Space as a Strategic Asset

Space as a Strategic Asset

Joan Johnson-Freese
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/john13654
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  • Book Info
    Space as a Strategic Asset
    Book Description:

    Joan Johnson-Freese argues that the race for space weapons and the U.S. quest for exclusive or at least dominant ownership of strategic space assets have alienated the very allies that the United States needs in order to maintain its leading role in space exploration. Taking a balanced look at the issues that have contributed to the decline of America's manned space program, such as lack of political support and funding, Johnson-Freese offers not only a critique but also a plan for enhancing U.S. space security through cooperation rather than competition.

    She begins with a brief overview of the history of international space development through four eras: before Sputnik, the space race, after Apollo, and globalization. Then she focuses on how policy changes of the mid-1990s have changed the nation, examining why the United States has grown obsessed with the development of space technology not just as a tool for globalization but as a route toward expanding an already dominant arsenal of weapons. Johnson-Freese claims that these policy choices have greatly affected the attitudes and actions of other countries, and in the fight to achieve security, the United States has instead put itself at greater peril.

    Johnson-Freese explains complex technical issues in clear, accessible terms and suggests a way forward that is comprehensive rather than partisan. America is not the only country with space ambitions, but it is unique in viewing space as a battlefield and the technological advancements of other nations as a dire threat. Urgent and persuasive, Space as a Strategic Asset underscores the danger of allowing our space program to languish and the crucial role of cooperation in protecting the security of our country and the world.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-51001-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology, General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. ONE A Clash of Ambitions
    (pp. 1-26)

    Between October 2003 and October 2004, four space-related events occurred with varying degrees of public and media notice, ranging from none to modest. First, on October 15, 2003, China successfully orbited its first astronaut, or taikonaut,¹ in the Shenzhou V capsule,² joining the United States and Russia in the exclusive club of countries capable of manned spaceflight. Later that month, on October 30, China and the European Union (EU) signed an agreement making China a stakeholder in the European Union’s Galileo navigation satellite program, which is likely to rival the capabilities of the U.S. global positioning system (GPS). Navigation satellites...

  6. TWO The Conundrum of Dual-Use Technology
    (pp. 27-50)

    A scientist from the National Weather Service tells a story of going before a congressional committee to request funding for a new weather satellite. He explained what new capabilities the satellite would offer, who it would serve, and what it would replace. When he finished, the committee chairman, in a rumpled suit and country-boy accent, leaned forward and replied in a tone dripping with misgiving, “Now sir, I know you and your scientist friends would like a new satellite—and I’d like to be able to give it to you—but I really can’t justify it. After all, we already...

  7. THREE From Apollo to Where?
    (pp. 51-81)

    Name three of the Apollo astronauts. Now, name three current astronauts. Naming the Apollo astronauts was likely easier. The Apollo program, which culminated with the United States successfully sending twelve men to the moon and safely returning them to earth between 1969 and 1972, represents a glorious part of American history. Neil Armstrong was the first person to step off planet earth and onto another celestial body. That event was not only a shining moment for Americans, but a spiritual moment for all mankind.

    Nonetheless, by the time Armstrong walked on the moon, funding for the Apollo program was already...

  8. FOUR The Militarization of Space
    (pp. 82-105)

    The U.S. military demonstrated its powerful combat abilities during the first Gulf War, the wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan, and the twenty-one-day march to Baghdad in April 2003. At more than $439 billion for fiscal year 2007, the U.S. defense budget is larger than the combined defense budgets of the next twenty top defense-spending countries. The military has replaced what is known as threat-based planning—planning for specific military threats from clearly identifiable enemies—with capabilities-based planning. The latter is intended to provide the capacity to defeat any conceivable attack, any time, anywhere. In effect, it prepares the United States...

  9. FIVE The Weaponization of Space
    (pp. 106-140)

    When the Air Force announced in 1988 that it would regard space as a mission and not just a place, it reversed decades of tradition and doctrine.¹ Initially, space support and force enhancement were the missions associated with space, neither of them particularly controversial. Space would provide assistance to ground- and air-based warfighters. When space control and force application were added as missions in 1996, however, the Air Force began considering the potential for space as a battlespace arena, creating both the potential for expanding Air Force turf and capabilities and increasing funding to accomplish the latter and a plethora...

  10. SIX The Politicization of the U.S. Aerospace Industry
    (pp. 141-168)

    The space technology on which the U.S. military has become so dependent, and is so enamored with, is built by an increasingly small number of American aerospace companies. These companies have long led the global aerospace-industry sector in both technical know-how and sales. A healthy aerospace sector is a requirement for all the missions that the military wants to accomplish in space. Yet at least one part of the sector, communication satellites, has been the victim of the fallout generated from a government investigation in the late 1990s, largely influenced if not driven by politics—to the detriment of U.S....

  11. SEVEN The Ambitions of Europe
    (pp. 169-196)

    All countries use space in some way, but far fewer are really space players. Among the developed countries, the primary space actors are European countries—both individually and collectively through the European Space Agency and activities of the European Union—Russia, Japan, and Canada. Russia is still a major player, if only because of its legacy. Today, scarce government resources have pushed the Russian space program into being perhaps the most entrepreneurial in the world, often to the dismay of Washington. In addition to national programs, European countries adopted a “hang together or hang separately” attitude in the 1960s that...

  12. EIGHT The Ambitions of China
    (pp. 197-232)

    In November 2000, the Information Office of the State Council issued the first Chinese white paper on space: “China’s Space Activities.”¹ The technical milestones it laid down were impressive, and the language was assertive. It reminded readers that China invented gunpowder, the “embryo of modern space rockets.” China wants to regain a place of distinction in a field it sees itself as having initiated and once dominated. In that way, China’s space ambitions are unique. In others, however, they represent the high end of ambitions of many developing countries. The latest Chinese white paper on space was issued in October...

  13. NINE Avoiding a Clash of Ambitions: Toward a Comprehensive U.S. Space Strategy
    (pp. 233-258)

    Much of the American public views space as an interesting museum exhibit, and Congress largely ignores it unless constituents’ jobs in their district are at stake. Yet space has become an integral part of everyday life, not only for those in the United States, but for individuals all over the world. Space-based commercial navigation capabilities have evolved into a global utility; though they are currently available only through the GPS, other providers are likely to appear in the future. People will not be denied—or even take the risk of being denied—the services that these navigation satellites provide. The...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 259-286)
  15. Index
    (pp. 287-304)