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News | April 1, 2021

USSPACECOM, Japan Air Self-Defense Force sign liaison officer arrangement

By U.S. Space Command Public Affairs Office

U.S. Space Command and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force signed an arrangement to assign a Japanese liaison officer to the command.

The arrangement was signed at USSPACECOM by U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michael Bernacchi, director of Strategy, Plans and Policy, then signed by Maj. Gen. YAJIMA Masahito, Director General of the Defense Planning and Policy Department, Air Staff Office, at the JASDF headquarters in Japan.  

This arrangement builds on continued space collaboration between the two countries through opportunities like space situational sharing agreements, missile warning data sharing and years of cooperation during GLOBAL SENTINEL, the command’s premier multinational space event. Most recently, the U.S. Space Force and Japan’s Office of National Space Policy signed an MOU to launch two U.S. payloads on Japan’s Quasi-Zenith Satellite System.

“This arrangement really opens the door for greater cooperation and coordination between our two nations in the space domain,” Bernacchi said. “While we have had a strong working relationship with our Japanese counterparts for decades, this arrangement codifies the relationship by placing a Japanese liaison officer directly into the conversations we are having on space operations. We look forward to this next step in strengthening our space alliances, especially in the Indo-Pacific region working together with United States Indo-Pacific Command.”

In the past year, the JASDF stood-up their first-ever space operations squadron, and continued to partner with the U.S. to develop a cadre of space professionals.

“If we cannot enjoy space systems, we would be affected not only on security but also on every society of life in Japan in peacetime,” YAJIMA said. “We cannot secure stable use of space by unilateral effort, therefore, it is essential to cooperate with the U.S. and our partners at all stages from peaceful time to armed contingencies. I hope our signatures on this arrangement here will lead U.S.-Japan cooperation closer as well as our relationships with partners stronger.”

In order to strengthen the U.S.-Japan military partnership in the space domain from the strategic to the tactical level, the liaison officer will provide JASDF expertise and insights to USSPACECOM, facilitate communications among Japan and U.S. space units, support U.S.- Japan space-related partnership opportunities and perform tasks that are mutually beneficial for strengthening the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation.

Foreign liaisons officers are direct conduits into USSPACECOM headquarters and represent their host nations’ equities. The FLOs are included in planning, training, and exercise opportunities and share insight and recommendations to improve bilateral and multilateral relationships.