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DoD Space Program Expands International Partnerships

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, left, and Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay meet at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 10, 2011.

The Defense Department announced Tuesday it is expanding partnerships with space-faring companies and nations to maintain the country’s strategic advantage in space, AFPS reports.

Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, spoke with reporters from the Defense Writers Group about the future of both the civil and military space programs.

“Space is increasingly congested, contested and competitive,” Shulte said. “The United States is not the only player in space and space is certainly not our private domain.”

DoD’s National Security Space Strategy, issued by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January, calls for partnerships with the private sector and with foreign partners to boost U.S. capabilities, Schulte said. The partnerships will also help defend the U.S. satellite constellation against disruption or attack.

DoD is putting into orbit the first of four advanced extremely high-frequency communications satellites. Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom partner in the advanced EHF program. Australia partners in a satellite called the Wideband Global SATCOM System.

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