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NEWS | Feb. 19, 2024

Space Forces Indo-Pacific commander highlights importance of challenging space threats

By Senior Master Sgt. Rob Webb, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The Commander of U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, participated in an international senior-leader panel during the Air and Space Forces Association’s Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado, Feb. 13.

The four-person panel, with more than 4,000 people in attendance, focused on the imperative of thwarting present and evolving air and space threats in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Space Force Guardians are there to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, to uphold the rules-based international order,” Mastalir said. “Rules-based international order has underscored nearly 80 years of prosperity for every nation that chooses to participate.”

Speaking on denying competitors’ space malign operations and campaigning for counterspace operations, Mastalir emphasized the need to work closely alongside U.S. allies and partners.

Mastalir was joined by U.S. Air Force Col. David J. Berkland, Chief of Staff, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces; Japan Air Self Defense Force Col. Sugiyama Kimitoshi, Commander, Space Operations Group; and Republic of Korea Air Force Col. Jongseo “Jay” Park, Air & Space Attaché.

“I strongly believe that multilateral cooperation is really important and very effective, especially in the Indo-Pacific,” Kimitoshi said. “That’s how to get three countries to work together.”

Mastalir highlighted the importance of partner nations training together on a regular basis. He spoke about the recently completed exercise KEEN EDGE, an annual multi-national event in the Indo-Pacific emphasizing enhanced interoperability across all spectrums of warfare. He underpinned the value space superiority yields in a conflict and the ability to practice space operations in a major training exercise.

“The value of having these three nations represented here, exercising together, can’t be overstated,” Mastalir said. “When you actually go through the exercise you start to understand where you are like-minded, and what’s important to each sovereign nation and their respective defense forces.”

Mastalir also shed light on why the rules-based international order is essential to ensuring peace and stability and spotlighted how a free and open Indo-Pacific is not possible without the Space Force's efforts.

“Space superiority not only ensures the combined force has access to space capabilities, but also gives us the ability to deny the adversary the use of space capabilities to protect the combined force from space-enabled attack,” he said.

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