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News | July 11, 2023

USSPACECOM hosts Global Sentinel Mid-Planning Conference

By Capt. Blythe Goya Combined Force Space Component Command Public Affairs

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. Over 20 partner nations attended the Global Sentinel 2024 (GS24) mid-planning conference (MPC) hosted by United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) on June 27-29, 2023, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif.

Global Sentinel is USSPACECOM’s single largest multinational event and leading security cooperation effort designed to strengthen partnerships with other space-faring nations, improve operational collaboration, and promote responsible behavior in the space domain.

“Global Sentinel is a large-scale space surveillance modeling and simulation engagement event, and over time what we are learning should be codified into a way of operating that is suitable for everyone,” explained Mr. Michael Syintsakos, USSPACECOM GS24 Lead. “It is a way to bring partner nations together under one roof and achieve a common level of purpose; supporting Space Domain Awareness, operational interaction, and safe, secure space operations.”

“Global Sentinel started off as a Space Situational Awareness Table-Top Exercise in 2014, then it really became more about growing partnerships,” added Navy Commander Paul Kramer, Global Sentinel team chief. “In 2018, it started to get some operational flavor with the addition of Global Sentinel Real World Events (GS RWEs).”

GS RWEs are planned annually as a campaign series and follow the Capstone Modeling & Simulation (M&S) using the same procedures refined during gameplay. RWEs follow live on-orbit and launch activities and include mission planning, analysis, and reporting between the Global Sentinel participants from their home nation operations centers.

During the MPC, participants shared perspectives and provided recommendations to gain consensus on overall development to organize space mission capabilities and procedures. Attendees played vital roles in the planning and development of the scenario by including their national resources as part of the M&S. This enables the Global Sentinel environment to provide a realistic operational experience through a unique series of interconnected multinational regional space operations centers (R-SpOCs) using common procedures and partner nation systems. There are eight R-SpOCs, comprised of three to four nations working together to mission plan and report their analysis to the other R-SpOCs.

“The end state for each nation is what that nation determines is appropriate for them,” emphasized Dr. Steven Fahey, the Global Sentinel Scenario and M&S lead. “Working with all of the space operations centers from around the world, the goal is to get to some level of integration, if we can. It's not mandatory; nothing we do here is mandatory; it is all voluntary, working together.”

Canada and the United Kingdom (U.K.), among other partner nations, provided National space updates pertinent to the capstone event slated to commence early next year.

“Canada is not the biggest dog on earth. However, the ability to quickly adapt and switch tasks in a relatively incumbent manner can be just as important as strength and numbers,” expressed MCpl Shani Cochrane, Air Space Control Operator, 3 Canadian Space Division (3 CSD). “Collaboration is significant to Canada's interest. Much of what we provide is a direct complement to the shared resources of our partners,” added Cochrane. “We've come a long way in a short period of time.”

The U.K. Space Command (UKSC) harmonized similar mission and vision perspectives with their fellow Canadian partners.

“The U.K. strives to be a meaningful actor in the space domain, securing U.K. interests alongside our allies and partners to ensure operational freedom in space,” described Lt. Paul Hucklesby, Satellite Communications Officer, U.K. Space Operations Centre (UKSpOC). “It is our mission to protect and defend U.K. and allied interests in space, and we are committed to responsible use of the space domain as well.”

The importance of the three-day event was to provide a Capstone planning overview, gain consensus on overall scenario development, introduce software and tools used for scenario processing, seek partner perspectives and recommendations, and learn about partner mission capabilities.

“Global Sentinel is not the point; it is a waypoint,” stressed Syintsakos. “What matters is what we do after, to build on the experience.”