July 3, 2018

568 Balls in the Air: Planning for the Loss of Space Capabilities

This article explores the integration of space capabilities and explains the strategic, operational and tactical risks the U.S. military has assumed as a result. The authors recommend that joint warfighters of the future begin to prepare now, with continuity plans when space is denied, degraded or disrupted. Failure to consider such risk factors could lead to severe degradation of U.S. military capability with disastrous results. Measured in terms of lives lost, such a failure would be reminiscent of wars fought in the pre-digital age. However, losses on this scale are simply unacceptable, especially when this risk can be mitigated.

Feb. 1, 2018

Low-Cost Access to Space: Military Opportunities and Challenges

Space activity is critical to the American way of war. The commercialization of space has potentially radical implications for U.S. national security through its impact on a range of military and intelligence functions and on the ability of the nation to effectively project power around the globe.

Oct. 1, 2017

The Role of Space Norms in Protection and Defense

Over the past decade, the United States has participated in a variety of activities intended to shape international norms for outer space activities. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a norm as “That which is a model or a pattern; a type, a standard.” In the outer space context, norms have come to mean both “top down” high-level principles intended to inform the development of new international legal regimes and “bottom up” best practice guidelines intended to inform day-to-day operations.1 Both types of space norms have their value, but the latter have received the most attention in recent years because of their potential to enhance space safety and sustainability as the number of space actors grows and the nature of space activities changes. Much as roadway traffic rules prevent accidents and reduce congestion, safety-focused “space traffic management” norms, such as limiting debris, avoiding collisions, and sharing space surveillance information, can reduce the likelihood of accidents and protect valuable orbital regimes from the deleterious effects of long-lived space debris. All who operate in space will benefit from a more safe, predictable, and efficient operating environment.

July 1, 2014

Defining and Regulating the Weaponization of Space

The weaponization of space can be partially controlled by a trustworthy and empowered standing committee, perhaps under the United Nations, aided by the economic deterrence and enforcement capacity found in the World Trade Organization. With these bodies in place, compliance with international norms is not exclusively a matter of diplomacy.

Feb. 1, 2012

Space and the Joint Fight

The world first saw the power of space to transform warfare in the 1991 Gulf War. In the years since, the U.S. military has come to depend heavily on space throughout its peacetime and combat operations. Satellites acquired by the Department of Defense (DOD) principally provide protected communications; data for position and timing, terrestrial and space weather, missile launch warning and tracking, and space situational awareness; and experiments and other research and development activities. Satellites for reconnaissance and surveillance are the domain of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

April 1, 2004

Responsive Space and Strategic Information

American strategists face a daunting challenge; they must assure and defend American and allied interests, induce and encourage international security cooperation, and deter, dissuade, and defeat a diverse range of potential adversaries. This challenge has been addressed by senior political leadership in recent policy statements, such as the Nuclear Posture Review of 2002, and in the formation of an expanded U.S. Strategic Command, but this vision has not yet taken root in the Department of Defense components responsible for providing operational capability.