Space

September 20, 2013

Official describes evolution of space deterrence

Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

Space is a current and future battleground without terrain, where invisible enemies conceivably could mount undetectable attacks to devastating effect if the right deterrent and defensive plans arenít pursued now, the assistant defense secretary for global strategic affairs told a think tank audience Sept. 17.

Madelyn R. Creedon spoke to a Stimson Center gathering whose audience included analysts focused on the question of deterrence in space. The center released a publication this week titled ìAnti-satellite Weapons, Deterrence and Sino-American Space Relations, presenting a number of essays examining various perspectives on space deterrence.

Creedon noted that in Defense Department parlance, deterrence is ìthe prevention of action by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction and/or the belief that the cost of action outweighs the perceived benefits.î In other words, she said, if deterrence is effective, an adversary has or believes he has more to lose than to gain by attacking.

Deterrence remains a core defense strategy for the United States, she added, and the nationís nuclear deterrent is ìstill alive and well.

Creedon acknowledged that one classic approach to considering space deterrence — that is, preventing potential enemies from attacking U.S. or partner satellites and other military or economic assets in space — is to try to apply lessons learned during the Cold War. Then, the United States and the Soviet Union kept an uneasy diplomatic truce and piled up enough nuclear weapons to guarantee mutually assured destruction.

But one flaw to comparing the two deterrent challenges, she said, is that an attack that disables a satellite, unlike one from a nuclear warhead that flattens a major city, doesnít threaten a nationís existence. Another is that the two superpowers spent decades constructing an elaborate, mirrored, deterrent Cold War architecture and protocols, while space is still, comparatively, ìthe Wild West.

A third is that an attack in space or cyberspace may rely on digital rather than conventional weapons, and so could occur without warning or even detection.

If there is an attack against a space asset, it isnt visible, she said. ìYou canít watch it on CNN, and unless youíre directly affected by the capability that the space assets provide, youíre probably completely oblivious that the attack happened.

She said DOD is developing and implementing what safeguards it can implement in space using four mutually supportive elements to deter others from taking action against U.S. assets:

  • Working to internationalize norms and establish a code of conduct to enhance stability;
  • Building coalitions to enhance security;
  • Adding resilience to U.S. space architectures; and
  • Preparing for an attack on U.S. and allied space assets using defenses ìnot necessarily in space.

We believe this four-element approach will bolster deterrence, Creedon said.

The department is working with the State Department and international partners to define elements of good behavior in space, she said. ìStates must remain committed to enhance the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others to maintain the long-term sustainability, safety, security and stability of the outer-space environment, she added.

Creedon said work is underway to build deterrent coalitions and increase space awareness. She said the Five Eyes nations, which include the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are extending their intelligence cooperation to expand their collective space situational awareness.

The more we all know about whatís going on in space, and the more we can all share with each other about whatís going on in space, [the better we can] we establish a Ö deterrent environment so that no one can do something and get away with it, she said.

The United States is meanwhile working to lower the benefit to potential attackers by employing more satellites, participating in satellite constellations with other countries and purchasing payload space on commercial satellites when feasible.

Creedon said the U.S. approach to space deterrence is similar to its strategy in any domain: take prudent preparations to survive, and to operate through, and, hopefully, prevail in any conflict.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 25, 2014

News: VA reform bills stalled by partisan bickering - Plans for a comprehensive Veterans Affairs Department reform bill that appeared all but finished a month ago devolved into partisan bickering and funding fights July 24, casting doubt on the future of a deal.   Business: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed announce bids on Danish fighter competition; Saab withdraws -...
 
 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Marines investigate corporal who vanished in Iraq U.S. Marine Corp officers are launching a formal investigation into whether a Lebanese-American Marine deserted his unit in Iraq or later after returning to the United States. A spokesman for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune said July 24 that Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun is being...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
lm-kmax

Lockheed Martin’s unmanned cargo helicopter team returns from deployment

After lifting more than 4.5 million pounds of cargo and conducting thousands of delivery missions for the U.S. Marine Corps, the Lockheed Martin and Kaman Aerospace Corporation K-MAX cargo unmanned aircraft system has returned ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>