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National Security Space Policy in the U.S. and Europe. Trends and Choices

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Since the end of the Cold War, the availability of new technologies and changes in the national security environment have raised the possibility of substantial new demand for military space systems. Trends in technology, military operations, politics, and economics highlight several possible trajectories for national security space policy. Decisionmakers in the United States and in Europe are preparing today to make key choices about military doctrine, resource investments, and the policy goals that leaders hope to achieve using military operations that rely on space assets. The wish-list for new space systems includes improved intelligence-gathering satellites, navigation satellites to enable precision strike against fixed and mobile targets, and communications satellites to allow decentralized forces to share access to information and coordinate operations in a complex environment. Both the U.S. and European governments may find it useful to cooperate on national security space policy. Forming coalitions for military action should have substantial political and financial benefits, but recent attempts at cooperative operations have been hampered by the failure to coordinate equipment investments in the past. In addition to the well-publicized lack of communications interoperability, coalition forces also discovered that they had a surplus of some types of equipment while other low density, high demand systems were unavailable. The economic needs of the space industry also play an important role in the future trajectory of national security space policy. Space systems contractors are losing money in the wake of their fixed investment in capacity in the expansive 1990s. Trans-Atlantic coordination among government buyers might reduce the risk of future overcapacity, if coordination helps to eliminate redundancy among programs.

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  • Astronautics
  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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