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NEWS | July 19, 2023

US, Japan host first-ever Space Engagement Talks

By Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The ongoing race against adversaries and competitors who possess advanced space capabilities and questionable intentions further emphasizes the need to reinforce norms of behavior in space.

U.S. Space Force Deputy Chief of Space Operations, Strategy, Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Lt. Gen. Philip A. Garrant, recently made history by hosting the first-ever Space Engagement Talks with Japan, aiming to enhance combined space operations and establish a bilateral roadmap for future collaboration.

“The US-Japan Space Engagement Talks represent a further expansion of our strong alliance into the space domain,” emphasized Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Mastalir, commander, United States Space Forces Indo-Pacific. “Through these talks and Space Working Groups to follow, we can build a roadmap for cooperation to ensure safety and security in space for our nations and all responsible actors.”

The USSF-JASDF Space Engagement Talks serve as a model of the US-Japan Alliance's commitment to space collaboration and reinforces the significance of partnerships in achieving shared objectives.

“It’s an exciting time to participate in the Space Engagement Talks with Japan,” exclaimed Mastalir. “This forum is an excellent mechanism to drive new collaborative efforts with allies and partners, and to ensure we preserve security, stability, and long-term sustainability of space for the INDOPACOM region."

The US Space Force's "Partner to Win" line of effort drives this collaboration, recognizing the strategic advantage that the global network of alliances and partnerships offers.

The potential benefits of such collaborations include greater situational awareness, improved operational effectiveness, and increased resiliency in the face of emerging threats. For example, countries with advanced space capabilities can provide technical assistance and training to those with developing space programs, while those with access to strategic locations and infrastructure can provide valuable support in areas like satellite tracking and communication.

As space continues to remain an increasingly essential domain for military operations, communication, and intelligence gathering, strong partnerships and collaborations with international allies are considered imperative for ensuring the security and safety of space-based assets.

“These talks are another example of how our two countries are working together to defend the space domain and support our bilateral joint forces,” Mastalir explained. “I’m grateful for our strong alliance with Japan and proud to be part of this important effort to advance our space operations cooperation.”

Furthermore, establishing widely accepted norms of behavior for space operations is crucial. These norms enhance the ability to attribute actions, mitigate threats, protect interests in space, and reduce the risk of strategic miscalculations. By advocating for norms of behavior in space, nations with space-based assets show a vested interest in the importance of resilience and leadership against nefarious activities.

“Through these engagements we have an opportunity to align efforts with our ally to enhance our bilateral capability in space,” highlighted Mastalir. “With representatives from U.S. Space Force Field Commands stateside and within the Indo-Pacific theater, we are able to build stronger relationships across all parts of the Space Force and normalize our presence with an important strategic ally.”

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