operations in space need to end,” he said. “It’s time to bring sustained space maneuver to the AOR. Now sustained space maneuver will change how we operate, opening up new tactics, techniques and procedures and operating concepts, and allowing operations until the mission is complete, not until the fuel we launched with runs out.”

      Necessary capabilities for sustained space maneuver include on-orbit refueling, replenishment, forward sustainment, and repair, he said.

      “Investment in sustained space maneuver technologies is critical to assess our ability to achieve and maintain space superiority,” he said.

      This story was first published by Defense Daily