Global Insider: U.S. Military Satellite Partnership Goes Wideband and Global

In January, the U.S. and several partner states announced a wideband global military satellite communication partnership, valued at more than $10 billion. In an email interview, Joseph N. Pelton, the former dean of the International Space University and director emeritus of the Space and Advanced Communications Research Institute at George Washington University, discussed the Wideband Global Satellite Partnership.

WPR: What are the main objectives of the Wideband Global Satellite Partnership and what countries are participating in it?

Joseph N. Pelton: For more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Defense has developed a new strategy of “network-centric warfare” centered on the concept of a global information grid (GIG) that combines fiber-optic cable systems with a variety of ground-based, airborne and satellite sensors as well as a range of broadband communications satellite systems. One of the key components is a network of narrowband, protected and wideband communications satellites. The newest keystone to this system is the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) network, which grew out of a previously planned and more limited satellite system.

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