Space has not been a sanctuary for decades

"We can no longer treat space as a refuge."

-Deputy Secretary of the Office of Defense Policy Doug Loverro (2015)

"The incident has transcended the concept of "refuge"."

Finally Addressing the President [1965] on the US Space Program (1993)


Final report of the NSC ad hoc group [National Security Council] [19659005] (1976)

Thousands of missile satellites smashed after China launched missiles in 2007, the international space community broke out. US policy makers and experts pointed out the rapidly rotating debris cloud and announced This event marked a change in the way the United States responded to space. However, in fact, the momentum revealed in 2007 represents an older and deeper tradition in U.S. space policy.

In the past 10 years, There is a consensus that space is a controversial, crowded, and competitive field. Some observers believe that this consensus represents a major recent shift from viewing space as a "sanctuary" without violent conflict. But As I have shown in a newly published report, since the beginning of the space age, policy makers have been worried about protecting American satellites from threats.

Although they initially adopted the policy of using space as a shelter Responded, but by the 1970s, U.S. policy shifted to view space as a controversial policy.

In the public debate, there was a disagreement between the "sanctuary" space policy and the "controversial" space policy. The Refuge Policy aims to legitimize the concept of space conflict through arms control treaties, codes of conduct, and public statements that make attacks on satellites unacceptable. On the other hand, the controversial space policy urges the development of strategies, theories, and offensive and defensive capabilities to protect satellites, and expects that space conflicts are possible or even impossible. The history of this dichotomy is nuanced and often difficult to interpret. Some authorities pursue an asylum policy, but have also developed anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons. Others complement controversial space policies by pursuing space weapon control. But when considering the balance between priorities and trade-offs at the highest level of national policy, it is clear that since 1976, the policy of treating space as a refuge has been rejected.

The United States faces important choices in what to choose. What to do in space today: how to strike a balance between defining space as a combat domain and continuing to work for peace in space; how to organize, train, and equip a force to conquer a shot that has not yet witnessed anger; and how Develop the strategic and social values ​​of space while preventing opponents from using space against the United States. Before making a decision on the next step in US space policy, analysts should understand the choices made in advance. This is especially true when many people argue that US policymakers have made choices and assumptions about space policy in the past, and these choices and assumptions are wrong for today's situation and ignore the possibility of space conflict. There is evidence that policymakers are not as naive as some people think. This means that today’s debates surrounding national security space policy should focus less on whether the U.S. government used space as a refuge, and should focus more on whether it has been successfully implemented. Existing policies. By focusing on the former, policymakers and experts may have been trying to find solutions to the wrong problems. If they accept the latter, it may be easier to spot and deal with other challenges, from the complexity of budgeting and bureaucracy to the assumptions underlying threat assessment and strategic stability vision.

The rise of space reserves was at the beginning of the Cold War

President Dwight D. Eisenhower deliberately chose a policy of treating space as a sanctuary. At the time, he believed that strategic reconnaissance satellites were the most important space application because he believed it was essential to comply with the Soviet nuclear weapons program and prevent surprise attacks on the United States. Not everyone agrees. Air Force leaders believe that space should be regarded as a field of warfare and weapon systems should be developed to deter and defend against attacks on satellites. Despite several ASAT projects, Eisenhower and his National Security Council generally rejected these requests because they believed that the controversial space method was risky, escalating, and expensive. They ignored the generals’ recommendations and chose an asylum policy with the aim of establishing an international framework that, politically-according to the Eisenhower administration, "psychologically" protect the reconnaissance satellites from attack. The government shifted the space program from military service to civil administration and prioritized diplomacy over technical solutions for space security.

The Democratic and Republican presidents following Eisenhower maintained the space asylum policy. Although the Department of Defense continues to develop anti-satellite systems, anti-satellite systems have been given a low priority relative to negotiations on the peaceful use of outer space and arms control involving space technology. Under the leadership of President John F. Kennedy, the United States promoted the definition of "peace" as the opposite of "radical" rather than the opposite of "military" in order to include reconnaissance satellites in protected "peaceful use" space . President Lyndon B. Johnson did this by codifying similar language in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The administration of President Richard Nixon used the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (Ballistic) to sign a legal agreement prohibiting interference with national technology verification methods, a euphemism for reconnaissance satellites. Although these government officials are increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of satellites and the Soviet Union’s threat to ASAT, policymakers have decided that US space weapons may undermine the highest priority arms control efforts, thus keeping the ASAT program quiet and limited.

The long-term decline of the sanctuary and the dominance of the controversial space policy

This balance began to change when the Soviet Union conducted a series of accelerated ASAT tests in the middle of the 1970s that triggered the sanctuary The fall of China and the rise of policies that treat space as a controversial area. In a series of memos in 1976, National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and his staff called for reconsideration of national security space policy, publicly rejected the option of "using space [ing] as a refuge," and demanded Gerald · President Ford directed him to complete the creation of a non-nuclear anti-satellite capability in January 1977.

President Jimmy Carter tried to use the ASAT program to return to the asylum policy through space arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. But when the negotiations broke down, Carter eventually continued his controversial space policy by focusing on reducing the vulnerability of satellites and purchasing ASAT weapons (even if they were not used as an excuse for bargaining).

The controversial space policy was publicly announced under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan. He publicly advocated the space-based missile defense system in accordance with the strategic defense plan, established the Air Force Space Command and the first U.S. Space Command, and tested ASAT weapons by destroying satellites in orbit (the tests were conducted under Ford’s leadership. ). Since Reagan administration officials claimed that the United States needed to protect the freedom of movement of American assets in space and denied this freedom of movement to the enemy, the term "space control" became a way to implement the controversial space policy because asylum refused Shelter. The former Soviet Union. Although Congress strongly opposed the asylum policy, the policy still exists. Capitol Hill restricted funding for the space control program and effectively banned further testing of the ASAT program in December 1985.

In the post-Cold War period, controversial space policies continued to exist, even if the United States had no obvious space challengers. Although marked as a revolutionary moment in military space, often referred to as the "first space war," the continuity of the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) went far beyond changing space policy. However, senior policymakers in the 1990s believed that the war proved that the space shelter had been "replaced by events." This is one of the paradoxes in the history of U.S. space policy: events that are frequently cited repeatedly represent major changes in the space environment and are used time and time again to justify the same policies that have existed before.

The government's President Bill Clinton's speech runs counter to the radical public rhetoric of the Reagan administration's controversial policies, and it looks like the asylum policy may make a comeback. However, the official policy of treating space as a controversial area and pursuing space control still exists. Although the government has cut funding for some space weapons programs, it has also excluded space from the pursuit of arms control. Officials have argued that arms control should not be allowed to interfere with space control objectives until the balance of diplomatic versus weaponization in the age of refuge is upended. The Clinton administration turned to focus on the development of temporary and reversible space control methods, recognizing that debris from destructive ASAT satellites could pose a threat to US satellites.

Under the advocacy of the George W. Bush administration, the controversial space policy was accelerated, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who just served as chairman of the Rumsfeld Committee. Concerns raised by the "Space Pearl Harbor" committee spread among decision makers, and many in the Air Force paid more attention to the language and policies of competition for space. The Air Force redesignated several units as "Space Control Squadrons" and deployed an anti-communication system for electronic warfare. This is today the first and only publicly approved offensive weapon in the US Air Force. Numerous Air Force personnel led by the Air Force Space Command. Lance Lord (Lance Lord) published a series of public articles condemning the designation of refuge as a space policy.

The fifteen years since the disintegration of the Soviet Union is often described as a period in which policymakers withdrew from competition for space due to lack of threats and limited resources. However, the main documents show that decision makers continue to express concerns about the asymmetry and vulnerability of space, while demanding that space control be incorporated into plans, strategies and plans. Even though the controversial space policy does not always infiltrate the resources and plans that supporters hope, the official policy itself has been persisted through the Democratic and Republican governments before and after the Cold War. This persistence is likely due to the dependence of the US military on communications, navigation and reconnaissance satellites, forcing policymakers to regard the vulnerability of satellites as a national security risk worthy of policy recognition.

Today’s controversial space serves as a summary of past policies.

In 2007, China tested the ASAT weapon that rose directly. In the months and years since then, U.S. space security leaders and policymakers have almost unanimously agreed on the controversial space policy. However, as before, from a policy perspective, the oral use of ASAT tests and other space threats from Russia, China, and other countries to justify controversial space policies is more important than change. Just like the ASAT test in 1976 and the Gulf War in 1991, the ASAT test in 2007 is often cited to prove the asymmetry and fragility in space and the need to protect American satellites.

This provided new highlights for Barack’s space policy in the Obama and Donald Trump administrations. The 2011 National Security Space Strategy helped popularize the term "crowding, contention, and competition." The rebuilding of the U.S. Space Command in 2019 and the authorization of the U.S. Space Force publicly emphasized that space is a field of operations. However, these recent changes reflect more changes in public discussion and policy implementation than a revolution in the policy itself. Although many official documents and congressional testimony believe that space is no longer a sanctuary, American policymakers have rejected asylum as a policy long before the end of asylum became a popular discussion.

Although the United States has always pursued a policy regarding controversial space, many people believe that the US national security space enterprise should now "transform" from a sanctuary to a controversial policy. In most cases, the core of these calls is not to require new policies, but to take different actions, especially requiring higher resource priorities and adopting more defensive and even more aggressive space methods. To defend these changes, advocates believe that the United States is at best naive or even ignorant in the field of space. However, many previously classified policy documents now show that policymakers have seen space as a site of conflict, rather than as a site far from the reality of war.

Looking forward to the future

For several years, US space policy makers have been fighting for space as a solution to the survivability of satellites. Until analysts and policymakers recognize the continuity of U.S. space policy for decades, they will not be able to determine which changes are significant and which are just new packaging of old ideas. US space companies can implement controversial space policies in a variety of ways, some of which have been tried before. No matter what decision makers decide, they should look to the past to help the present.

Robin Dickey is an associate member of the technical staff of the Aerospace Corporation’s Space Policy and Strategy Center, dedicated to national security space. Her previous experience includes risk analysis, legislative affairs and international development. She received a bachelor's and master's degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Picture: US Space Force (Photo by Van Ha)

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