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NEWS | March 15, 2024

US Space Forces Indo-Pacific executes Cobra Gold 2024

By Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Wilson, Pacific Air Forces

U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific is taking a giant leap forward in multi-domain integration, leading U.S. space participation in Joint Exercise Cobra Gold 24 in Thailand, Feb. 27 – Mar. 8.

For the first time, over 33 nations worked and trained together in the space domain, as well as air and land, establishing a new standard for multinational space operations.

“Four years ago, Cobra Gold had no space participation,” said Capt. Jarrett Jordan, a SPACEFOR-INDOPAC exercise planner.  “This year, it became one of the most robust multinational space exercises in the world.”

Space Force Guardians leveraged longstanding relationships with Allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific to elevate one of Asia’s most premiere military exercises.  Now in its 43rd iteration, Cobra Gold brings in experts and leaders from across the region to learn from each other and grow through overcoming challenging scenarios.

Of course, having a concentrated presence of the region’s best operators and strategists offers unique opportunities.

“Cobra Gold gives us the chance to learn from our partners and to develop new skills through combined integration,” Jordan said.  “These commitments pay huge dividends when it comes to developing individual talent, and the relationships we build foster a lasting spirit of cooperation.”

While Thailand and the U.S. have a long history of working together as Allies, modern challenges to the Indo-Pacific security environment require new ways of addressing those issues.  Extreme weather, the distances inherent to the region, and challenges to the rules-based international order are becoming more prevalent.  Exercises like Cobra Gold prepare operators for integrating with domains they never had to consider before.

“By practicing in exercises like Cobra Gold, participants can work through the challenges they may not have the opportunity to see on a daily basis,” Jordan said, “By establishing this new space play, Cobra Gold has become an even better venue for joint and combined partnership that recognizes space as contested domain.”

As more regional players recognize the importance of space, efforts like these in Cobra Gold will only grow in importance.  SPACEFOR-INDOPAC continues to expand its outreach efforts to Allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific, and plans are already underway for additional space integration in other combined events.  Each one advances Guardian skills, forges stronger relationships with Allies and partners, and helps support a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Though this was the first time SPACEFOR-INDOPAC played in Cobra Gold, the experience had a profound effect on the Guardians involved.

“Participating in Cobra Gold for the first time was a powerful reminder of the importance of our Allies and partners,” Jordan said.  “Integrating space into the exercise as part of an incredible multinational team was a big task, but it was one worth doing and one we were able to succeed at together.”