Defence Space Command
In a previous blog post, I wrote about the work undertaken by No. 1 Remote Sensor Unit (1RSU), of the Royal Australian Air Force, Australian Department of Defence. In part, in that article, I reported on the establishment of a new Defence entity – Defence Space Division/Defence Space Force. At that stage, little detail had been released. However, further information has now been made available on the Department of Defence’s own website. I have extracted the following from that website, about the RAAF entity now known as Defence Space Command.
“Our mission – To achieve our strategic space ambitions and lead the effort to ensure Australia’s access to space, Defence Space Command was established on 18 January 2022.
Defence Space Command brings members of Air Force, Army, Navy and the Australian Public Service together under an integrated Headquarters reporting to the Chief of Air Force as the Space Domain Lead.
Defence Space Command will:
* Develop and advocate for space specific priorities across whole of government, industry, allies and our international partners
* Allow us to establish an organisation to create, train and sustain our people and assign trained space specialists to the Chief of Joint Operations when needed
* Conduct strategic space planning, assist in the development of refinement of space policy, guide scientific and technological space priorities, and define a resilient and effective space architecture in close collaboration with our allies
* Ensure the design, construction, maintenance and operations of Defence space capabilities are in accordance with Defence standards and limitations.
Defence Space Strategy
“The Defence Space Strategy sets the trajectory for Defence space efforts to 2040, building on the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, Force Structure Plan and Defence Transformation Strategy.
It describes the strategic context of the space environment, articulates the vision and mission for the space domain and explores the underpinning objectives to ensure Australian civil and military access to space, integrated across goverment, and in concert with our allies, international partners and industry.
The Strategy identifies five lines of effort to:
1. Enhance Defence’s space capability to ensure Joint Force access in a congested and contested space environment.
2. Deliver military efforts integrated across Whole of Government and with allies and partners in support of Australia’s national security.
3. Increase the national understanding of the criticality of space.
4. Advance Australia’s sovereign space capability to support the development of a sustainable national space enterprise.
5. Evolve the Defence Space Entreprise to ensure a coherent, efficient and effective use of the space domain.”
Defence Space Commander
Who will lead Australia’s Space Command? That would be Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts.
“As a self professed science fiction buff, AVM Roberts has always been fascinated by advanced technology and space and is passionate about bringing out the best in people. Becoming Australia’s first Space Commander is the realisation of a life-long dream, sparked by Commander Neil Armstrong landing on the moon.”
AVM Roberts joined the RAAF in 1993 and has held a long list of roles within the RAAF during that time. She “…holds a Master of Management of Defence Studies and a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree…”
Responsible Space Actor
“Defence is a responsible space actor. All space operations are conducted consistent with international and domestic legal obligations.
Among other initiatives, Australia is a participant of the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative. CSpO improves information sharing on space and recognises that collaboration on space is a key force multiplier for all the countries involved. Under a common vision, the nations agree upon guiding principles and lines of effort to improve combined military space operations, foster cooperation and coordination and to collectively promote responsible behaviour in space.
Together we will reach for the stars to protect Australia – our freedom, our values and our way of life.”
Defence Space Power eManual
“The Space Power eManual is the foundational Defence reference on the employment of space power, complementing and supporting all levels of Defence education and doctrine.
The Space Power eManual’s core purpose is to support the training and education of those who will employ and enable space power.
The eManual presents the theory of space power and introduces the space power contributions model.
The eManual also describes practical aspects of employment and integration through space power roles and mission areas, consistent with the space power considerations of Defence’s major Combined Space Operations partners.
The eManual introduces the terminology, definitions and concepts that underpin space power and situate its employment within the Australian strategic context, it clearly explains that space power is not an end in or of itself – its purpose is to achieve national objectives.
To download a copy of the eManual click here and then click on the download.
On 22 March 2022, AVM Roberts was interviewed during the formal promulgation of the Command. She mentioned that there was an initial Command personnel of 105. These would be located at Fairbairn, Canberra; Air Command near Sydney; Hobart, and some co-located with the Australian Space Agency in Adelaide.
What has all this to do with UAP?
1. The RAAF was the designated Australian government agency mandated to collect “UFO” sighting reports, between 1951 and 1994, originally terming them “flying saucers” then “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS.) They withdrew from this task in 1994; closed their collection process, and archived their sighting and policy files in 1994 donating them to the National Archives of Australia (NAA). For a list of these files, click here. For a comprehensive look at what is in the files, click here.
2. In June 2021, the Department of Defence advised me that:
“Defence does not have a protocol that covers recording or reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena/unidentified flying object sightings.”
3. During the 2021/2022 Senate Estimate Committee hearings, Senator Whish-Wilson posed a number of UAP related questions to the Defence Chief of Air. This was followed up in writing in a series of questions and answers.
4. It is the RAAF, specifically 1RSU which has the sensor capabilities, which could detect UAP. It appears logical that the new Defence Space Command would be the command which should have an interest in UAP, of any element of the Department. However, the Australian Department of Defence and the Chief of Air, state that they have no current interest in UAP.