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News | Aug. 22, 2023

USSPACECOM Leaders Highlight Strength of Commercial Partnerships

By Staff Report U.S. Space Command

U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander, kicked off the 4th Annual Space Warfighting Forum hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association’s (NDIA) in Colorado Springs, Colo., August 17, 2023.

Highlighting the command’s strength in the face of growing threats, Dickinson emphasized the active role of commercial partnerships in an increasingly congested, competitive and contested domain.

One example Dickinson highlighted is the benefit of so many commercial partners contributing to provide space domain awareness, so USSPACECOM can focus on “more characterization of these events happening on orbit.”

“That extra capacity [to perform our SDA mission] is big, and it is growing. It is where we need to go at the end of the day,” Dickinson said. “It's incredible in terms of what we need, and what we can harness from the commercial industry.”

Just as important as the capabilities and innovation brought forth by industry is the growing number of partners overall.

“Today, we have more than 133 commercial mission partners,” said Dickinson. “When we started out, we had maybe 20 or so…it is a remarkable statistic.”
Dickinson also talked about drawing upon lessons learned from the war in Ukraine and how commercial industry has played a vital role sustaining command and control capabilities.

“We've watched the persistent GPS jamming…and the effects that has had on military operations there,” Dickinson explained, citing the significance impacts of the commercial industry, specifically the peripheral proliferated LEO constellation and how that has demonstrated persistent communications capability for Ukraine and enabling their nation’s defense.

“We’re also learning … that we could be in a degraded environment, and probably will be in future operations,” he said, emphasizing the importance of being able to maintain navigation across the joint force, as well  as allies and partners.

Throughout the two-day event, Dickinson was joined by other USSPACECOM leaders who participated in various panels alongside allies and partners and members of industry, government, and academia, to include Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander, U.S. Space Force Brig. Gen. Brian Sidari, Director of Intelligence, Mr. Thomas Lockhart, Jr., Director of Capability and Resource Integration (J8), and Maj. Gen. Douglas Scheiss, Combined Force Space Component Command commander, who echoed Dickinson’s sentiment on the importance of collaboration with industry. “The real secret sauce in this are those teams,” said Schiess, referencing a commercial-integration success story of information sharing between industry partners and government forces. “The ability to talk and share threats - get information from them, that then helps the military is invaluable.”

Dickinson also challenged those in attendance to focus on several areas that enable USSPACECOM’s mission: Integrated Space Fires and Protective Capabilities; Resilient, Timely Space Command and Control; Enhanced Battlespace Awareness; Space Systems Cyber Defense; Resilient Satellite Command and Control Architecture.
“Success in our protect and defend mission will be made possible through investments in five capability priorities,” said Dickinson, recognizing the industry’s ability to contribute to these tasks. “We’re encouraged by what we see…our advantage is that we have such a robust commercial industry that we can do that.”

This year’s event gathered more than 300 participants for professional development, enabling discussions on space warfighting, requirements, and existing and emerging capabilities.

USSPACECOM, 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.