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News | May 21, 2020

USSPACECOM releases first formal order to execute multinational space operations

By U.S. Space Command Public Affairs Office U.S. Space Command

Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, U.S. Space Command commander and U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, signed the first USSPACECOM operations order under Operation OLYMPIC DEFENDER.


OOD is a key multinational effort intended to optimize space operations, improve mission assurance, enhance resilience and synchronize U.S. efforts with some of its closest allies.


“This is a major milestone for the newly established command,” Raymond said. “As the threats in the space domain continue to evolve, it is important we leverage and synchronize capabilities with our allies not only to understand each other’s national perspectives, but to work seamlessly together to optimize our multinational space efforts.”


The purpose of OOD is to strengthen allies’ abilities to deter hostile acts in space, strengthen deterrence against hostile actors, and reduce the spread of debris orbiting the earth.


Once under U.S. Strategic Command, this operation transitioned to USSPACECOM upon its establishment in August. Now that the Department of Defense’s 11th and newest combatant command has matured into its responsibilities, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Thomas L. James, USSPACECOM Director of Operations, issued the first order to continue OOD’s key role in protecting global access to space.


Adversary threats are only one of the challenges the new combatant command faces. With the decreasing cost of entry, more actors have entered the space domain, creating a complex and constantly shifting dynamic of adversary threats and capabilities. 


“Our operations and activities in the warfighting domain of space are becoming ever more complex, due to adversary anti-satellite missile threats, electromagnetic inference of many kinds, new “mega constellations,” human space flight, and the thousands of pieces of near-earth space debris traveling ten times faster than the average bullet speed,” said Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, Combined Force Space Component Command commander. “Given this increasing complexity, and the ascending importance of the space domain to our nations’ economies and security, it is essential we work together as an Allied team to synchronize our space activities and respond collectively to threats in, to, and through space.”

In July, the United Kingdom was the first international partner to announce joining OOD. The United Kingdom subsequently assigned additional personnel to the Combined Space Operations Center and the 18th Space Control Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in support of the operation.

“The establishment of a multinational effort focused on space reflects the value of space contributions to national security, the evolution of threats to U.S. space systems and the importance of deterring potential adversaries from attacking critical U.S. space systems,” Raymond said. “We look forward to seeing more allies and partners joining the effort as we’re clearly stronger together.”