Departing Head of Space Ops Center Cites Importance of Cooperation with Allies

Col. Michael Manor, Joint Space Operations Center commander, (left) shows a piece of space debris to Japan Air Self-Defense Force service members from the Defense Plans and Policy Department during a tour at the JSpOC at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Dec. 8, 2017. Air Force photo by Maj. Cody Chiles.

The departing head of the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Friday stressed the importance of US moves to increase cooperation with other countries in national security space activities.

Col. Michael Manor, the commander of the 614th Air Operations Center and JSpOC director, discussed the issue in an interview with Air Force Magazine a week before moving on to his next post, as director of the Commander’s Action Group for the Air Force Space Command and the Joint Space Component Command. The conversion of the JSpOC into the Combined Space Operations Center, or CSpOC, with more participation by US allies is among announced or planned steps to increase cooperation with other countries on national security space. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson also announced in April that more space training would be available to allies.

The US, Manor said, is trying to remove technological or security barriers to cooperation with allies and working to increase that cooperation.

“Personally, what I would like to see is us to continue down that road, continue to figure out what systems we need to put in place so we can share information, bring better synergy with our capabilities, and then if there are outdated either security procedures or other things, that we move through those and we update those so they’re more realistic with the current environment of where we’re trying to go to work with our allies.”

Manor called the transition from JSpOC to CSpOC “incredibly significant.”

Cooperation with allies on space, he said, is a “natural evolution” of historic US cooperation in other domains, and the creation of the CSpOC “really is the mechanism where our nations will come together to do that critical command and control of those space capabilities.”

With the rise of great-power competitors, he said, “it’s to our mutual benefit to pull our allies closer and figure out better ways to work with our allies.”

Space, he said, “is just that next iteration of what we’ve done in the other domains.”