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Aerospace releases new report on Allied Defense Relationships in Space

US: The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) released a study that explores the various rationales for international alliances, identifies potential barriers to maximizing partnerships, and delineates key lessons and observations, using the U.S.-Canadian space partnership as an example.

The report, Alliance Rationales and Roadblocks: A U.S.-Canada Space Study, provides insight into the reasons the U.S. establishes security alliances. Typically, those reasons can be categorized as bolstering deterrence, increasing resources, supplying information, providing geographic advantage, and enhancing international legitimacy.

The authors, Dr. Michael Gleason, senior policy analyst for CSPS, and Charity Weeden, president of Lquinox Consulting LLC, discuss the value of strategic alliances and the critical components needed to achieve U.S. security objectives in space.

“These alliances benefit all parties involved, drawing on the particular strengths of each nation and enhancing global security overall,” said Gleason. Weeden added, “As the U.S. seeks to expand these relationships, it may be useful to reflect upon current examples, with an eye toward informing future efforts and determining how to avoid the pitfalls that can jeopardize even the most successful collaborations.”

This study highlights three valuable lessons learned from the success of the U.S.-Canadian relationship. First, active involvement of senior leaders is essential to lowering barriers and advocating for partners. Second, formal written instruments help clear a path through the inevitable political and bureaucratic hurdles. Third, parties involved should share a clear understanding of allied systems and capabilities from the beginning of their development.

“Today’s security environment drives the need for a strong network of allies and partners,” said Jamie Morin, executive director of CSPS. “This study identifies keys to successfully strengthening that network, so we can enhance partnerships in the space domain.”

The authors explain that some of the common barriers to effective cooperation involve differences in legal and political systems, organizational structures, technological capabilities, budgeting priorities, and cultural norms. Having a better understanding of these barriers can help the coalition anticipate where problems are likely to arise and prioritize efforts to resolve them.

To illustrate the potential advantages of a thriving space alliance, the paper showcases some of Canada’s significant contributions to the U.S. national security space enterprise, particularly in the areas of missile warning, space situational awareness, satellite communications, geospatial intelligence, and more.