Stratcom signs space data agreement with U.K., Canada, Australia

The Combined Space Operations initiative will share space situational awareness information and resources among the allies.

AEHF-1 satellite

Defense officials from the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct cooperative space operations and share vital space data.

The Combined Space Operations initiative, or CSpO, was signed at a meeting yesterday in Ottawa, Canada by officials of U.S. Strategic Command, according to a Defense Department release.

DOD has defined three primary objectives that will make up the scope of joint space operations. Stratcom is looking to leverage the cooperative agreement to provide timely and accurate warning and assessment of threats, to provide support to national and joint forces, and to protect and defend space capabilities. 

Under those objectives, the initiative will focus on increasing space situational awareness, force support, launch and reentry analyses, and contingency operations. Shared information will include data on satellite orbits, methods to mitigate satellite communications interference, GPS accuracy and space weather data.

"As space becomes more congested and contested, it is imperative that we work together to ensure we preserve access,” Stratcom Commander Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney said in the DOD release.

“CSpO agreements afford participating nations an understanding of the current and future space environment, an awareness of space capability to support global operations, and a military-to-military relationship to address challenges,” Haney said.

CSpO has its roots in a combined space cooperation forum that was held in 2011 by the Office of the Secretary and Defense and Stratcom, say DOD officials. In early 2012, a comprehensive review among partner nations was held to find areas of operational space collaboration and policy integration, to expand situational awareness and improve information sharing.

The conclusions of that review refined tactics, techniques and procedures for those operations and are defined in the CSpO memorandum.

While the U.S. has had previous space agreements with the countries involved with the initiative, the recent memorandum formalizes the existing partnerships between the various armed forces, according to a Canadian Department of National Defence release.

DOD also has entered into space data sharing agreements with other countries, as well as intergovernmental groups.

In early September, DOD signed a similar memorandum of understanding with South Korea’s Defense Ministry to share space situational awareness information. And in August, Stratcom entered a Space Situational Awareness data sharing agreement with the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, an intergovernmental group that supplies weather satellite data to European countries and other users.