Militaries of Canada, the US and five other nations author Combined Space Operations Vision 2031

File photo: Artist rendering of the Department of National Defence Sapphire satellite. Credit: MDA.

The Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative created in 2014 and which now includes seven nations this week released a guiding document called Combined Space Operations Vision 2031.

Canada joined the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative in 2014 along with the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Then in 2019 France joined and in 2020 Germany joined. This week the countries jointly released a new Combined Space Operations Vision 2031 document.

According to the Department of National Defence “this document articulates the group’s mission, illustrates its shared guiding principles, and affirms the joint objectives which guide participants’ national and collective actions.”

The document outlines the importance of space and provides Shared Guiding Principles, Objectives and Lines of Effort. Each of these are outlined below.

Shared guiding principles

The following guiding principles are shared broadly among the Participants in the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) Initiative Memorandum of Understanding:

  • Freedom of Use of Space: Militaries have an important role in contributing to international efforts to ensure freedom of access to and use of space. CSpO Participants work to ensure our national security space operations promote a secure, stable, safe, peaceful, and operationally sustainable space domain.
  • Responsible and Sustainable Use of Space: The world is reliant on space- based systems — activities in space have consequences across the spectrum of human activity. CSpO Participants pursue activities that endeavor to minimize the creation of long-lived space debris and contribute to the enduring sustainability of the outer space environment.
  • Partnering While Upholding Sovereignty: CSpO Participants recognize and uphold the rights of each Participant to act and communicate independently and in a manner commensurate with their own national policies and interests. National efforts are synchronized, where appropriate, through clear and open dialogue.
  • Upholding International Law: Each Participant conducts activities in accordance with applicable international law, including the Outer Space Treaty, the UN Charter, and, in case of armed conflict, with the law of armed conflict.

Objectives

To realize our vision and mission, CSpO Participants affirm the following objectives to guide our national and collective actions:

  • Prevent conflicts – CSpO Participants seek to prevent conflict, including conflict extending to or originating in space. By strengthening coordination, building resiliency, promoting responsible behavior in space, enhancing partnership, and communicating transparently, we improve our national and collective abilities to prevent conflict and to promote security and stability in all domains.
  • Unity of Effort – CSpO Participants seek to enable combined space operations by sharing information across multiple classification levels – from the strategic to the operational and tactical levels, and at a pace that is operationally relevant – through real-time synchronized networked operations centers operated by a workforce with common training.
  • Space Mission Assurance – CSpO Participants seek to establish and maintain a robust, responsive, and interoperable space infrastructure enabling continued space effects in the face of adverse action or changes to the space domain. Ensuring the continued function and resilience of equipment, facilities, networks, information and information systems, personnel, infrastructure, and supply chains, we seek to deny the benefit of interference and to ensure the availability of CSpO Participants’ national security mission-essential functions throughout the spectrum of military operations.
  • Defense and Protection – CSpO Participants are committed to the defense and protection of our national interests and the space domain. This may include collaboration across a range of measures, such as: developing requirements for current and future systems to counter hostile space activities and to deter, deny, or defeat attacks or interference with the space enterprise; delivering the ability for combined, agile, and adaptive command and control through resilient, secure, interoperable, and sustainable communications; sharing appropriate intelligence and information; and timely and inclusive leadership dialogues and decision- making.

Lines of effort

The CSpO Participants seek to achieve the shared objectives outlined above through several lines of effort (LOE). The following LOEs provide a framework to guide the national and collective efforts of CSpO Participants: 

  • Develop and operate resilient, interoperable architectures to enable space mission assurance and unity of effort, through identification of gaps and collaborative opportunities.
  • Enhance command, control, and communications capabilities and other operational linkages among CSpO Participants to support unity of effort and the ability to conduct combined and synchronized operations throughout the spectrum of military operations.
  • Foster responsible military behaviors in space to promote conditions to maintain freedom of use, access to, and sustainability of the space domain, and to discourage irresponsible behavior and avoid escalation.
  • Collaborate on strategic communications efforts to set the desired conditions in the information environment.
  • Share intelligence and information to create a common understanding and support unity of effort.
  • Professionalize space cadres and training to energize shared, common understanding of the space domain, share best practices, and increase our collective expertise.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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