By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, October 12, 2015 — New Zealand will host the Defense Department and U.S. Strategic Command in the Combined Space Operations initiative at a formal meeting of the delegates this week, DoD officials announced today.
The New Zealand Defense Force and its ministry of defense said the meeting will be conducted in Wellington Oct. 12-13 to discuss space-sharing activities with the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
The initiative gives participating nations an understanding of existing and future space environments, an awareness of space capabilities to support global operations and military-to-military relationships, and a forum to address challenges and ensure the peaceful use of space, DoD officials said.
"As space becomes more congested and contested, it is imperative that we work together to ensure we preserve access,” said Tom Atkin, deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security.
Coalitions in Space
“Coalitions and partnerships represent a necessary step within national security that increases transparency, strengthens deterrence, improves mission assurance, enhances resilience and optimizes resources across participating nations,” Atkin said.
“This meeting is another opportunity to recognize and reinforce, along with our CSpO partners, the importance of acting responsibly in, and maintaining the peaceful use of, space,” said Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Stratcom is responsible for space situational awareness operations for the U.S. military under the Unified Command Plan.
The vice chief of the New Zealand Defense Force, Air Vice-Marshal Kevin Short, said participating in the initiative is expected to give his country effective, efficient access to space-based systems information to support operations and tasks in New Zealand’s area of interest.
The New Zealand Defense Force mission is to “defend its national borders, deploy into difficult environments for humanitarian, aid and disaster relief missions and to patrol large maritime areas, Short said. “Satellites enable us to complete these tasks.”