News | April 1, 2004

Responsive Space and Strategic Information

By Simon P. Worden and Randall R. Correll Defense Horizons 40


Responsive Space and Strategic InformationOverview

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. 

We propose a new strategic posture based upon a war-prevention focus. The central element of our proposal is a transformational space and information sortie capability. American space capabilities now depend on a fixed infrastructure of large, expensive satellites. We argue for a complementary capability to launch small, inexpensive payloads in time of crisis to augment and reconstitute existing capabilities and perform entirely new special operation missions and global conventional strikes through space. These assets also would expand information operations beyond network defense and network attack to create effects in the minds of our adversaries and those who would support them. 

An enabler for these new capabilities will be the technology to deliver effects in and through space rapidly and affordably. A similar capability will be needed to deliver effects through cyber space. Space-based nodes would be critical components of an integrated physical, cyber, and psychological application of military force and strategic influence. These technologies exist today both in the United States and elsewhere. But a focused and funded program to develop them for military purposes is not yet in place. 

This new strategic posture will arguably require the formation of a new space and information military service to organize, train, and equip the space and information force structure of the future. The nucleus of such a new service exists today in the U.S. Strategic Command and its components.