Space, Commerce, and National Security

January 01, 1999


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Defense and Security

United States


Throughout the past decade, space has become increasingly important to all aspects of American life. The information revolution now transforming both private activity and global commerce depends to a very large extent on communication, remote sensing, and navigation satellites. Likewise, space has become vitally important to the American military. During the 1991 Gulf War, the victorious coalition forces relied heavily upon the “high ground” of space to support land, sea, and air operations. We can expect the same to continue in future conflicts.

The increasing importance of space to both commerce and national security has given rise to two major concerns. The first is the potential vulnerability of American space systems to disruption in the event of conflict. The second is the possibility that future adversaries will try to improve the performance of their forces by developing indigenous space systems or by taking advantage of the widening array of space goods and services available. To guard against these possibilities, some have argued that the U.S. needs to develop a military capability to secure its vital interests in space, while others urge instead that arms control and other cooperative measures are the best means to protect American interests in space.

In this monograph, Military Fellow Colonel Frank Klotz provides a timely and thorough analysis of the emerging debate. With an eye to recent developments and potential future competition regarding the Earth’s orbit, Klotz provides a compelling argument for sustaining U.S. pre-eminence in space in order to promote and protect growing American interests there.