Should We Buy Foreign Space Technology?

The United States Space Force Commercial Space Strategy was released in early April. It included a question regarding the U.S. government buying commercial, foreign-made, off-the-shelf products rather than investing solely in developing and building specific military solutions within the government or by using government contractors. What does this tell us?

First, foreign products are at least as good as ours. Second, the interoperability and scaling we need are based on exchanging information and technology and creating stronger alliances. The National Space Industrial Strategy approach encourages the development of integrated defense space systems and systems-of-systems from its beginning and one that integrates the national sovereign assets of American allies into the space enterprise.

Why now? The  U.S. wants to remain competitive with China and Russia. There is an urgent need for the U.S. to be mindful of advances in the two countries, as well as to stretch taxpayer dollars further.

A challenge is classification, and the  U.S. government has every motive to insist on secrecy where technology development is concerned. The USSF Commercial Space Strategy combines progressive and pragmatic attitudes to strengthen the nation’s space sophistication while striking a cautious note around disclosing too much information. The U.S. is looking to its allies to shore up and boost its space program. Europe has a thriving space ecosystem and is a world leader in key fields of defense and aerospace including photonics and Earth observation.

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