In 1921, Italian General Giulio Douhet claimed that “he who controls the air controls everything,” speaking to the importance of air superiority in armed conflict. More than one century later, his theory can still be applied to a much higher ground, and in the case of the region at the forefront of prioritization to both the United Stated and Japan, the importance of competition in space has not been lost.
On the United States Space Force’s third birthday, the previous years’ events regarding space security and defense in Japan have been many. In the enduring mission to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific against competing powers and natural disasters, United States Forces Japan, unilaterally and together with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, saw cooperation in the space domain increase tenfold.
“The space domain literally touches every aspect of modern operations, military and otherwise,” said Lt. Col. Geoffrey Walker, future operations division chief with USFJ. “Our function with the units we’re integrated with across Japan is to better defend and support the priorities of those units and their missions and to inform those planning and operation cycles from the aspect of the space domain. Space has touched everything in small ways, but that will only grow and improve as our assets and capabilities continue to improve.”
From terrestrial and space weather tracking to integrated missile defense and threat monitoring to routine communications between forces spread across the region and globe, every facet of modern operations is linked to operations in the space domain. As a constantly trained and equipped force is necessary for the defense of Japan in the traditional land, air and sea domains, such is true for the defense of the space domain; and even truer is the fact that it cannot be achieved unilaterally.