PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. –
U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, Commander of U.S. Space Command, visited several countries throughout the European theater to strengthen space cooperation June 21-27, 2023.
Dickinson began his trip in Greenland where he met with leadership from Pituffik Space Base. While there, he also visited members of the 821st Support Squadron and the 12th Space Warning Squadron to discuss mission support and capabilities. The base, built in 1951, provides installation support for vital space-based missions, to include early warning of ballistic missile launches, one of a kind space domain awareness capabilities and worldwide satellite tracking stations in the Satellite Control Network.
Following Greenland, Dickinson traveled to Toulouse, France, where he met with representatives from across the French space community at the Toulouse Space Campus – the future location of French Space Command (CDE). While there, Maj. Gen. Phillippe Adam, commander of French Space Command, provided an update on progress since the command stood up in 2019, to include recent lessons learned from the multilateral exercise Aster-X held in April. Adam and Dickinson strongly reaffirmed their commitment to expanding upon the already strong partnership between the U.S. and French military space programs.
Dickinson also met with representatives of the French National Centre for Space Studies, CNES, including Chief Operating Officer Lionel Suchet and Military Advisor Gen. (ret) Phillippe Steininger to understand the organizational structure and partnership across civil, commercial and military operations. The visit concluded with an update on the NATO Space Centre of Excellence, led by Deputy Director German Lt. Col. Verena Hoffman. NATO’s Space COE signed an operational memorandum of understanding in January 2023 which commenced the centre’s accreditation request and was the culmination of a joint effort led by 15 sponsoring nations.
Based on shared common values and endeavors to keep the space domain secure, sustainable, and peaceful, the U.S. and French partnership has grown significantly over the past decade. The relationship has moved from initial cooperation through data sharing agreements, and exercise participation to deeper collaboration and interoperability through the Combined Space Operations Initiative (CSpO).
The trip then took Dickinson to Belgium, where he visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels to give a presentation to the NATO Military Committee in Permanent Session. Dickinson’s remarks focused on the importance of space to the global way of life; the threats facing the domain; the criticality of continued cooperation in ensuring the safety, security, stability, and sustainability of the domain; and, his vision for the future of collaboration in space. While at NATO he also met with U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance Landrum, deputy chair of the NATO Military Committee, and various other military and civilian representatives of the U.S. Mission to NATO. The engagements reaffirmed USSPACECOM’s commitment to strengthening its partnerships with NATO and further enhancing integration in space.
Dickinson concluded his international engagements in the United Kingdom, where he met with senior defense leaders at the U.K. Ministry of Defence in London, to include Vice Chief of Defense Gen. Gwyn Jenkins, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall Richard Knighton, Chief of Joint Operations Lt. Gen. Charlie Stickland, and Commander of U.K. Space Command, Air Vice Marshal Paul Godfrey. Throughout the visit, participants discussed U.K.-U.S. space operations and opportunities to build off of existing cooperation.
Close cooperation between the United States and the U.K. goes back many years, particularly in areas like space surveillance and missile warning, and grew significantly in April of 2022 when U.S. Space Command and UK Space Command signed an Enhanced Space Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding, building upon a framework for deepened military cooperation in the domain. The UK is also a participant in the CSpO initiative, as well as Operation Olympic Defender and a number of other combined operations and exercises.
“Our growing network of partners is truly our asymmetric advantage against the growing threats in the space domain. I want to thank my counterparts in France, the U.K., and the NATO HQ for hosting me. The meetings held, and the information shared this week, will continue to lead to stronger partnerships and integration in the future, ensuring a safe, secure, and sustainable space environment for all.” Dickinson said. “The bond between Europe and North America has made the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the world’s strongest military alliance, and I’m proud to witness how the alliance is making progress in integration in space.”
Dickinson was last in Europe in July 2022, meeting with leadership from Finland, Poland, Sweden, and Ukraine. Throughout the last year, the command has hosted a significant number of partners to its headquarters as well as participated in a number of multilateral exercises and engagements, most recently to include Space Symposium 38 and the CSpO Principals Board, both held this past April in Colorado Springs, Colo.
U.S. Space Command, working with Allies and Partners, plans, executes, and integrates military spacepower into multi-domain global operations in order to deter aggression, defend national interests, and when necessary, defeat threats.