Recent U.S. space policy initiatives underscore the far-reaching benefits of commercial space activities. The White House revived the National Space Council to foster closer coordination, cooperation, and exchange of technology and information among the civil, national security, and commercial space sectors.
National Space Policy Directive 2 seeks to promote economic growth by streamlining U.S. regulations on the commercial use of space. While the defense community generally appreciates the value of services and capabilities derived from the commercial space sector—including space launch, Earth observation, and satellite communications—it often overlooks one area of strategic importance: deterrence.
To address the current shortcoming in understanding, this paper first describes the concept of deterrence, along with how space mission assurance and resilience fit into the framework. After explaining how commercial space capabilities may influence the decision calculus of potential adversaries, this study presents actionable recommendations for the U.S. Department of Department (DoD) to address current problem areas.
Ultimately, DoD—including the soon-to-be re-established U.S. Space Command and possibly a new U.S. Space Force—should incorporate the benefits and capabilities of the commercial space sector into flexible deterrent options and applicable campaign and contingency plans. (end of excerpt)
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