The Blog

Re: "Only Power Can Protect Peace"

6:31 PM, Nov 2, 2009 • By JOHN NOONAN
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

Goldfarb notes that the Chinese are eyeing space supremacy in the same manner that the US and Soviet Union eyed air supremacy post-WWII. China's determination to militarize space has been evident since they shot down an aging satellite in 2007, or at least evident to everyone except President Obama, who has already cut billions of dollars worth of military space systems.

The president pledged during the campaign not to weaponize space. That's a noble enough goal, but he's using it as a pretext to cut defensive space systems in general. Space defense isn't simple enough to be broken down into "weaponized space" or "peaceful space." Space superiority is broken down into three strategic concepts: offensive counterspace, defensive counterspace, and space situational awareness. Obama is obviously referring to offensive doctrines, but what has he done to secure our satellite fleets against foreign threats, i.e defensive counterspace?

There's a myriad of peaceful options at the president's disposal: disperse military communication satellites into a large fleet of triple-redundant birds, build satellites with ASAT detection capabilities and emergency maneuverability options, and -- in one of the cooler proposals I've heard -- convert our old MX missile force into an emergency satellite booster force, able to put a replacement bird in orbit in hours. Unfortunately, like most other 21st century threats, space just isn't something the White House is treating with the proper level of respect (or resourcing).

Unfortunately, this only provides our adversaries with greater incentive to invest their own, more limited resources in the fight for space supremacy.