HERNDON, Virginia -- Members of U.S. Space Command’s Commercial Integration Cell gathered for a CIC executive summit in Herndon, VA, Jan. 25, 2023.
The summit was an opportunity for Combined Force Space Component Command leaders, USSPACECOM representatives and commercial partners to speak openly with each other about ways we can improve information sharing to enhance cooperation and synergy in the space domain, thus increasing the overall resilience of U.S. government space operations.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with our commercial partners and feel that we had great communication and discussions during the summit,” said U.S. Space Force Maj. Gen. Douglas Schiess, CFSCC commander. “Collaboration with our CIC members enhances real-time information flow, which increases efficiencies and fidelity across the entire Space Domain Awareness enterprise. The bottom line is that commercial partnerships increase the overall resilience of U.S. Government space operations, which is a top priority for the DoD.”
Attendees at the summit included representatives from the 10 current CIC partners, the CFSCC commander and staff, and USSPACECOM intelligence, operations, and commercial integration branch representatives.
In bringing all parties together and allowing everyone the opportunity to voice their ideas, the executive summit helps to build relationships between industry and government; a key line of effort for the Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force Gen. Chance Saltzman.
“Partnering is not transactional,” Saltzman said. “It is a deeper relationship built on trust and mutual benefit that ensures cooperation will continue even under geopolitical, financial, and adversarial stress.”
According to Jennifer Jeffries, CFSCC Commercial Integration Cell industry representative, members of the CIC have taken note of these calls for partnership from senior military leaders and expressed their appreciation for the communication flow that the CIC enables.
“All the commercial partners could tell how engaged leadership is,” said Jeffries. “During the summit, they witnessed their ideas being heard and real-time command decisions being made that will continue the good spirit of collaboration we have already experienced.”
As threats to global security increase, these commercial partnerships become even more critical as U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, USSPACECOM commander, noted during remarks at the 2022 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Space Industry Days conference in Los Angeles.
“We are engaged in an intense competition with our pacing challenge – the Peoples of Republic of China. The CCP will not wait on us…this accelerating change demands rapid development,” Dickinson said. “I am looking for partners in industry that can keep pace.”
Members of CFSCC’s Strategic Engagements division have been hard at work to identify partners that meet Dickinson’s objectives.
“From its inception, the CIC has benefitted from the perspective of on-orbit owners and operators that have provided space situational awareness,” said Ms. Jennifer Callaro, CFSCC Strategic Engagements division chief. “The CIC is looking to expand its mission area portfolio by adding commercial ISR providers who can contribute to overall space domain awareness.”
The CIC began in 2015, and since that time these commercial partners have shared processes and procedures that the U.S. military can learn from to help maintain advantages over competitors.
"Military cooperation with the commercial sector is essential to national defense," Dickinson said. "Industry is a solution provider and force multiplier which expands the military's warfighting capability."