The Status of U.S. Space-Based Defense
What are the Principles and Goals in Relation to Space-based Defense and National Security?
The United States has policies in place for exploration, development, and possible uses of space-based defense to protect the countries interests and properties. In the most recent space policy directive, the U.S. has outlined some principles, goals, and national security guidelines on the use of space including space-based defense.
There are seven principles pertaining to overall space policy which touch on issues related to national security.
1. The U.S. is committed to the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes and the expanding of freedom. This principle does allow for space-based defense that is in the national interest of the country.
2. The U.S. rejects claims of sovereignty over space and the right to operate freely in space.
3. The U.S. desires to partake in international cooperation in how space is used for peaceful means. This includes ways that promote U.S. ideals such as free enterprise and democratic government systems.
4. The U.S. recognizes the right for other countries to use space for passage.
5. The U.S. seeks to keep the right to use space to protect freedom, including protecting its space capabilities and preventing hostile nations from using space to harm U.S. interests.
6. The U.S. strongly opposes new legal regimes that will seek to stop or limit its access to or use of space.
7. The U.S. supports the expansion and development of the commercial space sector.
Following up the principles, there are five goals which are fairly descriptive in relation to national security.
1. Strengthening U.S. leadership in space, including the availability of space capabilities and space-based defense for national security purposes.
2. Enabling unhindered U.S. operations in space including space-based defense systems to defend the nation against hostile actions.
3. Enabling a robust commercial space sector that contributes to national security and space-based defense systems.
4. Maintaining a strong science and technology core for space operations including space-based defenses.
5. Encouraging international cooperation in space-based activities that promote national security.
Why are Space-based Defenses Necessary for America's National Security?
Space is being used today for defense purposes. The use of satellites to provide troops with vital field information protects lives and contributes tremendously to successes on the battlefield. There seems to be a cry against the weaponization of space, but it is already being used for these purposes. Intercontinental ballistic missiles use space to deliver their warheads. Satellites are used by military forces around the world to gather intelligence, guide missiles, and provide logistical information.
The world has 20 countries with nuclear weapons technology. When these nuclear warheads are placed into ballistic missiles, they use space for the delivery. For the national security of the United States, it is necessary to explore, design, and develop many types of space-based defense systems to eliminate the threat of nuclear missiles detonating over U.S. soil. Space-based missile defense systems are one key element to providing a missile shield over the U.S. and its allies against a rogue nuclear missile attack. Other missile defense systems such as sea and land-based installations need to continually be deployed around the globe to stop a missile in the first or second stage of its flight. Space-based defense systems should be considered the last effort at stopping a nuclear missile in flight before detonation.
For more on the Space Policy Directive and how it ties to the national security of the United States, read the article Discover why this issue of space-based defense is so vital to the nation's security right now and well into the future.