To develop a fulsome space strategy, U.S. strategists need to acknowledge that their counterparts in other countries, especially within China, do not necessarily think about deterrence and conflict in the same way. To address the problem, a viable space strategy should address Chinese long-term strategy, and in particular, U.S. space strategy should emphasize deterrence by denial, while addressing provocative actions that seek to erode U.S. strategic advantage.
You expect an electric crackle, the deep whine of machinery, a bolt of red across a planetary foreground, the roar of rocket engines. Wrong. When the United States Space Force (USSF) is in action, it really couldn’t be less cinematic. Anti-visual even. Yes, the Earth is still an astonishing sight from our perch at the Earth-Moon L4 Lagrange point, but battle itself is rather anticlimactic. No explosions. No starfighters careening this way and that.
ake the works of the past and use them as the foundation for a new space theory that will receive the approval of the public and stand the test of time. If a proper unified theory emerges, it will be codified and a coherent plan for every nation can be implemented and each can posture for strategic success as they see fit. Then humanity’s great curiosity of the cosmos may be be satisfied, even if only for a moment.
We present the merits of evaluating an adversary’s air defense system by looking at its component parts and argue for the application of the same schema with the space domain. Using this methodology to identify, analyze, and prioritize space domain threats will enhance the ability for joint force commanders to make critical decisions in the defense of U.S. space capabilities. Further, it will allow planning staffs to lean forward rather than just react to an adversary’s potential courses of action in the contested space domain.
Over the past two decades the use of the word domain has attained wide acceptance in the military lexicon. Vague when described in doctrine, it exerts a strong influence by establishing the most basic boundaries of military functional identities. Despite the unquestioned usage of domain-centric terminology, the exact meaning of domain remains largely undefined without consideration of etymological origins. However, the word contains some built-in assumptions regarding how we view warfare that can limit our thinking. An ambiguous categorization of separate operating domains in warfare could actually pose an intractable conceptual threat to an integrated joint force, which is ironically the stated purpose of multi-domain battle.
Growing concern over China’s burgeoning military might and seeming willingness to use it has caused many to re-evaluate U.S. Army doctrine and training. Counterinsurgency and asymmetric warfare have dominated Western military thought over the past decade of fighting. However, the escalating conflict in the South China Sea has many strategic thinkers considering how to fight a large-scale war once again. One nation often overlooked in the Pacific equation, though, is India and their emerging capabilities in space, and how those emerging capabilities may impact an armed conflict.
Earth-shaking rocket launches aside, space is the silent partner in nearly American military endeavor today. Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and the subsequent counterinsurgency operations that followed demonstrated that clearly enough. Space guides soldiers, sailors, airmen, and bombs to their targets, gives the photographs and signal intercepts to understand what enemies are planning, and provides secure, global communication in an era of global need.