Nuclear Attack on U.S. Space-Based Assets: Current Strategy, Policy, Reality, and Implications for the Future.
Master's thesis 3 Aug 97-5 Jun 98,
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
This study examines what changes need to be made in U.S. strategy, policy, and programs in order to prevent a nuclear attack on its space-based assets. The study was inspired by an event, which occurred during the Army After Next Winter Wargame conducted at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in the winter of 1997. Although this attack took place in a wargame set in the year 2020, the threat is relevant today. As the proliferation of nuclear weapons continues, the possibility of a rogue nation using a nuclear weapon as what has been called the cheapest form of ASAT Anti-satellite Weapon is a contingency that the political and military leaders of the U.S. cannot dismiss. This study will review the technical aspects of the use of nuclear weapons in space, deterrence, strategy, and policy issues that affect such an attack. Finally, this thesis will identify the gaps in U.S. strategy and policy and demonstrate how these same gaps potentially leave the U.S. vulnerable to this form of attack in the present time frame. It concludes that the nation cannot currently prevent a nuclear attack on its space-based assets, the best it can achieve is to attempt to deter such an attack and limit the effects should deterrence fail. It proposes what is needed to augment the mission of space.
- Antisatellite Defense Systems