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News | Aug. 21, 2023

Advancing Space Power by Maximizing the Future Workforce with Allies and Partners

By Staff Report U.S. Space Command Public Affairs

The U.S. Space Command co-hosted a three-day subject matter exchange on “Women in the Space Workforce” with the United Kingdom Space Command and the Canadian 7 Wing (Space) in Colorado Springs, Colo., Aug. 1-3, 2023.  

As part of security cooperation programs focused on relationship strengthening and institutional capacity, USSPACECOM sponsored women space operators from Thailand, Colombia, and Brazil to engage on topics related to building the space workforce, overcoming barriers to recruiting and retaining talent, and strategies to building an inclusive force essential for optimal operational effectiveness.

“Space partner nations globally recognize the unique skills required for effective space defense institutions, and face similar challenges in overcoming barriers to recruiting and retaining diverse talent from within their societies,” said Claire Sneed, USSPACECOM’s gender advisor. “This event is a forum for Allies and partners to identify shared challenges, strategies and reinforce durable partnerships based on shared values.”

The initiative was supported by funds from the Department of Defense’s International Security Cooperation Program for Women, Peace, and Security, and advances the command’s objectives of strengthened partnerships. Further, the exchange meets the intent of the U.S. government’s WPS Act (2017), and related Department of Defense WPS Strategic Framework and Implementation Plan (SFIP), which is focused on improving the meaningful participation of women in all ranks and functions across the joint force.  

The U.K. Space Command, and Canadian Armed Force 7 Wing (Space), supported their own WPS national action plan objectives by co-hosting this exchange.

“Looking at the vital issue of WPS through a space lens is critical work. The space domain is complex, dynamic, and full of challenges,” said Group Captain John Hetherington, the Deputy Head Space Enablement from the U.K. Space Command. “The command is committed to supporting this valuable and inspiring endeavor.”

WPS is a 23-year old international effort, currently prioritized by more than 115 countries from all regions. It emphasizes the problems caused by women’s underrepresentation in peace and security, while striving to improve women’s meaningful participation across defense and security sectors. WPS is a soft power tool for building coalitions based on a shared set of values, vision, and norms for responsible behavior. 

“For military space institutions, we have an unprecedented opportunity to get this right from the start, creating inclusive organizations from the get-go that improve our effectiveness by engaging every person on our team to their fullest potential to get after the mission,” summarized USSPACECOM’s senior WPS champion, Brig. Gen. Traci Kueker-Murphy, deputy director of strategy, plans and policy. “Space is hard for all of us, U.S., Allies and partners alike.  None of us can afford to do anything less than recruit, develop and retain the very best talent from our societies, and to do that we must address artificial barriers that undermine those efforts.  This takes focused leadership and resources, and WPS is a powerful tool for getting us there.”