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‘Major Milestone’ As Allies Join SPACECOM’s War Plan

WASHINGTON: A number of US allies may now join Space Command in the US military’s baseline plan for protecting and defending satellites during war, Operation Olympic Defender, we hear, following in the footsteps of the first country to sign up, the United Kingdom.

SPACECOM today announced its leader, Gen. Jay Raymond, has signed the first order under OOD in his capacity as head of the combatant command. OOD is the US military’s operational plan for protecting and defending the US and allied satellites in conflict.

“This is a major milestone for the newly established command,” Raymond said. “As the threats in the space domain continue to evolve, it is important we leverage and synchronize capabilities with our allies not only to understand each other’s national perspectives but to work seamlessly together to optimize our multinational space efforts.”

Strategic Command created OOD in 2013 as the foundational plan for how the military will protect and defend the US and allied satellites in a conflict. As Breaking D readers know, OOD was updated in 2018 to open up allied participation.

“The purpose of OOD is to strengthen allies’ abilities to deter hostile acts in space, strengthen deterrence against hostile actors, and reduce the spread of debris orbiting the earth,” the SPACECOM release explains.

OOD is only one of a number of operational plans for space war Raymond has been working on since SPACECOM was established as a geographic command with an area of responsibility (AOR) 100 kilometers above sea level and up to infinity.

He told reporters yesterday that he last week inked the new “campaign plan” for SPACECOM’s day-to-day operations; every Combatant Command has such a campaign plan; this will be SPACECOM’s first. “That’s our foundational plan if you will,” Raymond explained, “that drives our day-to-day activities across the command of SPACECOM.”

In addition, SPACECOM now has responsibility for developing, updating and enacting when the ball drops specialized contingency plans for space war, mapped to specific adversary countries. Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter back in 2016 set the precedent, naming Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as the key strategic challengers to the US military.

Up to now, many allies were leery of signing up due to the fact that space operations were being commanded by STRATCOM, which also oversees US nuclear war planning. Public opinion in many US allies, such as Germany and Italy, traditionally has been strongly anti-nuclear. It is not by chance that even the UK, which had joined OOD under STRATCOM’s control, kept its participation silent until now.

“Some of those same concerns were initially raised about having USSTRATCOM be the lead agency for signing SSA data sharing agreements with other countries,” noted Brian Weeden, head of program planning at Secure World Foundation and a former Air Force officer who worked on space situational awareness operations at STRATCOM.

“But the hesitation to include allies in Olympic Defender was on our end as well,” Weeden added. “National security space is sort of the last bastion of America’s “crown jewels” and there are a lot of people in that community who are very reluctant to open the kimono to our allies, even the allies who we’ve been deeply collaborating on intelligence sharing for decades.”