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MODERATOR: Greetings to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s London International Media Hub. I would like to welcome our participants dialing in from Europe and around the world for this on-the-record briefing with U.S. Space Force Lieutenant General DeAnna Burt on her recent travel to the United Kingdom and Germany. We will have some opening remarks from our speaker, and then she will take questions from participating journalists.

I will now turn it over to Lieutenant General Burt for her opening remarks. Ma’am, the floor is yours.

LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURT: Hi, this is Lieutenant General Burt. Good afternoon to everyone in Europe. Thanks for this opportunity. I wanted to offer an opportunity to answer questions today regarding my trip to Europe. Last week I had the privilege to head to – first to Frankfurt, Germany, and over to Ramstein. Spent the day with the NATO Space Operations Center as well as with our DIRSPACEFOR, or Director of Space Forces Staff, and was able to have a conversation with those folks. Our Director of Space Forces Staff is currently assigned to United States Air Forces Europe as our space element there. They are slowly but surely building to become our Space Force as a service component directly to U.S. European Command. So exciting times there with that staff working to make that transition from being an element under the United States Air Force to now separating out on its own as a service component to U.S. EUCOM.

And then traveled to Europe, to London, and participated in the Defence IQ Space Summit, which was a great opportunity to interact with all of our partners across the area of operation in Europe and spend time with close international partners from Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, just to name a few that I directly interacted with while I was there.

Through the rest of the afternoon, I then traveled with Air Vice-Marshal Godfrey out to Space Command for the UK and spent the afternoon looking at what they are working with and areas that we could continue to partner as they continue to build out their Space Command, which is in its second year. So learning from each other, building those partnerships, trying to use best

practices between the two organizations has been critical as we all establish and continue to grow our space capabilities within our partner nations.

So with that, that’s what I – my trip involved, and I’m happy to answer any questions involved with that or within the European theater that are of interest to those online. So with that, I’ll turn it back over for questions and answers.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Lieutenant General Burt. We will now begin the question-and-answer portion of today’s call. Our first question is a pre-submitted question, and it comes from Ilja Tuechter from Die Rheinpfalz am Sonntag. Ilja asks, “Could you speak to the role played by Space Command’s presence in Ramstein, Germany, and to how its staffing is going to develop in the near future?”

LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURT: Thank you for that question – a great question. So I want to make sure I – words matter here, and I want to make sure that we’re very clear on which organizations we’re talking about. So in the question, you said Space Command. United States Space Command is a combatant command just like U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. That is a combatant command that is responsible – Space Command, U.S. Space Command is responsible for space operations at a hundred kilometers to infinity. They are a combatant warfighting command. That is their purpose.

I am in the United States Space Force, which is a service. So like the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps within the U.S. military, I am operating in the United States Space Force. So sometimes those can be confused, so that’s why I say words matter when you ask a question and then talk about. So I will talk to both because I can talk to them.

From a U.S. Space Command perspective, we have a Space Force presence in Stuttgart, Germany, at U.S. European Command, and it is a liaison office of about five or six folks who work directly for General Dickinson, the U.S. Space Command Commander who is stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to be the reach forward into U.S. European Command to do coordination between the two combatant commands.

The discussion for this question is the organization of guardians or space operators who are at Ramstein, and as I mentioned in my opening comments, we have had space forces in all – as part of when the space operations were part of the Air Force. We have always had space operators at Ramstein in that Director of Space Forces Staff, doing that space integration in the Air Operations Center there at Ramstein. Now that we have a United States Space Force as a service, like every other service, we need to force present to the combatant commanders.

So as you recall, with U.S. European Command you have an air component, United States Air Forces Europe; you have an Army component, United States Army Europe, which is in Heiderlberg; you have a Navy component; and you have a Marine Corps component – all located in the area of operation in the European theater. So it only makes sense as the newest service that we are also standing up our own service components. So we’re repurposing those personnel who are already there in that Director of Space Forces element, and now pulling them out and establishing them as a service component to U.S. EUCOM.

Right now the status is that we are waiting for the letter to be signed by the SECDEF to formally establish the service component to United States European Command. While that is pending and we’re working that official letter, we are doing mission analysis on the number of people that it’s going to take to execute that mission and to support U.S. EUCOM. Also the location of where it will be, that is also under discussion of where that would go and then what host nation agreements would be needed based on does it stay at Ramstein or does it move to somewhere else. That is all still being discussed and being worked with the U.S. European Command Commander and their staff.

This is not the first service component we have stood up. We have three other service components, one in INDOPACOM in Hawaii, one in Central Command down in Florida with Central Command, as well as one at U.S. Forces Korea, or USFK, in South Korea. We also have a service – Space Force service component. So this will be our fourth service component that we stand up once we get the letter from the SECDEF and we finish that mission analysis on the number of personnel and what missions need to support and where it needs to be located; we will close on that.

So that’s kind of the discussion of where that component is at Ramstein.

MODERATOR: Thank you. For our next question we’ll go to Olivia Savage from Janes, and Olivia asks: “In Germany and the UK, what were the key priorities discussed, and has anything beneficial or new come out of your visits?”

LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURT: That is a great question. Thank you for that. Great discussions, as we’ve always had in – with the UK and Germany. We have an initiative called the Combined Space Operations initiative, or CSpO. Both the United Kingdom and Germany are part of that along with France, Canada, and Australia – and the United Kingdom. And so a great organization where we get together and talk a lot about – particularly right now the key topic is norms of behavior, and how we normalize in the operational domain of space. You can think of the other domains – land, air, and sea – there are standards, statutory laws that apply to every domain, as well as customary laws in how you operate in those domains. Whether you be a civilian or a military operator, space is new and it’s coming very quickly, and the growth in the commercial arena has just been amazing.

So we really have to get after those norms of behavior, how we all believe as likeminded nations – how do we work and operate in the domain so it’s free and fair for all and that everyone can enjoy the domain and prosper from the domain together. So those have to be shared ideas, and how do we work towards agreement across the board.

Additionally, both Germany and the United Kingdom, as I mentioned earlier, just like the United States, are building their own capabilities for space within their national militaries. So it’s important that we’re learning from each other. Again, the United States decidedly has been

doing space for a long time but has not broken it out as a separate service and its own combatant command until recently. So there’s a lot of learning going on and sharing of what we’ve learned as we’ve traveled this road on the U.S. side, sharing with our partners and then how can they take a look at that in the UK and Germany and apply those lessons, and also sharing back with us; we’re learning just as much from them because of their thinking of it differently, their looking at different scenarios, their coming at it from a different lens. Their industrial base is different. So again, I think there’s a lot of good sharing of ideas across the board.

For the United States Space Force, for the Chief of Space Operations, one of our primary lines of effort is partnering to win. And so these engagements we continue to have are critical to our work and a primary line of effort for the Chief of Space Operations to share ideas, integrate, sharing operators, talking about how we can improve upon our liaison opportunities. We’re getting ready to send an officer to intermediate development education in the United Kingdom with the hope that they will stay on following that school engagement to, again, be a person there working directly with UK Space Command to do work.

So I think there’s continuous opportunities for partnering and engagement, and both of those countries are doing great work – UK and Germany – and making great headway. So I am very excited to continue to work with them. We’re also talking about now what does this mean. Space has been identified as a new domain under NATO, and as three NATO nations, how do we see the continual growth of the NATO Space Operations Center and how do we see space operations playing out within the NATO construct. So a lot of good dialogue there as well. But they were the primary parts of our discussions during my visit.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Lieutenant General Burt. We’ll next go to a pre-submitted question from Borzou Daragahi of The Independent. Borzou asks, “There seems to be a lot of incredible space initiatives taking place right now across the world. Could you give us a state of the space races? Do you think there’s more collaboration or competition going on worldwide? Would you say that we are entering a new age in the quest for exploring the solar system?”

LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURT: No, great question, and I appreciate that one. Absolutely, the commercial market is just exploding. It’s been absolutely incredible to see the growth in the market. We started with really a large growth in the launch enterprise, which we’ve seen. In our particular case, we’ve seen launch costs reduced by tenfold, which has then made it easier for many nations who could not access space in the past due to the high cost of launch are now able to do that. We’ve also seen the growth in the number of small satellite providers, proliferated constellations, and smaller, lightweight capabilities who can launch multiple satellites at a time on a single rocket.

So we’ve seen quite a bit of capability continue to improve over the last two to three years, so I think there’s going to continue to see that growth. We live with space capabilities every day and depend upon them in our daily lives, not just the way we execute as militaries but also the way we live and breathe every day, from GPS, timestamping, stock exchange, or going to the gas pump and swiping your card and doing transactions on your bank account, to navigating the roads and driverless cars and what we like to call precision agriculture – tractors driving themselves with the use of GPS. So, so many capabilities that are provided by space that we use every single day to communicate and operate I think are going to continue to show that growth.

I also think it’s exciting, Artemis and the work that NASA is doing to go to the moon and the partnerships there to continue to explore. Discussions of Mr. Musk and wanting to go to the – to Mars I also think is going to be great. I grew up in the state of Florida in the United States, so I’m what we would call a “space coast baby.” So I have seen firsthand the excitement of space exploration and travel, and the ability and the technologies that come from that exploration that we then get to use here on Earth every day. So it’s very exciting times.

So I think the collaboration continues to grow. Again, I come back to it: How do we get to norms of behavior in how we operate in the domain – because everyone needs to be able to prosper and work there and operate – and how do we do that safely and in a manner that’s responsible and doesn’t put others at risk needlessly with debris or other problems? How do we manage how we operate every day so that everyone gets the most use out of it?

So I think there’s going to continue to be more collaboration both at the commercial and the military level. As I said, one of our primary lines of effort is partner to win, and that includes commercial and industry as well as with our civil partners – as I mentioned, NASA and our other coalition entities. So we absolutely believe space is a team sport, it cannot be done alone, and the U.S. is looking at all opportunities to continue to partner and work with other likeminded nations.

MODERATOR: Thank you. Our next question is a pre-submitted question from Aya Sayed of Roayah News Network. Aya asks, “How does the U.S. work with allies to enhance their capabilities in the face of space threats? China and Russia have been investing heavily in their space programs. What challenges does this pose to U.S. interests in space, and is there any coordination to avoid orbital skirmishes?”

LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURT: No, that is a great question. Every day we are working – we have over 200-plus space situational awareness sharing agreements. So what space situational awareness is or space domain awareness is, is that you understand where everything is in the domain and you can avoid collisions or with debris or with a live satellite, et cetera. We have an 18th Space Defense Squadron, who their job is to do nothing but track and manage all of the things that are on orbit to keep track of them in custody.

This comes to our theory of success in the space domain called competitive endurance. And so our very first line of effort in that is to avoid operational surprise, so space domain awareness is the bedrock of that. And so it’s making sure that you understand where things are in the domain. If there are threats, how do you maintain custody of that threat? You can attribute it should it attack or do something to another satellite, and you’re able to then share that information.

So the key section of that is sharing that information with allies and partners, so we are sharing that space picture every day. If any of you want to go to, that is the place where we post the catalog for the world every day of what’s on orbit, but that is shared. And then we also share at a classified level with our partners as well on anything with threats and what we believe, if something is threatened.

We do report collisions and what we would call a conjunction, either whether between a live object or a piece of debris. If it’s two live objects that could hit each other, we make contact with both owner/operators, and that – they between them and connect them till they decide how they’re going to handle that. If it is a live object and a piece of debris, then obviously the live object is the one that will need to move, and we are sending that notification as well. But again, it’s up to the owner/operator to make those decisions.

As the U.S. Government and the Department of Defense, the only capabilities that we can direct to move or have any authority over are our DOD, our U.S. Department of Defense capabilities. Everyone else – again, it’s a courtesy that we make those communications, but they, purely by sovereign nations and companies and industry, make those calls of what they are going to do with that information. So that will continue to be shared.

The second part of our competitive endurance theory of success is that we need to have – remove the first mover advantage to build our resilience. So in the past, we’ve built very large satellites that were very, very expensive and in some cases we will call them “large, juicy targets.” Once taken out, you would have a problem with being able to reconstitute that capability. So we’ve recognized that’s – if you want to deter a conflict that extends into space, you have to make conflict so costly that it’s not worth doing. So how do you build the resilience in multiple domains and multiple layers in space – so low Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, or geosynchronous orbit – and put different types of capabilities and disaggregate and integrate with other partners.

So in this case, there’s been many things here in the last year. We have a hosted payload with QZSS with the Japanese. We also have a payload going up with Norway – a shared ride. So not only are we disaggregating and adding different layers in our own architectures, we’re looking to how can we do shared payloads with coalition partners and commercial partners to again build that resiliency of what’s on orbit and remove that first mover advantage. It would not be worth going to war in space because it would be too costly for the enemy. They would be hard-pressed to be able to take out all of our capabilities.

However, the last line of that theory of success of competitive endurance is that when required – so again, I’m in the military. My job is to be prepared to fight tonight if asked by the nation. How do we do responsible counterspace campaigning? And those words are very specific: responsible. Do we have responsible norms of behavior of how we operate in the domain? And if I’m going to do a counterspace activity, how do I do that in a responsible way? Do I look at the amount of debris I would cause? Any collateral damage? How would I limit safety of – make sure I’m working for safety of flight and protecting those in the domain?

Space is very different than any of the other domains. I would ask – probably every reporter has looked at a picture of Ukraine. And when you look at Ukraine from an air perspective, all the commercial traffic goes around Ukraine. Nothing is flying directly over Ukraine or the battlespace. That’s how we are protecting noncombatants. They don’t go into the area of responsibility or the danger area. We can’t do that in space. Everyone is in the engagement zone if we were to have a war that extended into space, which is why it is not something that we want to do.

However, as I said in that competitive endurance theory, the third pillar is I have to, if required, do responsible counterspace campaigning. And we are doing that with our coalition partners, having those conversations about what that means for norms of behavior, how do we apply those in a conflict environment that extends into space, and how would we work together not only to provide that attribution of warning of a threat for their capabilities, but how would they respond or how would we support them in responding if need be.

So all of those play in that competitive endurance theory of success, and we have absolutely been coordinating every element of that theory with our coalition partners and making sure they are also thinking about what are their options in each element of that theory. So hopefully that answers your question.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Lieutenant General Burt. We’ll go to a pre-submitted question from Mohamed Maher of Al-Ain News and Al-Masry Al-Youm. Mohamed asks, “This week the Department of State released the first-ever Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy, marking a groundbreaking initiative aimed to promoting U.S. global space leadership. Could you provide further details about this endeavor and elaborate on its importance. Additionally, I would like to inquire whether there have been any negotiations with countries in the Middle East regarding their potential participation in this initiative?”

LIEUTENANT GENERAL BURT: No, great question. Thank you. I cannot answer the question to if any – so I’ll start with the last part of that question. I do not work for the State Department, so I can’t make any discussion of who has been formally coordinated with it from the State Department’s perspective and to be part of that initiative. But I would assume, again, that we are trying to – by publishing this strategy for the Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy, we are now setting the stage to open the door to integrate and talk to anyone who would want to talk to us from a State Department perspective. So that would be a great question if the London embassy knows that or can take that and come back as a question to answer for you.

But I think overall that’s why we published a strategy as a nation, and it’s really important. So I’m a Department of Defense employee. I talk a lot about what the Department of Defense is trying to do. I’m only one element of the United States Government, so it is absolutely critical that the Department of State published this strategic framework, and we’re looking at, again, the importance of norms of behavior and how do we get out and start talking about this with all likeminded nations who want to act responsibly in the domain and want to prosper and explore and do all the great things that are available and out there in the domain. So I think this is a

great first step, and I think as a nation, being a leading space nation, it was important that we set the tone and that we lead because we’ve been doing this for a very long time.

We’re not trying to say the way we do it and everything we do is absolutely perfect. This now starts the dialogue by putting the strategic framework out there. But we are at least able to share our experience, what we see is important, and how we have operated over the last – I mean, I’ve been a space operator for 32 years. We’ve been doing this for decades. How do we share that with others? And to the point of the Central Command and Middle Eastern countries, as they try to come on board and bring their own space capabilities, this framework will offer the opportunity for us to start engaging and help them as they come along or any nation that is a new spacefaring nation. It will help them come along and build those relationships, and we now have a strategic framework to do that.

So I think overall it’s a great step. I’m proud of the State Department for doing that, and I look forward to the continued partnerships with all the nations that I expect will now get an opportunity to formally – now that we have a framework – to enter the discussions. And I do think, bottom line, it’s important that we talk. Whether we agree about all the norms of behavior being proposed or whether we agree with how certain things are done or not, it’s important to talk. It always is. Because without talking, we can’t understand where we are and how we meet as likeminded nations to get to something that works for the majority to be able to prosper in the domain. And so I think this now opens the door for that discussion to happen, and it will be very valuable moving forward.

MODERATOR: And with that, we will conclude today’s call. I’m sorry that we could not get to all questions today. I would like to thank Lieutenant General Burt for joining us, and I would like to thank all of our callers for participating. If you have any questions about today’s call, you may contact the London International Media Hub at

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U.S. Department of State

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