Building Partner Capacity with Operationally Responsive Space
Air War College -Air University Maxwell AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Observers of the U.S. Department of Defense DoD will note the recent emergence of the terms contested domain or contested environment regarding U.S. operations in space. The phrase space is a contested domain is almost always used in a context meant to evoke thoughts of adversaries actively struggling for superiority in an environment of military utility. This is natural as the appearance of the language occurred after notable recent hostile actions taken against various space assets, which include Iraqs use of Global Positioning System jammers in 2003 the jamming of satellite communications by Iran and Libya in 2003 and 2005, respectively and, most dramatically, the Chinese anti-satellite test in January 2007.1 Although it is natural to focus on the militaristic hard power aspects of a contested space domain, it is equally important to note the presence of an existing soft power contest as well. While the U.S. and Russia accounted for nearly two-thirds of all orbital launches in 2008, the rest of the world has been increasing their share.2 Similarly, most of the nine other largest space-faring nations have increased satellite manufacturing capability at a time when U.S. space manufacturing has seen a fairly steady decline.3 Finally, while ten nations accounted for almost all booster and spacecraft production in 2008, industry experts predict another five could soon emerge.