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National Security Space Strategy targets Safety, Stability
The National Security Space
Strategy released today responds to the realities of a space
environment that is increasingly crowded, challenging and competitive,
said senior Defense Department officials.
“The National Security Space Strategy represents a significant
departure from past practice,” Defense Secretary Robert
M. Gates said in a DOD news release issued today. “It is
a pragmatic approach to maintain the advantages we derive from
space while confronting the new challenges we face.”
Ambassador Gregory L. Schulte, the deputy secretary of defense
for space policy, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces
Press Service that this is the first national security space
strategy co-signed by the secretary of defense and the director
of national intelligence.
“Space has changed in fundamental ways, and that requires
us to change our strategy,” Schulte said. Gates and Director
of National Intelligence James R. Clapper “have signed
a document that shows the new directions we need to go,” he
The 10-year strategy concludes the congressionally mandated
Space Posture Review by providing strategic objectives and approaches
for national security space.
The Defense Department and the intelligence community submitted
an interim report to Congress in March that delayed a review
of national security space policy and objectives until after
the release of the U.S. National Space Policy in June.
Perhaps the strategy’s most important message, Schulte
said, “is that we have to think differently about how we
operate in space.”
For example, he said, “we have to think about how to encourage
other countries to act responsibly in space and how the United
States can provide leadership in that regard.
“Secondly,” he added, “we have to think about
how we can better leverage the growing amount of foreign commercial
capabilities that are now in space. And third, we need to think
differently about how to deter others from attacking our space
As in the past, he said, the Defense Department must protect
space capabilities to protect the warfighter, whether it’s
communications, surveillance or global positioning.
“It’s space that allows our soldiers to see over
the next hill,” Schulte said. “It’s space that
allows us to communicate quickly. It’s space that allows
us to see whether hostile missiles are launched, so we need to
preserve that capability.
“Our goal is to make the peaceful use of space available
to all countries,” he added, noting that the peaceful use
of space includes support for critical defense capabilities.
“Space becomes critical to everything we do, and that’s
why we’re worried that the environment is increasingly
challenging,” Schulte said. “You have more debris
in space and you have countries that are developing counterspace
capabilities that can be used against us. That’s why this
strategy emphasizes the need to protect our capabilities, protect
our industrial base and protect the space domain itself.”
U.S. Strategic Command officials at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.,
are working with other countries and commercial firms to increase
situational awareness in space.
“Stratcom was once in charge of delivering nuclear weapons,” Schulte
said. “Stratcom is now also delivering warnings of potential
collisions in space to any variety of countries because we have
an interest in preventing more collisions and more debris.”
The military also must begin to consider operating in coalitions
in space, he said.
“In just about every other domain -- at sea, in the air,
on the ground -- we operate with allies and partners. There are
good reasons to do it,” Schulte said.
Potential partners include members of NATO, whose new 10-year
strategic concept issued last year “acknowledged for the
first time that access to space is something you can’t
take for granted,” he said.
The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif., is a focal point for the operational use of worldwide
U.S. space forces, Schulte said, and it allows the commander
of Stratcom’s joint functional component command for space
to integrate space power into global military operations.
“We would like to make that into a [combined center],” Schulte
said, “where we bring in our closest allies and eventually
others, so that like in other domains, we can conduct combined
The 10-year National Security Space Strategy will require at
least that long to implement, he said.
“You will see some early indications of it in the president’s
budget for 2012, and you will see more in his budget for 2013,
but ultimately what we’re trying to do is affect programs
of the services, particularly the Air Force, over the longer
term,” Schulte said. “We’re trying to affect
how we train, we’re trying to affect how we plan, and we’re
trying to affect the diplomacy we conduct with the Department
of State. So I think you’ll see [the strategy] roll out
in many different ways. In fact, you’re already seeing
elements of it.”
On Jan. 6, Gates announced that he would use some of the efficiency
savings Air Force officials identified to invest in the U.S.
launch capability to help in protecting the industrial base,
Defense Department officials are working Australia on sharing
of space situational awareness and are talking to the commercial
sector about how DOD can host payloads on their satellites, he
said. “And we’re looking for a whole range of activities
to implement the new strategy in a budget-constrained environment,” he
Schulte said to get DOD organized for space, Deputy Defense
Secretary William J. Lynn III created the Space Defense Council,
to be chaired by Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley.
“The secretary and the deputy have entrusted to Secretary
Donley the role of moving forward with our strategy,” he
said, “and the Defense Space Council provides a forum to
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