Success in Space Requires Partnerships, Spacecom Official Says: David Vergun DOD

Partnerships are important to achieving superiority in space, a senior official from U.S. Space Command said in Washington today.

Major General Stephen Whiting

Speaking at the Space Power Breakfast, Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting said there are three types of partnerships that Spacecom relies on — joint/combined, interagency and private sector.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together,” Whiting said, referring to the importance of building partnerships in the military domain of space.

Whiting is the Combined Force Space Component commander for Spacecom, and commander, 14th Air Force, Air Force Space Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Space is defined as 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, and extending into the universe, he noted.

Since Spacecom is a combatant command, that means all services participate, he said.

But Whiting said because it’s also a combined command, the Combined Space Operations Center has integrated its capabilities and personnel with some allied nations, including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Whiting said the U.K. has decided to double the size of its presence at the operations center, and will become the first international partner to join Operation Olympic Defender.

The purpose of Operation Olympic Defender is to strengthen deterrence against potentially hostile actors in space and prevent the spread of debris in space.

Whiting said he expects other nations to join Operation Olympic Defender.

Spacecom also has a multinational Space Collaboration Office, which hosts liaison officers from allied nations and increases collaboration and interoperability with allied partners like France and Germany, Whiting said, adding that Japan is planning to join them.

The 2019 Schriever Wargame — conducted to defend space assets — attracted international partners from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.K., he said. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, NASA, the intelligence community and a number of Defense Department agencies also participated.

NASA has always been a close partner with DOD and Spacecom, Whiting said. For example, Spacecom supports safe recovery of astronauts as they return to Earth.

Whiting said Spacecom also welcomes commercial partnerships

The objective of Spacecom “is to preserve U.S. and allied interests in space and to win the peace here on terra firma.” And that space superiority is not something that can really be achieved, unless it is achieved together, Whiting said.

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