Global Partnerships is a concept for leveraging domestic and international resources from the military, civil, commercial, intelligence, and national communities to strengthen the DoD's space capabilities. Additionally, these efforts will enhance confidence in coalition warfare through closer cooperation with our allies in space.


"Government and commercial partnerships in a new operations paradigm may provide lowered cost for programs and new opportunities for industry. Partnerships will be required on a global scale never before achieved in order to set the scientific goals, surmount the technical problems and share the financial burden."
                    John W. O'Neill
                    Director, Mission Operations Directorate
                    Johnson Space Center

The Global Partnerships (GP) operational concept strengthens military space capabilities through leveraging civil, commercial, non-US intelligence, national, and international space systems. The growth of military space systems in other countries provides the opportunity for the United States to gain increased battlespace awareness and information connectivity at lower cost. Partnerships provide more opportunity to share cost and risks. Partnering starts at home, but international relationships may present unique opportunities when we become most concerned about coalition warfare.

This operational concept assumes three enduring trends:

Historical lines defining requirements for space communities are being redrawn. As new economic, political, and technological forces emerge, USSPACECOM has the unique opportunity to capitalize on and affect this changing environment. Global Partnerships sets aside past paradigms, thinks "outside the box," and explores avenues USSPACECOM should consider to employ space forces well into the next millennium.


Global Partnerships are key to USSPACECOM's Vision for 2020. Sharing the burden among allied spacefaring nations for services of common interest may help solve budgeting problems in the out- years. Partnering is a way to decrease pressure on military infrastructure by adding to the DoD's resources, so we can reinvest savings to get the needed capabilities by 2020. Partnerships may also help reach 2020 goals earlier by eliminating military specific requirements or satisfying them with nonmaterial solutions.

Partnering doesn't mean reduced vigilance for defense in and through space. It's not a goal in itself, nor is it a naive attempt to provide peace and harmony by trading away our sophisticated technologies. Instead, it recognizes what the United States can gain by adding to our prowess in space and is a pragmatic attempt to bolster our war-fighting abilities and deterrence despite increasing worldwide competition. In the years leading to 2020, partnering will also strengthen alliances and build confidence in coalition warfighting-envisioned by most defense analysts as increasingly necessary and common for conflict resolution. Our partnering philosophy tries to build enduring rela-tionships of mutual interest by reducing unilateral national requirements or satisfying them without spending more money. The main goals that guided development of the GP plan are listed below.

  • Identify opportunities to augment the US military's space capabilities through partnerships that leverage space resources from the foreign and domestic military, civil, commercial, and intelligence communities.
  • Decrease pressure on US existing and future military infrastructure, while maintaining flexibility.
  • Build enduring relationships based on common interest by combining proven partnering tools (organize, cooperate,  develop polocies, standards, etc.) in innovative ways to mutual advantage.
  • Build confidence in our ability to conduct coalition warfare.


To develop this part of the plan, USSPACECOM followed the analytical process in Figure 8-1.

The process began with a review of USSPACECOM's 2020 warfighting capabilities. We then assessed mission-enabling technologies to find partnering potential. With a lot of help from important stakeholders, we carefully reviewed organizations, policies, and international agreements to develop partnership opportunities that we could assess against goals for GP. Our study sources for this concept included:

Based on these sources and our assessment, we discovered some candidate concepts which are outlined in the following sections.


Global Partnerships' end-state for 2020 revolves around USCINCSPACE as the acknowledged operational leader for US military space. USSPACECOM will coordinate and advocate military space requirements for all Unified Commands within the interagency forum. When tasked, we'll lead the US military's interaction with other space organizations, domestic and international.

Early in the 21st Century, space issues will be solved via a streamlined interagency decision-making process resulting from the creation of a national space coordinating body. This body, using an integrated perspective, will focus space-related budgets, legislation, and policy. Much like other spacefaring nations, the United States will have educational programs and symposia that considers international space issues. Our government will promote US space policy and needs in the United Nations as well as within other international organizations. To meet this goal, the government will use commercial, military, and civil space programs in a coordinated way along with non-governmental organizations such as the new International Space Foundation. Similarly, a strong, centralized organization will emerge within the DoD to represent US military concerns about space at the national level.

The US military's space operations in the 21st Century will be part of an international effort. Space-faring nations will recognize the need to ensure safe space operations and be willing to cooperate to achieve those goals. By 2020, we'll have sophisticated space law to establish appropriate safe behavior in space. The need to protect all assets in space will lead to international agreements and treaty revisions that provide for using force to enforce these laws. Through carefully considered cooperative agreements, the United States would share this responsibility with allies who contribute to the effort. For example, diplomatic agreements may offset the size and cost of USSPACECOM's space surveillance mission by reducing the amount of space debris from greatly increased space commerce. We may also see ground inspections of most space payloads which will assure everyone that illegal space weapons of mass destruction aren't going into space. As a result, we could reduce resources devoted to space surveillance. Finally, under the enduring tenets of our National Security Strategy, the United States will retain the right to act unilaterally when its national interests are threatened

Figure 8-1 Analytical Process for Global Partnerships

Under direction of the NCA, and as supported by the international community, USCINCSPACE would develop a sophisticated ability to help enforce space law. The United States and its allies will guarantee the safety of space and be able to deny the use of space to those who threaten that safety. Sharing arrangements involving surveillance, warning, launch, and other mission areas-as well as standardization and interoperability-should contribute much to deterring hostile action in space and enhancing confidence in coalition warfare. USCINCSPACE will retain the sensors needed to precisely locate space objects for targeting, as well as other capabilities specific to the military.

USCINCSPACE will also develop enduring partnerships with the aerospace and space-support industries. A careful balance of partnering and calculated risk will result in mutually beneficial arrangements that lead to surge launch, enhanced communications and imaging, and other supplements to core capabilities. Stronger interaction between the military and industry in developing requirements could allow integration of military capabilities into commercial satellites. Confidence will increase in these processes, along with multi-year contracting and cross-agency bulk purchases of launch and other space services. These changes will lead to more research and development on military problems by industry and may lower the cost of military goods and services.

A space culture within the military will fit comfortably among traditional military missions. Space "stovepipes" will be greatly diminished as a result of a mission-based, integrated, systems approach to acquisition decisions. Buying commercial space services, instead of building, operating and maintaining our own, will streamline military space forces to focus on core capabilities.

With appropriate agencies, USSPACECOM will help shape the international space environment so the United States will retain its lead in military and commercial space technology. The military would still have expertise in space-support operations by reshaping the education-with-industry program to produce military people who know space launch, communications, and other specialized areas.


USSPACECOM's other operational concepts have justified the validity of many of these assumptions.

USCINCSPACE's ability to "shape the space environment" from a position of authority and expertise will play a major role in retaining US superiority in military space operations and technology. In keeping with the National Security Strategy, the DoD and USCINCSPACE must ensure we retain the right (and capability) to act unilaterally in support of national interests. Of course, that would likely be a "last resort"-after alliances or coalition options are exhausted.

USCINCSPACE will continue to act as the senior military advocate for space operations within the DoD and among other agencies whenever appropriate. USCINCSPACE's authority to act in this role is granted under the 1998 Unified Command Plan which includes:

In fulfilling this authority, USCINCSPACE will work with other CINCs to develop consensus on military space issues, and articulate these views in a single voice for military operations while coordinating with other agencies. Other important assumptions for Global Partnerships are:

Additionally, USCINCSPACE will strongly influence domestic and international partnering activities in space-with appropriate civil/national, military and commercial agencies (see Figure 8-2).

Figure 8-2 Organizational Relationships for Global Partnerships


The following concepts, recommendations, and action plans apply to more than one mission area. They define processes and concepts important in fostering partnering across many military space capabilities related to space.

Key Partnering Concepts

  • Distinction between core and non-core military space activity
  • Single Operational Focal Point
  • Integrated Systems Approach
  • Capability and will to shape the environment

Core and Non-Core Military Activity in Space

To relieve pressure on the US military infrastructure, we must carefully decide which space missions are core competencies and which ones we can consider for partnering. The goal of this activity is to create a more flexible and cost effective space force by focusing on core capabilities. It's tough to see partnering in functions such as launch or surveillance because they've been military missions for more than 30 years. But, these traditions began because of overriding national security requirements and because no commercial demand or ability existed to perform them. The situation has changed because space applications have grown rapidly and commercial abilities have emerged to meet them at lower cost. Many large industries have transitioned from building everything to buying services while retaining essential core abilities. For instance, an international petroleum firm recently divested its drilling operation, recognizing that drilling wasn't a core function (discovering and marketing oil were). Concentrating on its core business allowed the firm to get a "best-in-class" partner to do the other missions for less money and still improved its core performance. For example, GPS operations, traditionally considered a core military function, may be a worthy candidate for transition to commercial management.

Characteristics of USSPACECOM's core and non-core functions are:

Characteristics of Core USSPACECOM Functions

  • Ability to act unilaterally
  • High impact or sensitive systems
  • Wartime critical functions
  • Operational functions (execution)
  • Involves leadership roles and responsibilities
  • Financial considerations are secondary
  • Sharing could injure us
  • Lethal
  • Potentially deployable
  • Security considerations are key

Characteristics of Non-core USSPACECOM Functions

  • Financial constraints and considerations are paramount
  • Sharing value as confidence building measure in coalition warfare
  • Loss or compromise of data is not critical
  • Commercial counterpart exists
  • Already accessed to some degree; available on the world market
  • Commercial off-the-shelf products exist
  • Not lethal
  • Rooted in space law
  • Employed in routine operations
  • Reduces DOD'd costs in the long term

The actions USCINCSPACE must take to determine the potential of commercial partners and get the most from providers of non-core services are:

(Directive) Further define criteria to distinguish core and other activities. (SP/J5)

(Directive) Identify "best-in-class" commercial firms for potential partnerships on non-core activities. (SP/Components)

(Directive) Establish partnerships that save money and add capability. (SP/Components)

We should emphasize policies and strategies needed to coordinate the civil, commercial, and national security sectors of space.
                    NDP Report, December 1997

Single Operational Focal Point

Streamlined decision making across institutional boundaries will be necessary to maintain our leadership in space. A strong military focal point may help break deadlocks among agencies, and that's what we need to rapidly develop partnerships that supplement military capabilities. In fulfilling the UCP's responsibilities, USCINCSPACE can advocate developing more streamlined decision making on space within the DoD and create a united DoD front among other agencies.

Maintaining US leadership in space through 2020 may require a leading organization chartered to guide government departments and agencies in coordinating at the strategic level. This group would also assist industry's partnering actions with domestic and international space activities at the strategic level. They would streamline the bureaucracy associated with the new partnerships, policy and legislation, and generally help the nation's space program to guarantee its preeminence through 2020 and beyond.

External actions USCINCSPACE may need to take to fulfill military leadership responsibility in space:

(Directive) Determine limits of partnering with foreign militaries to support core and other missions. (SP/J5)

(Directive) Discuss laws and enforcement strategies with the DoD's leadership to convene interagency forums on the topic. (SP/J5)

(Directive) Advocate a draft outline of 2020 space law and enforcement code, along with supporting US policies. (SP/J5)

(Directive) Get the authority to support partnering of non-core missions with potential international partners. (SP/J5)

Internal actions USCINCSPACE can carry out to fulfill a leadership role in space:

(Directive) Evaluate an integrated organization to improve mission staffing. (SP/J5)

(Directive) Create a new staff organization and adjust activities to carry out responsibilities in the UCP. (SP/J5)

(Directive/Recommendation) Flesh out the process for generating requirements and develop consensus on future roles for CINCs and the Services. (SP/Components)

Integrated Systems Approach

A distinct line exists between a CINC's role for military operations and the Services' responsibility to organize, train, and equip. However, USCINCSPACE's responsibility for joint and combined space operations as well as interests in civil, commercial, and national space systems creates a unique and broad perspective. In conceiving an overarching plan for space strategy through 2020, we discover many space relationships not obvious to a single service or civil agency. Identifying common requirements or opportunities for efficiencies across serv-ice and civil programs can benefit everyone. An example is the requirement to observe and report space meteorological data. Auxiliary payloads designed to observe the ionosphere and beyond could report efficiently if they took advantage of many civil, military, national, and commercial platforms. A similar requirement exists for secondary payloads to support navigation and attack verification. The chances for efficiencies multiply if we arrange for common designs and interfaces on attack sensors and transponders, instead of having all space systems integrate such secondary payloads independently.

Although USSPACECOM's role doesn't include determining space-system designs, the command's perspective on such matters is important. A closer partnership between USSPACECOM and the

Services' space acquisition staff could improve warfighting abilities.

USSPACECOM may support trades between material and nonmaterial solutions to resolve difficult, common problems. For instance, surveillance of space to provide safe navigation could combine material solutions for surveillance with agreements to decrease debris.

Finally, USSPACECOM is uniquely positioned to help consolidate missions and debate upgrades to capabilities in space and other mediums. For example, the Air Force and Army will soon have to decide on second and third-generation programs for AWACS and JSTARS. Although moving either of these missions individually to space may not be cost effective, combining their requirements in a space-based system could be. If we add USCINCSPACE's requirement to surveil space to the same system, even greater efficiencies could further justify this decision. Other missions, such as warning, may benefit from this kind of thinking.

Shaping the Environment

International competition in space-related fields, along with divergent national goals of the emerging space powers, threatens future operations in space. Before activities infringe on USSPACECOM's future ability to do its mission, we should try to shape the future space environment so it is advantageous to the United States and its allies. A strategy of mutual dependence, which requires all spacefaring nations to contribute and cooperate for mutual benefit, should deter aggression and foster enduring relationships. Figure 8-3 provides a logical template for "shaping the environment" to support Global Partnerships.

Development of enforcement policies and means is also presumed, since without the former, the latter may be unattainable. A key element in attaining the 2020 Vision is the common need for assured access to space. Increasing competition for influence in space will lead to a code of acceptable behavior for its common use. This logic flows naturally toward enforcement against the state to interfere or disrupt this balance in space or elsewhere.

This cooperative environment should produce dependencies, reducing our cost of unilateral enforcement.

Partnering With Industry Research and Development

The USAF Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has arranged with portions of the space industry to improve the USAF's understanding of industry planning and investment, and vice versa. This shared, parallel planning (see Figure 8-4) can make industry confident enough in the military's 2020 requirements to shift their investment toward technologies that apply directly to them. A closed planning horizon also allows partners to leverage each other's systems, production abilities and technologies. Cooperative planning at this level could develop architecture or system designs that satisfy both partners' requirements at a lower cost. Such relationships could enable the military to understand their commercial partners' planning and decision making, and influence product lines to incorporate DoD's space requirements. DoD and commercial planning provide long-term (10-15 years) forecasts and assessments of future systems and technology trends in commercial, civil, and international space system. The SMC's effort leverages commercial partnerships. It assesses the drivers for commercial space markets, technology, and government policy to forecast development of space systems and technologies. Good partnerships depend on business plans that spend appropriated funds to foster joint architectures and systems. We can develop mutually similar relationships with civil and national partners.

Figure 8-3 Shaping the Environment for Global Partnerships

Figure 8-4 Shared Planning Process

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