Examining Space Warfare: Scenarios, Risks, and US Policy Implications   [open pdf - 255KB]

"Militaries plan for contingencies involving space, but few studies have examined the issue with the intent of helping guide policies necessary for shaping military planning. This article takes a practical approach by examining space warfare, beginning with current US political policy and military space doctrine. After examining how the United States intends to fight, the author addresses current fielded capabilities that exist to conduct these battles, both in the United States and in nations considered potential space opponents. Analyzing possible confrontations with space competitors, he concludes that realistic scenarios involving military confrontation in space are extremely limited and, as a corollary, that space weaponization is neither an efficient nor effective way to reduce US vulnerabilities. [...]. The simultaneous rise in the necessity and vulnerability of space assets led the 2001 Space Commission to warn of a potential space 'Pearl harbor'--a warning that confirmed the beliefs of those who seek increased militarization of space, including space-based weapons, to ensure the nation's security. Since that time, others have argued that the deployment of space-based weapons, at best, will lead to a destabilizing space-weapons race and, at worst, will result in the long-term, catastrophic contamination of highly useful regions of the space environment in a truly Pyrrhic defense of national interests. This article contends that the very concept of a space Pearl harbor conflicts with the reality of current space-warfare possibilities and that, contrary to the beliefs of 'space dominance' advocates, it is still possible to maintain space as a sanctuary while protecting US military capabilities."

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Retrieved From:
Air & Space Power Journal: http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/
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Air & Space Power Journal (Spring 2009), v.23 no.1, p. 73-82
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