The findings of last summer’s Space Strategic Posture Review drove in part the Pentagon’s investment over the next five years in space protection and space situational awareness capability, as reflected in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2016 budget proposal, said Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, military deputy in the Air Force’s acquisition office, on Wednesday. The review was the first real look in a broader sense at the “space environment and what it meant to us as a nation” since the Rumsfeld Space Commission in 2000-2001, she said during her talk on Capitol Hill sponsored by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. It also sought to define the state of capability on orbit as well as the emerging threats to US space systems, she said. There is an understanding that space is an “integral part” of US military and economic power and it will be challenged in some way, said Pawlikowski. Preserving freedom of action in space for military and commercial purposes is of paramount importance, she said. The Air Force and other US military organizations, along with the “black space” of the intelligence community, can’t just “hunker down” with classified systems, such as protected satellite communications, but instead must improve collaboration with both commercial entities and international partners, she said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.