Professional Development

Johns Hopkins just clinched a partnership with Space Force to educate military personnel

Through the partnership, Space Force leaders and personnel will get to take courses in international affairs, engineering and more at the university's facilities at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue.

High above the Earth.

(Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Update: This article has been updated since initial publication to clarify Patrick Binning's full title, as well as both what the in-residence developmental education programs offer and who is eligible for them. (11/2/22, 11:02 a.m.)

Starting next year, the U.S. Space Force is going back to school thanks to a new partnership with a local university.

Space Force, the newest military branch, announced this new collaboration with Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The Baltimore-based university system’s School of Advanced Internation Studies (SAIS). which is headquartered in DC, will host space-focused electives for Space Force officials at its 555 Pennsylvania Ave. building starting in 2023.

Patrick Binning, the chair for JHU’s Whiting School of Engineering’s Space Systems Engineering program and mission area executive for national security space at the university’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, told Technical.ly that the partnership will strengthen the university’s connection to Space Force and the military.

“It goes to show the university’s commitment and partnership with helping our national defense,” Binning said.

The in-residence intermediate and senior developmental education programs will be available to officers, service members and civilians. These programs will focus on policy, deterrence and international affairs, as well as space and engineering. The Applied Physics Lab will offer additional research and development on space-related technologies and access to Space Force’s highly classified networks and needs.

The lab is no stranger to the work of Space Force, as it works frequently with the branch’s parent Department of Defense. Recently, it took part in delivering Space Force’s deep space advanced radar concept demonstration and the space-based kill assessment program for the Missile Defense Agency.

“Developing guardians to compete and prevail in space and cyberspace requires a guardian-focused professional military education experience,” said Maj. Gen. Shawn Bratton, space training and readiness commander, in a statement using the Space Force’s term for its servicemembers. “The space domain requires a unique education for space-minded professionals; partnering with Johns Hopkins SAIS enables guardians greater access to cutting-edge STEM electives, laboratory research opportunities and a wider range of commercial space sector program opportunities in the Washington D.C. area.”

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Space Force personnel will be competitively selected to get into the program, which Binning said will provide both background and new capabilities in their daily roles. They’ll also receive a master’s degree from JHU.

He added that a partnership such as this is unique as the military often does not have such a strong relationship with a civilian institution. In the future, he hopes that the partnership will continue to grow and provide even more opportunities for Space Force education.

“The students down there will have a chance to learn from the Space Force and the members of the military that are in those courses,” Binning said. “Plus, members of the military will be interacting with other leaders who are interested in international affairs, international deterrence, policy and aspects of defense that SAIS is such an expert in educating.”

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