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News ::
Space the final frontier (for the military)
28 Jul 2001
Missile defense is being used as a smokescreen for a more ambitious plan for the full militarization of space and next generation warfighting capabilities. Do Americans really want to pay for this.
Space the final frontier ( for the military)

The idea of some missile shield protecting America from the evil in the world is an elaborate public relations campaign to win support for a space military. In the post world war two world American national interests have slowly consumed the entire globe from South America to Southeast Asia. Without the counter balance of the Soviet Union the interest of America go virtually unchallenged. Now our national interests have spread to outer space and consequently must be defended with military force. What exactly is the national interest of America? Without a doubt it is being the primary nation on Earth, and Capitalism is the vehicle for this primacy. Capitalism has an intrinsic drive to expand into new markets so that the flow of profits will continue. The final expression of this drive is the global expansion of markets. How does the United States insure that this process of globalization continues unfettered? Thomas Friedman foreign affairs columnist of the N.Y. Times stated quite coldly when he wrote “the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist-McDonalds cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas the designer of the F-15.”
If the Department of Defense (D.O.D.) gets its way then in the first quarter of the twenty first century the hidden fist of the market will have the capability of striking from space. The missile defense plans are just parts of a much broader plan to control space. The Pentagon defines space control as “combat and combat support operations to insure freedom of action in space for the United States and its allies and, when directed (by the national command authorities), deny an adversary freedom of action in space.” Missile defense alone will not be able to “deny an adversary freedom of action in space.” Control of the “ultimate high ground” is still very infantile, so many of the D.O.D.s plans will change and evolve. Projects are rarely static through development to deployment. Although the foundation for space control has already been formulated and some of the concepts are worth examining.
High-powered lasers, which can be fired from either space or the ground (into space then redirected toward the ground), are an integral part of any anti-ballistic missile plan. These lasers don’t have to be confined to shooting down just missiles. They could be used to attack other ground targets like buildings, cars, people, tanks, etc. With this capability the Pentagon would have the capacity to wage war from space. Also this capability would alleviate the need for aircraft to fly numerous sorties over enemy nations, there wouldn’t be a need to get permission to fly over neighboring states in a conflict region. All of these factors make this a very attractive system to the D.O.D. Space based lasers would need an extraordinary power requirement, which could probably only be provided by nuclear reactors, yet another issue, nuclear reactors in space! These lasers are currently being developed and, the Pentagon is planning for a demonstration around 2012-13.
The “space maneuver vehicle” is a system that is still in the conceptual phase of development by the Pentagon but clearly has great offensive potential. This system is an armed version of the space shuttle or in the words of the D.O.D. space technology guide for 2000-01 it is a “maneuverable satellite bus with interchangeable payload capacity.” Interchangeable payload capacity would allow this particular weapons platform to be very versatile. It could potentially be armed with anything from a neuron bomb to a denatured uranium projectile. Simply dropping any object from space would have devastating consequences upon impact given that orbital velocity is around eighteen thousand miles per hour. Conventional ordinance would have tremendous “bunker busting capabilities.” Since this system is still in the conceptual phase of development the taxpayers haven’t lost truckloads of cash to the defense contractors yet.
Space weapons platforms are an integral part of a larger Pentagon philosophy for the armed forces of the future. To win the wars of the future U.S. armed forces must achieve “full spectrum dominance.” The D.O.D.s joint vision for 2020 explains that “full spectrum dominance implies that U.S. forces are able to conduct prompt, sustained, and synchronized operations with combinations of forces tailored to specific situations and with access to and freedom to operate in all domains-space, sea, land, air, and information. Additionally given the global nature of our interests and obligation, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance.” In this context the foggy rhetoric surrounding the missile defense debate begins to clear. Quickly it becomes obvious that the national command authorities intend to arm space with offensive weapons.
Finally, beside next generation war fighting capabilities why does the pentagon want to militarize space? According to the U.S. space commands vision for 2020 “although unlikely to be challenged by a global peer competitor the U.S. will be challenged regionally. The globalization of the world economy will also continue with a widening of the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’” So do Americans really want to pay for a space military that will defend the “interests” of the U.S. from the poor people of the world? Should we not use some of the hundreds of billions of dollars (possibly trillions) to help our own people and the less fortunate peoples around the world? We could potentially use some of these resources to alleviate the problems, and poverty that will spurn “regional unrest” of the future. The situation becomes that clear we either help the “have-nots” or militarize against them so that they can remain oppressed.
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