Space: the Air Force at the 39th Space Symposium

(To air Force)

From 8 to 11 April 2024 the 39th Space Symposium, an event of international importance held annually with the aim of bringing together the entire global community of the civil, military, industrial and academic world.

The recently concluded edition also took on greater importance due to the concurrent meetings of the assembly of the Combined Space Operations Initiative (CSpO), a small group of countries in which the doctrinal evolution of the space domain, the use of capabilities and the development of common standards are discussed, of which Italy has been part since last December 2023.

The initiative was held on Monday 8 April at the level of Working Groups and Friday 12 April with the meeting of Principals Board, at the end of a busy week. The event guaranteed the international community to update and discuss what has happened in the past period and to obtain a complete overview of the developments that have taken place in the civil and military fields in the USA.

During the work, the head of the Space Force, Gen. b. Saltzman, and the head of Space Command, Gen. S. Whiting, both confirmed that the planned consolidation projects and achievement of full operational capacity continue without any particular critical issues. In particular, Gen. Saltzman highlighted how the Space Force, to support its mission, continues to rely on two fundamental pillars: personnel, with particular focus on recruitment, and international collaboration.

Alongside the Space Symposium, on 11 April, the Space Chiefs Forum was held, now in its fourth edition with a further renewed format compared to past editions. This year the military leaders of the Space components of 18 countries took part. Italy was represented by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Air Squadron General Luca Goretti, who - during the work of the meeting - moderated a panel dedicated to “training and education, information sharing and doctrine”. In this context, Gen. Goretti emphasized how it is “it is fundamental to understand and harmonize common needs in terms of staff training and training” and especially, "structuring an effective communication activity, aimed at raising awareness among public opinion and decision makers on the importance of preparing adequate defense capabilities, aimed at protecting the infrastructures and space services fundamental to the life of the Nation".

In this context, the head of the US Space Force, Gen. Saltzman - who chaired the conference - underlined how the event allowed an update on developments in the US space sector with a look at the geopolitics of space and the activities that the USA intends to carry out with international partnerships. The general Saltzman stated: “Honored and grateful to have had another opportunity to host the Space Chief Forum. Space power is a collaborative enterprise, and strengthening international partnerships is critical to our collective success.".

Always the general. At the end of the event, Saltzman wanted to share a statement with all the representatives of the participating Nations in which:

– reaffirmed the importance of cooperation between like-minded partners, with a view to exploiting opportunities and combating emerging threats;

– underlined the common interest in maintaining the peaceful use of space and the resulting benefits for humanity;

– emphasized the common work aimed at deterring ambiguous, unfriendly and hostile space activities and the common resolution to promote responsible behavior aimed at guaranteeing the "safety, security, stability and sustainability" of the space domain.

THEgeneral space office, established in 2017, is the branch of the Air Force general staff that is responsible for developing the policy and directives for the development of the space and aerospace capabilities of the Armed Forces. The Air Force, in fact, aspires to become the main enabler for access to space through the development of consolidated skills in the aerospace sector also through the training and development of excellent paths for its personnel.