Ensuring a Stable Space Domain for the 21st Century
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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For the past decade and a half, we have struggled to understand the meaning of space power, space superiority, and space dominance. Why is this With a half century of space experience, why is it so challenging to understand these terms What impact have these terms had on space activities And as we increasingly depend upon orbiting spacecraft for national security and global prosperity, how can we help ensure stability for the space domain These fundamental questions came to the fore during our work on the Quadrennial Defense Review QDR. During the QDR, we observed the different views and priorities advocated by the various communities who have equities in space. To help come to terms with these questions and views, we asked the National Defense University to craft a space power theory that would be comparable to the theories that exist for other domains, for example, sea power. This is not the first time the U.S. Government has commissioned a space power theory study. The first study was chartered in the late 1990s, soon after the Air Force transitioned its doctrinal lexicon from roles, missions, and functions to one described by core competencies. That transition has taken us on a long journey, one in which we have struggled to understand what space power and space superiority--within the boundaries established by the Outer Space Treaty--mean for our nation. To help guide the contemporary work on a space power theory, we asked the study to focus on the underlying assumptions regarding why and how we as a society, nation, and military might use space to accomplish specific ends. We asked for a theory that addresses space power across the broad range of objectives that any space-faring state or nonstate actor may want to pursue and that explains the role of space in advancing national security objectives. And we asked for a theoretical framework to help judge the logic, significance, balance, and implications of space activities.