“Partnerships and Soft Power in Space” is the title of a paper written by DKI APCSS professor Dr. Al Oehlers for Security Nexus. This article emphasizes the importance in examining the role of allies and international partners in the newly-formed U.S. Space Force and Space Command’s evolving mission.
There are valuable gains to be won by reaching out to these many other nations either lacking in space capabilities or with civilian-led space security-related sectors. For example, in a context of strategic competition and aggressive initiatives such as the Belt and Road Space Information Corridor led by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a broadening of our partnership aperture might help in alerting partner nations and articulating an alternative avoiding deeper economic dependence on the PRC, and hence, exposure to malign leverage (see e.g., Chase 2019, Bubna 2020). It enables also widened audiences and more effective messaging around a fact-based narrative exposing PRC falsehoods concerning their “development”-focused agenda generating “win-win” outcomes, while concealing controversial aspects of its space programs such as its many intersections with military and intelligence applications.
Dr. Oehlers is a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. The views expressed in this article are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the DKI APCSS or the United States Government.
Security Nexus is a peer-reviewed, online journal published by the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.