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Monday, June 20, 2005

The Other Side Of Space

I was gonna post regarding world's first solar-sail-powered spacecraft, which launches June 21, but The Liberal Avenger beat me to it.

So Instead let's take a look at the other side of space with some excerpts from...

Weapons In Space: Dawn of a New Era

The White House is now delving into U.S. military space policy and what it sees as the need to reshape current national space policy, a leftover legacy document from the Clinton Administration.

Clinton’s unclassified National Space Policy was issued in September 1996. Among its proclamations: "Consistent with treaty obligations, the United States will develop, operate and maintain space control capabilities to ensure freedom of action in space and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries. These capabilities may also be enhanced by diplomatic, legal or military measures to preclude an adversary's hostile use of space systems and services."

In a June 10 press briefing, White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, explained that the national space policy has been "undergoing an interagency review" because it hasn’t been updated in several years.

McClellan said that "we’ve seen a lot of dramatic changes, internationally and domestically, that affect our space policy. And that’s why it needs to be updated."

"But we believe in the peaceful exploration of space," McClellan continued. "And there are treaties in place, and we continue to abide by those treaties. But there are issues that relate to our space program that could affect those space programs that we need to make sure are addressed."


What the White House will spin up and out as new military space policy, nobody knows for sure. But already there’s heated debate.


Theresa Hitchens, Vice President of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C. is skeptical about what’s in the offing from White House space policy wonks. Contrasted with the Clinton space policy, she feels it’s a question of emphasis.

The Bush policy will embrace a need to bolster U.S. military space, Hitchens predicted. It will provide a stronger incentive for military space operations to "ensure freedom of action in space" and for "space protection," she explained.

"The new policy will be more military-oriented, rather than the heavily civil-oriented predecessor," Hitchens suggested. What’s ahead is a shift of terminology, she added, a "playing with the words."

As example, the term "freedom of action in space" is now a code phrase for "freedom to attack as well as freedom from attack," Hitchens emphasized, drawing the distinction from recently issued U.S. Air Force Counterspace Operations Doctrine.

Read the all of it here...