The Williams Foundation Seminar on the Australian Space Enterprise

By Robbin Laird

Recently, the Williams Foundation held its latest bi-annual seminar, this one focused on the way ahead for the Australian space enterprise.  Since 2014, the Williams Foundation has held bi-annual seminars on the transformation of the ADF as it embraced fifth generation warfare and working joint force integration.

Since 2018, the focus has been increasingly with regard to how to extend the reach of the ADF given the changing nature of the challenges facing Australia in the Indo-Pacific region. The discussions really began with a 2018 seminar which focused on the importance of long-range strike and was followed by seminars which focused on ways to enhance Australian resilience and sovereign capabilities.

The first seminar of 2021 focused on next generation autonomous systems, and the 1 December 2021, seminar on where autonomous systems, namely satellites, have been a regular feature for both military and commercial purposes for many decades.

The focus was upon several key aspects which Australia can or needs clearly to do to have a fully viable sovereign space enterprise. One aspect is leveraging the dynamics of change regarding new versus old space, which means new ways to launch space payloads, and to tap into the various new ways to shape satellite payloads and constellations. One only has to think back to the revolution started by Iridium when building the satellites for the first constellation to grasp the possibilities,

That effort will be generated as the major space powers refigure how they are working GEO, MEO and LEO payloads, and as they shape various kinetic and non-kinetic warfare capabilities in the space domain. That is why working with the United States and enhancing working relationship with the UK as they have launched a new space command, or with India, or Japan or European Space Agency are significant parts of how Australia is shaping its way ahead in calibrating its approach to space sovereignty.

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