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.


 
 

 

Year in space starts for one American, one Russian

Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m., EDT, March 27. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend about a year living and working aboard the...
 
 
NASA photograph

Orion parachute testing conducted at AEDC NFAC facility

AEDC engineers were part of a test team that performed wind tunnel testing on the parachutes for NASA Orion spacecraft in January. The test team also consisted of NASA, Airborne Systems, Jacobs Engineering and NFAC personnel. P...
 
 

Ninth Boeing GPS IIF reaches orbit, sends first signals

Boeing Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellites are steadily replenishing the orbiting constellation, continuing to improve reliability and accuracy for users around the world. The ninth GPS IIF reached orbit about three hours, 20 minutes after launching today aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and...
 

 
NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph

NASA asteroid hunter spacecraft data available to public

NASA/JPL-Caltech photograph The NEOWISE spacecraft viewed comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) for a second time on January 30, 2015, as the comet passed through the closest point to our sun along its 14,000-year orbit, at a solar distanc...
 
 
NASA and ESA image

NASA’s Hubble, Chandra find clues that may help identify dark matter

NASA and ESA image Here are images of six different galaxy clusters taken with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (blue) and Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) in a study of how dark matter in clusters of galaxies behaves when t...
 
 
SOFIA

SOFIA finds missing link between supernovae, planet formation

NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al SOFIA data reveal warm dust (white) surviving inside a supernova remnant. The SNR Sgr A East cloud is traced in X-rays (blue). Radio emission (red) shows expanding shock waves colliding with surr...
 




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>