As Defence enters into a new space era with the establishment of Defence Space Command, the release of the Defence Space Strategy sets a vector to assure Australia’s access to space for civilian and military uses.

Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell said space was critical to ADF warfighting effectiveness, situational awareness, and the delivery of real-time communications in the current geostrategic environment.

“We must be able to generate space power across the Defence portfolio, supporting the joint force, whole of government, allies and international partners. We must also protect billions of dollars’ worth of commercial and military assets against space debris, collisions and destructive acts,” General Campbell said.

“The decision to create a single organisation to coordinate and manage Defence’s endeavours in space is significant. Defence Space Command brings members of Navy, Army, Air Force, the Australian Public Service and contractors together under an integrated headquarters reporting to the Chief of Air Force as the Space Domain Lead.” 

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said Defence had the responsibility of assuring Australia’s access to space for civilian and military users in a safe and sustainable space environment. 

“Advancing Australia’s space power requires a shift in thinking that recognises and supports space as a contested operational domain rather than simply being an enabler to other domains,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“The Government has committed to significantly increasing investment in Defence’s space capabilities by investing around $7 billion this decade to assure our access to space, space services and geospatial information.

“While technologies and systems are important, they are only part of what enables the delivery of space power. Our people and partners will bring the curiosity, creativity and collaborative spirit required to conceive the space power required to meet our future challenges.” 

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, centre right, and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton discuss Australian space capability with Army Lieutenant Colonel Clifford White during the 2022 Air and Space Power Conference. Photo: Leading Aircraftman Sam Price

Led by Defence Space Commander Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, Defence Space Command was established to assure Australia’s access to space to defend Australia, our national interests, and promote global security and stability.

“Space is the ultimate high ground. What we see from space gives us an unsurpassed advantage in surveillance and intelligence. It is central to how we will fight and win in the future across multi-domain operations, using advanced hypersonics, precision strike missiles and guided weapons,” Air Vice-Marshal Roberts said.

“We are enhancing our sovereign capabilities so Australia can be self-reliant in the detection of threats and collection of information for the defence of our nation. This is crucial to gaining timely, accurate information for the safety and capability of our forces. 

“This evolution of our operational capability will see us become an active contributor in space and ensure we can efficiently and effectively respond to space incidents when required.

“The newly released Defence Space Strategy sets the trajectory for Defence to assure Australia’s access to space. The immediate priority for Defence is to better integrate the many diverse elements of space capability.  

“We will look at innovative ways to expand our space capability to meet unique Australian requirements and develop our partnerships with industry and academia. 

“Australia’s geographical location and vast open land in the southern hemisphere helps us see things that others can’t. We will continue to work closely with our allies and international partners to mutually assure the responsible use of the space domain.  

“Together we will reach for the stars to protect Australia – our freedom, our values and our way of life.”