U.S. military space leaders are focusing on the integration of space capabilities with the services and improving partnership with allies, the head of the new Combined Force Space Component Command said Jan. 10.

As the leader of that organization, Maj. Gen. John Shaw is in charge of delivering space capabilities to the war fighter. As the U.S. military continues to reshape its space forces with the establishment of U.S. Space Command in August and the Space Force in December, Shaw is guiding those efforts through two questions.

“The first is, how do we continue to relentlessly drive integration into all domains across the full spectrum of warfare?’ said Shaw, who also heads up the Space Force’s Space Operations Command, formerly known as the 14th Air Force.

To do so, U.S. Space Command needs to set up chains of communication with those services. With 21st century warfare is expected to move more quickly than ever, those lines of communication will need to be able to transfer information fast, he added. He spoke Jan. 10 at a Mitchell Aerospace Institute event.

Next, Shaw said he is “pursuing strength and partnerships with allies and partners.”

“We, I think, have a lot of ground that we can still cover on integrating with our allies and getting together as an alliance from a space domain perspective.”

Already, progress has been made in recent months. In December, New Zealand joined the weekly meetings between the Five Eyes space operations centers, which includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States. According to Shaw, New Zealand determined toward the end of 2019 that it was finally in a place to partake in those meetings.

“It may seem like a small thing to you, it’s actually a really big thing because now we’re updating all allies at the same time on things that are going on in space,” said Shaw.

Additionally, in 2019 a U.K. group captain was hired as deputy director of the Combined Space Operations Center, the command and control organization in charge of global military space operations in cooperation with multinational forces. This means that an ally was holding a leadership position within the CSpOC. Having liaison officers from France and Germany at CSpOC is also a priority, he added.

Meanwhile, U.S. Space Command is set to take more steps in enhancing its partnerships with other countries in 2020. For example, Shaw pointed to Japan, where the United States is closing the deal on placing a space domain awareness payload on the Japanese QZSS navigation satellite. That will be the culmination of two years of effort, he added. Then there’s the Japanese deep space radar, which the U.S. is working to ensure that the data collected is compatible with how the U.S. and its allies use space situational awareness data.

Later this month, the two nations are set to hold a bilateral space conference to discuss these and further collaborations.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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