The United States, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom signed a joint vision paper on February 22 that asks for more collaboration to prevent space confrontations, according to the Defense Department.

The seven nations will “create and increase collaboration, coordination, and interoperability possibilities to maintain freedom of operation in space, maximize resources, improve mission assurance and endurance, and prevent conflict,” according to the CSpO (Combined Space Operations) Vision 2031.

According to the Department of Defense, the CSpO is an initiative to “address the overarching necessity to encourage responsible utilization of space, acknowledging challenges to space sustainable practices, threats posed by technological advances, and other nation states’ increasingly complete and aggressive counterspace programs.”

The allies committed to adopting guiding concepts such as space freedom, prudent and sustainable space use, partnership while acknowledging sovereignty, and international law enforcement.

The document states that “militaries play a vital role in aiding international efforts to make sure right to have access to and the use of space.  The globe is dependent on space-based systems; space operations have ramifications across the human spectrum.”

The document comes after Russia’s anti-satellite missile test in November, which destroyed one of its own satellites and left a field of at least 1,500 trackable bits of debris in low orbit, endangering human spaceflight and space operations.

Participants in the CSpO conduct space operations that “attempt to minimize the formation of long-lived space debris,” according to the Vision 2031 document.

Representatives from the CSpO met in December, “reaffirming their nations’ support for the vision, such as the intent to thwart conflicts spanning to or emanating in space and to hold those who endanger the security of the space environment as well as the space assets of others accountable,” according to the Department of Defense.

According to Brian Weeden, who works as the director in charge of the program planning at Secure World Foundation, Vision 2031 demonstrates that the US and its partners are still evolving their views on international space cooperation.

“The concept of a global command center for space was exercised in the 2010 Schriever wargame,” Weeden explained. “It may appear basic, but it was a novel concept for the Department of Defense at the time.  Since then, they’ve worked steadily but relentlessly to put it in place, not as a single physical facility but as a set of guidelines and operating methods for connecting their many national space operations centers.”

Weeden also noted that this began as a Five Eyes initiative but has since expanded to include France and Germany, which he described as “another huge stride for the US.”

“It’s intended to reaffirm the messaging on creating standards of behavior you’re seeing from the US government and its partners in other locations,” Weeden said of the new document’s language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.