Looking For a Few Good Operators: Opportunities for Space Force to Fulfill the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

  • Citation: Hunter, Kyleanne. “Looking For a Few Good Operators: Opportunities for Space Force to Fulfill the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.” Joint Air and Space Power Conference 2021: Delivering NATO Air & Space Power at the Speed of Relevance, 2021, 35–41.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • NATO
    • Space Force
    • women
    • peace and security (WPS) agenda
    • gendered perspectives
    • recruitment
    • retention
    • leadership opportunities

In 2018, NATO called for the development of an overarching policy for Space, which was approved in June of 2019. Later that year the Alliance formally recognized Space as an operational domain alongside Air, Land, Sea, and Cyberspace. As NATO works to craft its joint approach to the Space domain, two Allies have created military services to address it – the United States Space Force (USSF) and the French Air and Space Force (FASF). The dedicated focus on Space offers many opportunities for NATO to remain a global leader in military technology while also continuing to advance the security and stability of the North Atlantic, and, by extension, the world. Most of the focus of Space doctrine has been on the physical aspects of Space power. NATO’s own Space policy is currently similarly physical, focusing on how Space ‘underpins NATO’s ability to navigate and track forces, to have robust communications, to detect missile launches and to ensure effective command and control.’ However, in addition to the physical benefits to military operations that Space offers, the Space domain, including the standup of member countries’ dedicated Space-focused military services, also offer an opportunity for NATO’s commitment to the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The unique nature of the Space domain – touching and enabling operations in every other domain – provides an opportunity to meaningfully enact gendered perspectives across all operations. There is an opportunity to build Space forces that accelerate the implementation of WPS to create a more secure and peaceful world. This paper discusses ways in which Space doctrine can encompass WPS tenets and how recruitment and retention policies can help NATO countries ensure meaningful leadership and operational opportunities for women.