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US unveils National Security Space Strategy

US: The US Defense Department rolled out National Security Space Strategy (NSSS). The new NSSS is aimed at making the United States “more resilient” and capable of protecting its holdings in an increasingly trafficked and at times antagonistic setting, said Deputy Defense Secretary Gregory Schulte.

According to NSSS unclassified summary, released by the US Department of Defence (USDOD), the current and future strategic environment is driven by three trends – space is becoming increasingly congested, contested and competitive. Strategic objectives include:
– Strengthen safety, stability and security in space;
– Maintain and enhance the strategic national security advantages afforded to the United States by space; and
– Energise the space industrial base that supports US national security.

To achieve these objectives, the US vows to pursue a set of interrelated strategic approaches to meet its national security space objectives:
– Promote responsible, peaceful, and safe use of space;
– Provide improved U.S. space capabilities;
– Partner with responsible nations, international organisations and commercial firms;
– Prevent and deter aggression against space infrastructure that supports US national security; and
– Prepare to defeat attacks and to operate in a degraded environment.

The strategy seeks to address this new environment through its set of interrelated approaches:
– The US seeks to address congestion by establishing norms, enhancing space situational awareness, and fostering greater transparency and information sharing. Its words and deeds should reassure its allies and the world at large of its intent to act peacefully and responsibly in space and encourage others to do the same.
– The US seeks to address the contested environment with a multilayered deterrence approach. It will support establishing international norms and transparency and confidence-building measures in space, primarily to promote spaceflight safety but also to dissuade and impose international costs on aggressive behaviour. It will improve and protect vital US space capabilities while using interoperability, compatibility and integration to create coalitions and alliances of responsible space-faring nations. It will improve its capability to attribute attacks and seek to deny meaningful operational benefits from such attacks. It will retain the right and capabilities to respond in self-defence, should deterrence fail.
– The US seeks to address competition by enhancing our own capabilities, improving our acquisition processes, fostering a healthy U.S. industrial base, and strengthening collaboration and cooperation.

According to the press statement, from the US DOD, Obama administration’s fiscal 2012 defence funding request would take into account the first activities for putting the strategy into effect, and the Defense Department would prepare over the next year to make additional updates in future budget cycles.

According to Schulte, space is no longer the preserve of the US and the Soviet , at the time in which we could operate with impunity. “There are more competitors, more countries that are launching satellites and we increasingly have to worry about countries developing counterspace capabilities that can be used against the peaceful use of space,” he said. “China is at the forefront of the development of those capabilities.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates responded to US worries over China’s space programme by working to incorporate space issues in talks with Beijing, he said. Iran and Ethiopia have also moved to develop their clout in space, Schulte added. “They have jammed commercial satellites. If Ethiopia can jam a commercial satellite, you have to worry about what others can do against our military satellites,” the official said.

The new document draws from the US National Security Strategy and National Space Policy, and its completion marked the final step in a Space Posture Review carried out in consultation with partner nations as well as other federal entities, according to a Pentagon press release.

Source: GNS & USDOD