Four members of the Australian Defence Force have graduated from a new US course designed to produce the next generation of space professionals with a clear understanding of the new strategic high ground.
Space 300, run by the National Security Space Institute (NSSI), aimed to develop senior US and ally nation personnel as strategic thinkers in the international space geopolitical environment.
The four students from Australia joined three from the UK plus members of the US Army, Navy and Air Force for the course run at Peterson US Air Force Base in Colorado.
One of the Australian participants was RAAF Wing Commander Stuart Briese, liaison officer at headquarters, US Air Force Space Command.
“I’ve previously attended the fundamental and intermediate-level courses, But this course [Space 300] was more challenging and focused on high-level, strategic education with facilitated discussions among students with a variety of specialties,” he said.
“I am already getting emails from Australia asking when the next course is.”
Space 300 course director Lieutenant Colonel Paul Hunke said having international students in our classroom from diverse backgrounds is a remarkable opportunity.
“These operators are able to sit in a room with other space professionals, talk about space for three weeks and learn from each other’s different perspectives,” he said.
The Space 300 course follows the Space 200 course, which has included a number of international students and covered space systems development and space power.
Space 300 was the capstone course for space education, developing space professionals with an understanding of national policy and strategic thought about space as international geopolitical environment.
Last year, then secretary of the US Air Force Heather Wilson proposed an increased coalition partner participation in space education, resulting in Australian and UK participation in Space 300.
“We need to approach space training with the same regard to enable our allies and partners to fight alongside our airmen as a coalition in the space domain,” she said.
The NSSI spent a year developing a new version of Space 300, which was releasable and valuable to participating nations.
NSSI Commandant Colonel Max Lantz said he looked forward to expanding the course to include more coalition partners.
“We have learned that including our international partners significantly enhances the students’ discussions and provides great insight into the perspectives from other nations,” he said.
US Air Force participant Major Shaun Phipps said he was privileged to take part in this seminar-style academic environment with international partners.
He said he worked on a daily basis with coalition partners as the chief of operations in the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
“We currently operate, exercise and war game with our allied space partners,” he said.
“It only makes sense that we should also share in our education as space professionals. The course provided an environment to allow the exchange of ideas and solutions to difficult problems currently facing our national leadership today.
“As the threats in the space domain continue to evolve, it will be vital as space professionals to understand our allies’ national perspectives as they pertain to space in order to assure our freedom of action in the space domain.”
Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.