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News | Aug. 10, 2023

UK space leader visits SMDC

By Jason Cutshaw U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

From across the pond, a key British ally learns about missions and capabilities from the space professionals at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

United Kingdom Royal Air Force Air Commodore Adam Bone, U.K. Space Command director of operations, plans and training said they place enormous value on their relationship with USASMDC during his visit to the command’s headquarters Aug. 9 on Redstone Arsenal.

“We are still a relatively young Space Command and from our first interactions with SMDC we’ve found it a really insightful relationship, especially on linking space support to the wider joint force,” Bone said. “My visit is the continuation of this venture, seeking to take stock of the progress we have made so far, and identify areas of future work and collaboration.”

Bone said he is particularly interested in furthering shared efforts by exchanging personnel, exercising and experimenting together, and sharing training and education. All of these efforts will bolster the foundations for a strong cooperative relationship.

The U.K. being realistic about its current status as a military space power, Bone said, is creating the U.K.’s Space Command to help advance U.K. and allied equities in space.

“SMDC support has been extremely helpful enhancing U.K. space expertise as we train a new generation of space experts, both in terms of hosting U.K. personnel on U.S.-based courses but also delivery courses in the U.K.,” Bone said. “We do work very closely with the U.S. Space Force on training too, but SMDC brings an invaluably alternate perspective. In training space expertise, and operators who have to be exceptionally flexible, supporting all of U.K. defense, the breadth of perspective provided by SMDC is invaluable.”

Bone said that as the U.K. operationalizes its space capabilities, he hopes the solid foundation built thus far will enable them to conduct combined operations in the future.

He said that seeing USASMDC forces’ operational approach during Operation Austere Challenge 23 in the European Command area of responsibility reaffirmed the value the U.K. places on this relationship, which is informing future force design, capability choices and planning processes.

“We have had a number of engagements with SMDC since our inception, and U.K. Space Command has continued to mature both in terms of its structures and capabilities, but also our thinking,” Bone said. “I am hopeful that through the course of this visit, we will be able to advance our collaboration with SMDC and identify bounded areas of work to which we can apply resources to start closing with some of the slightly more challenging operational integration issues.”

He said that U.K. Space Command is still in a growth phase and cannot commit to everything, so they are deliberate about relationships, activities and opportunities.

“I would like to extend a huge thank you to the U.S. Army and its Space and Missile Defense Command,” he added. “It is easy for all of us to underestimate the value of being challenged to think differently about space and space support to military operations. I can tell you that these sorts of visits are tremendously valuable.”