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Taking the Initiative-Protecting US Interests in Space

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The US dependence on space has continued to grow in military, intelligence, and commercial circles, and the market for space services has grown commensurate with this demand the world community, to include both our allies and potential adversaries, has noted this dependence. Due to US interest in the services provided by satellites, various initiatives to protect space systems have been given significant attention over the past decade, but have lacked a consistent vision and have not always fared well when competing for limited budget resources. This paper will briefly discuss the threat posed to US space systems, review stakeholder equities, explore the schools of thought regarding defense of space assets, pose possible solutions, and culminate in a recommendation for a way ahead to protect US space equities. The 2001 Report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization stated that the United States is an attractive candidate for a Space Pearl Harbor, and cited several vulnerabilities, to include satellite malfunctions, ground station equipment failures, hackers, and the threat posed by Chinese anti-satellite efforts. Nine years later in 2010, the National Space Policy of the United States of America NSP reiterated several principles seen in the 2006 NSP, including one which states that the United States will employ a variety of measures to help assure the use of space for all responsible parties, and deter others from interference and attack. While certainly an important goal, this is a complex and multi-faceted task with several hurdles impeding its realization, including assignment of a party responsible for space protection and surveillance, establishment of a US strategy for space control, and development of a comprehensive operational space picture that provides sufficient granularity to deter or respond to an attack.

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Technical Report



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