The UK, alongside partner countries within the Combined Space Operations Initiative (CSpO), has published a vision affirming a shared commitment to lead as responsible actors in space, while protecting and defending against hostile space activities.
Presenting a shared vision for the next decade, the publication outlines the guiding principles and purpose of the initiative, which comprises Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The document – co-drafted by all seven nations – recognises space as integral to everyday civilian life, as well as modern multi-domain military operations. It sets out a shared desire to accelerate and improve CSpO partners’ ability to conduct combined military space operations, as responsible space actors, in order to increase security and prevent escalation in space and on Earth.
Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, Director of the MOD Space Directorate, said:
Through the sharing of intelligence, information, and training with allies and partners, we can be greater than the sum of our parts in our joint pursuit for a safe and secure space domain. Vision 2031 allows us to share the latest knowledge on policy, capabilities and operations, which will help us to deliver the Defence Space Strategy and strive to create a professional, highly skilled, and energised space community across Defence.
The vision aligns with the Defence Space Strategy (DSS), released in February 2022, outlining how an additional £1.4 billion investment in Defence Space will protect the UK’s national interests in an era of ever-growing threats, as well as stimulating growth and innovation across the sector. The DSS set out how the UK will collaborate further with CSpO, the Five Eyes partners, NATO, and other like-minded nations, as we deliver shared space operations, architectures, and capabilities.
In doing so, the UK and its partners will prevent escalation, deter hostile activities, optimise resources and enhance mission assurance and resilience – preserving the UK’s strategic advantage in the space domain.
The Principals Board of the Combined Space Operations Initiative last met at Cape Canaveral in Florida in December 2021. During this event Defence leaders highlighted the importance of developing a shared understanding of the responsible uses of space, discussed opportunities for interoperability of space systems, and explored ways to enhance collaboration between the partners’ respective space operations centres, including the UK Space Operations Centre located at RAF High Wycombe.
This vision reinforces objectives outlined in the 2021 Integrated Review: to build resilience, shape the international order of the future; sustain strategic advantage through science and technology; and strengthen security and defence at home and overseas.