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First Mover Typology for the Space Domain: Building a Foundation for Future Analysis


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The concept of first mover advantage is used often by military planners without clarification about what it means to move first or what sort of advantage such a first move is expected to provide to the mover. In space, there is often a perceived offense dominance that provides a first mover advantage to an adversary, and senior policymakers have highlighted reducing this advantage as an explicit goal. To help build an understanding of when and whether exploitation of this concept should be considered in a broader military strategy, as well as when an adversary may consider such exploitation, the authors of this report seek to provide more-explicit definitions of what these first moves are and what objectives are sought with each. Furthermore, they seek to provide an explicit definition of advantage that distinguishes between the expected outcome should a mover wait versus the expected outcome should they move first. This foundational typology is intended to be a base for further analysis, and their recommendations reflect the nuanced view required to determine whether engaging in a first move indeed provides an advantage.



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