Authors | Editors: Aviles, W. (NSI, Inc.); Stevenson, J. (NSI, Inc.)
Many experts believe that one of the best investments to expand opportunities for United States’ multi-and cross-domain dominance lies in the successful joint investment of the United States’ government alongside commercial space actors to increase the US technological lead. Yet, as the commercial space market grows, there are greater numbers of private actors, some of whom have the ability to operate independently (or even disruptively) in the space domain. This potential for disruption and autonomy begs the question of what forms cooperation between the national security space (NSS) sector and the commercial space sector (CSS) will take in the future. In so far as breakthroughs in the space domain offer both benefits and potential danger from a national security perspective, the NSS would likely want some say in the direction of research, and be able to limit the potential buyers of the tech. Conversely, the more regulated the technology is likely to be, the less the CSS would want to consensually invest resources in developing a technology with limited number of buyers. We theorize that when commercial and government interests in the space domain intersect, joint commercial-public ventures can take on one of the following forms: coerced cooperation and consensual joint ventures. We suggest that a specific type of consensual commercial-public joint venture should most successfully optimizes the USG to expand its multi-domain advantage—the public-private partnership—which we distinguish from four other types of consensual commercial-public joint ventures, namely commercial acquisition, commercial leasing, government acquisition, and government leasing. PPPs differ from other forms of consensual joint ventures because they, by their nature, offer an equilibrium solution in which the concerns of both the NSS and CSS are addressed.
Aviles, W. & Stevenson, J. (2018). NSI Concept Paper, The Clash of Sectors: Why Public Private Partnerships Can Reduce ‘Coerced Cooperation’ in Commercial-Government Joint Ventures. Arlington, VA: Strategic Multi-layer Assessment (SMA).