Safe Heavens. Military Strategy and Space Sanctuary Thought,
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIRPOWER STUDIES
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National leaders are debating the merits of American weapons in space. A decision to operationally deploy such weapons would reverse the United Statess long-standing commitment to space as a sanctuary. That sanctuary-the idea that space should remain relatively unthreatened by weapons-has been challenged in the past but for the most part still exists today. Further weaponizing space, though, could change that and introduces important issues. The political, military, social, economic, and diplomatic ramifications of American space weapons demand that strategists carefully consider all sides of this critical debate. Current defense literature, however, indicates analysts and leaders have been slow to develop the arguments supporting a space sanctuary. This omission could undermine the military communitys appreciation for all aspects of both problem and solution. In turn the quality of the space strategy eventually pursued might suffer. This study attempts to understand the argument against weapons in space. It asks the question Could pursuing a space sanctuary policy in the immediate future benefit the national interest This study answers the question by articulating the strongest possible argument for a space sanctuary strategy today. That argument asserts that America has historically benefited from sanctuary space policies since the 195Os. Recognizing that history is rarely perfectly prescriptive, however, the argument goes on to challenge the fundamental convictions of todays space weapon proponents as well. Contemporary evidence is used to assert that the United States can reduce its potential vulnerabilities in space without weaponizing. Evidence is introduced to show that other nations pose no real threat to American security in space today. Finally, the sanctuary argument is extended to propose that deferring development of space weapons, for now, serves national interests in the diplomatic, military, economic, and domestic arenas.
- Space Warfare