The Defense Department, with very little fanfare, issued a new space policy last month. The memo about the space policy, dated October 18, is signed by deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter. The memo, though, has received little coverage beyond an article Wednesday by the American Forces Press Service, including no formal press releases or other statements from the Pentagon.
The updated policy, Carter said in the AFPS article, “institutionalizes the changes the department has made in an increasingly constrained budget environment to address the complex set of space-related opportunities and challenges.” It builds upon the national space policy issued in June 2010 and the National Security Space Strategy issued in early 2011. As in those policies, there is an emphasis on cooperation with international and commercial entities, such as sharing of space situational awareness data (and asking commercial satellite operators to provide “their spaceflight safety data as well as relevant plans, schedules, and information on operational status.”) Elsewhere, the policy states that the DOD “will seek to expand space-related cooperation with international partners, building and sharing space capabilities with these partners to the extent practicable and leading combined space operations, including space-support operations.”