Space Flag 19-3 integrated about 160 coalition participants, observers and distinguished guests in Air Force Space Command’s (AFSPC’s) “Fight Tonight” exercise focused on using current capabilities to deter, deny and disrupt adversarial actions in the space domain.

US hosts first Space Flag exercise with coalition partners / Picture: USAF

US hosts first Space Flag exercise with coalition partners / Picture: USAF

‘The threat in space is real, and we must train like we fight – alongside our international partners – to maintain space superiority and deter conflict in the space domain’, said General Stephen Wilson, the United States Air Force’s vice chief of staff.

Space Flag 19-3 provided new challenges and opportunities to learn from coalition partners, who were chosen based on their current positions through existing agreements with the 21st Space Wing, 460th Space Wing and Combined Space Operations Center.

‘Canada has a long history of collaboration with the US in space under NORAD and, more recently, the expanding and multinational Combined Space Operations initiative’, said Brigadier-General Kevin Whale, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s director general and component commander for space. ‘Our integrated participation in Space Flag this year is a welcomed evolution of our collaboration that directly contributes to our shared interests in space’, he added.

‘The coalition forces brought a different perspective that forced everyone to think outside our typical way of doing things as we integrated intelligence in space packages throughout mission planning’, said Technical Sergeant Sean Johnson, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of 20th Space Control Squadron intelligence operations.

‘Being able to participate in the first ever coalition Space Flag was a privilege’, said Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Gene Elliott, chief of training at 460th Operations Support Squadron. ‘It was a great opportunity to bring our perspectives and talents to the fight given Australia’s relative infancy in the warfighting domain of space’, he added.

‘All operators here understand what warfighting means in the space domain’, said US Air Force Brigadier General DeAnna Burt, AFSPC headquarters’ director of operations and communications. ‘They are energized and motivated to continue these friendships and partnerships they’ve built over the course of this exercise, and we must continue building on these types of opportunities for the defense of the space domain’, he added.