MILSATCOM Pivot to the Pacific

The United States should make greater cooperation in the realm of military satellite communications a component of its strategic pivot to the Pacific region in order to forge closer ties with allies there, said Todd Harrison, senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, on Tuesday. Discussing the findings of his forthcoming MILSATCOM study, Harrison highlighted the importance of improving communications technology among the United States and its Pacific allies, including nations like Australia, Japan, and South Korea. If the US military wants to build upon its relationships with those countries, then upgrading satellite communications “is an attractive way to do it,” he said during his July 23 briefing in Washington, D.C. Already the Air Force has partnered with allies in this manner. For example, Australia joined the Wideband Global Satellite Communications program in 2007, agreeing to provide funding for the procurement of the sixth WGS spacecraft in return for access to a portion of the WGS constellation’s communications bandwidth capacity.