YCAPS and the Japan-U.S. Military Program (JUMP) hosted a seminar on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Yokosuka. “Space, the Final Domain (Star Trek or Star Wars?)” focused on the inherent instability and chaotic frontier that is outer space. How does space matters to our everyday lives? Why is “freedom of space” (maintaining the stability, sustainability, and free access to and use of space for all) important to the world? What contributes to stability and conversely instability in space (conceptual framework)? How can America and its allies and partners (through the developing U.S. Space Force) mitigate space instability and strengthen stability in space and safeguard their national interests in space?
The seminar was led by Capt. Tuan Pham, who is the Assistant Chief for Staff for Intelligence to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan. He is a Navy Maritime Strategist, Strategic Planner, China Hand (master-level), and seasoned China Watcher with over two decades of professional experience in the Indo-Pacific.
With more than 110 attendees (including 64 cadets from the National Defense Academy), this event was a successful seminar to bridge policy communities, develop professional competencies, and support the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Capt. Pham pointed out that this dialogue actually finds its roots in the launch of the first satellite Sputnik in 1957. Today, it is possible to find parallels between modern maritime and space security considerations in light of South China Sea territorial disputes. Exploration has always introduced concerns around ownership rights, beginning centuries ago when European fleets discovered and mapped territories, then laid claim despite habitation by indigenous peoples. However, U.S. policy around space exploration has, since its inception decades ago, underscored the importance of equal access for the good of all. Securing this equal access may – eventually – undermine U.S. preeminence by assuring that all nations enjoy opportunity to develop and explore space applications.
Questions from the audience were fielded by Capt. Pham in a thoughtful way throughout the presentation. Cadets from the NDA posed critical questions that demonstrate their keen interest in the subject matter as our next generation of alliance managers. This includes a reference to Thucydides’ triad of motivation (fear, greed, and ego) which motivates nations to act. Distinguished attendees included Admiral Ota (retired), members from the diplomatic community, media, and aerospace engineers from the CFAY civilian leadership community.
YCAPS and JUMP will continue working together to provide these educational seminars in the future.