How the US policy to defend space is holding back innovation and terrorizing political rivals

The first ever U.S. policy that directly addresses the challenges posed by the emerging threat of hostile foreign activities in space was published by the Department of Defense (DoD) today. The policy will provide the high-level guidance for all U.S. government efforts to counter hostile foreign activity to include defense activities in outer space and the “space domain” as it develops, articulates, and implements a national space strategy.

The new policy clarifies that the U.S. will cooperate in space where feasible with other nations (such as Russia and China), but will enforce peaceful and free use of space to prevent unwanted and hostile foreign activity that goes beyond actions allowed under international law.

The policy defines hostile activities in space and establishes new requirements for the military space enterprise to report and respond to them. The policy is built on Secretary Mattis’ hard-earned belief that if U.S. leaders do not develop a fully aligned strategy to maintain space superiority, the U.S. will lose it.

Informal bilateral commitments by our allies

The new policy expands on the broadly recognized “first-use doctrine” to reinforce a “common understanding that the United States reserves the right to exercise a first-use right over outer space.” This is an important change to U.S. policy, since it helps ensure our allies are aware of U.S. first-use policy and are encouraged to work to achieve parity with U.S. treaty allies.

Strengthening the capability to detect, respond to, and defend against hostile activities in space

This policy includes new requirements for the military space enterprise to report and respond to hostile activity to include a new Space Defense Initiative to “specifically establish ways to deter, detect, defend against, and recover from hostile space activities.”

Protecting civil space assets

The new policy clarifies U.S. support for civilian space activities including NOAA satellite activities and continued regulatory oversight of commercial commercial communications in space.

Additionally, the military space enterprise will coordinate its future Space Management Architecture to advance the national space mission, including the establishment of a coordinate center for military space situational awareness and programs to improve and synchronize space situational awareness capabilities for defense, civil, and commercial satellite navigation and communications. The current constellation of Space-Based Infrared Countermeasures (SBIRM) and an existing Commercial Measuring Station (CMS) in Colorado will be reassigned as the National Center for Space Surveillance and Tracking to do all this.

Read the full policy:

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