Ground/Space-Based Defense - Offering Security In An Unstable, Multipolar And Volatile World
AUTHOR Major Mark S. Peecook, USMC
SUBJECT AREA - National Security
TITLE: GROUND/SPACE-BASED DEFENSE - OFFERING SECURITY IN AN UNSTABLE,
MULTIPOLAR AND VOLATILE WORLD
I. Theme: To illustrate America's reliance on space-based assets in
our everyday life, present Soviet/Third World threats to our national
security and offer a realistic solution to protect our country while
maintaining freedom for unobstructed use of space.
II. Thesis: Failure to adequately fund, develop, and field an active
ground/space-based defense leaves America openly exposed to Soviet and
Third World ICBMs, hostile satellite targeting and electronic
III. Discussion: The Soviet Union views space as a fundamental
strategic operating medium providing opportunities for application of
national power to achieve permanent advantage. In other words, they see
space as the geopolitical high ground. The Soviets possess the world's
only operational antisatellite (ASAT) weapon, as well as other weapons
with an ASAT capability. These weapons have the capability to disrupt or
destroy United States or allied military space systems. However, the
United States and the Soviet Union no longer enjoy a monopoly on key
strategic technologies. Ignored until recently, the military threat
posed by non-superpower nations has caused military strategists to
rethink issues such as nuclear proliferation and Third World ASATs.
Presently, 18 nations have ballistic missiles and by the turn of the
century, the number is expected to rise to 24. It is estimated that
Germany and Japan will have nuclear weapons by the year 2000. Arab
nations will also buy nuclear weapons unless the United States agrees to
protect them. History shows us that once countries develop long range
missiles with an inherent space launch capability, reconnaissance "spy"
satellites for targeting purposes, become the next logical step.
Targeting from imagery, electronic and radar reconnaissance satellites
represents the most direct threat to the well being of the United States.
IV. Summary: The United States relies heavily on unobstructed use of
space. However, America lacks both the capability to protect its
orbiting satellites and ability to quickly replace them should the
Soviets elect to employ their ASAT weaponry. Equally important is
America's vulnerability to an accidental missile launch, an intentional
launch by a rogue commander from a country undergoing internal unrest, or
a terrorist ICBM.
V. Conclusion: The first responsibility of government is the defense
of the governed. Due to the potential catastrophic effect of weapons of
mass destruction attacking from the high ground of space, America can ill
afford an "ostrich defense." The United States must adequately fund,
develop and field an active ground/space-based defense.
GROUND/SPACE-BASED DEFENSE - OFFERING SECURITY IN AN
UNSTABLE, MULTIPOLAR AND VOLATILE WORLD
Thesis: Failure to adequately fund, develop, and field an active ground/
space-based defense leaves America openly exposed to Soviet and
Third World ICBMs, hostile satellite targeting and electronic
I. Reliance on Space
A. Military use of space
1. Persian Gulf War
2. Present-day use
B. Commercial use of space
II. Soviet use of space
A. Strategic operating medium
B. Geopolitical high ground
C. Aggressive launch pace
D. Military use of space
2. Soviet ASAT
III. Outside Threats
A. Industrialized nations
B. Third World countries
D. Strategic technology proliferation
IV. Reformation of SDI
A. "Star Wars" vs "GPALS"
B. Arguments for and against
V. Destabilizing Imbalance
B. America's choices
GROUND/SPACE-BASED DEFENSE - OFFERING SECURITY IN AN
UNSTABLE, MULTIPOLAR AND VOLATILE WORLD
Despite wishful thinking to the
contrary, man is and promises to remain an
aggressive, combative creature. We fear,
we hate, we fight one another. Until we
remove causes of fear and hatred and
correct the conditions which prompt us to
arm ourselves, we have no choice but to
prepare to defend ourselves against
attack... against aggression in space and
from space. We cannot surrender the 'high
ground' without contest.
Jacob E. Smart, General, USAF
The Soviet Union stunned the world with the first successful
satellite launch of Sputnik in October 1957. The United States
quickly answered the Soviet challenge with the launch of Explorer 1
in January 1958. Then, in December 1958 President Eisenhower provided a
glimpse of America's future in space when he delivered his famous
Christmas goodwill message to the world by satellite.
Public understanding of space programs, whether that of Americans,
Soviets, Asians or Europeans, is confined to events publicized in the
media. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the world has
remained relatively unaware of the extensive efforts by many nations,
especially those of the United States and the Soviet Union, to utilize
space to ensure national security.
National security is much more than a purely military concept. It
also has equally important economic and political dimensions. It
includes verification of disarmament, domestic priorities and,
increasingly, the challenges of terrorism and weapons proliferation.
Moveover, national security can be influenced by events outside our
treaty area, as was demonstrated during the Persian Gu1f War.
Reliance on Space
American satellites, out of sight and largely out of mind, high
above the Arabian peninsula may never have fired a shot in the latest
Gulf War, but they undoubtedly played a vital role in the victory of the
coalition forces over Iraq. Labelling it "the first space war," Mr. John
Pike, a space policy analyst at the Federation of American-Scientists in
Washington, D.C., explained: "It's the first time the full range of
space systems has been used to support the military in a real-time
operational combat situation."(24:1,36)
In November 1990, the successful placement of America's 16th Navstar
satellite into orbit highlighted the Pentagon's decision to buy 100,000
Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers.(33:3,36) Navstar GPS deserves
much of the credit for the surgically precise bombing and accurate
navigation by both aircraft and ground forces across the featureless
Arabian desert. GPS is a precision worldwide navigation system using a
constellation of 13 satellites that transmit three-dimensioned
triangularized locations anywhere on the earth's surface or atmosphere.
(15:66) GPS also played a key role in helping fuel-guzzling aircraft,
tanks and military units to rendezvous with their refuelers and resupply.
Equally important, not only did GPS assist friendly artillery in
quickly pinpointing Iraqi targets, it also permitted coalition artillery
locations to be accurately determined allowing first-round destruction of
Iraqi targets.(23:20) Naval versions of GPS were used for shipboard
navigation, pinpointing the locations of mines, and as a self-correcting
homing device for the Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM), launched from
warplanes against Iraqi command-and-control installations. (23:20)
Commercially, GPS receivers are used not only to identify and update
the exact location of land sites or vehicles in transit, but also in
cellular telephones and forwarding messages as well. "The largest
domestic user is the trucking industry, which is expected to equip a
total of 11,000 vehicles with satellite terminals by the end of the
year." (28:20) Private and commercial aircraft use GPS receivers as do
law enforcement agencies.
GPS was only a small portion of the vast array of satellite systems
contributing to the overwhelming coalition victory. As General Norman
Schwarkzkopf, the coalition forces commander, described the battle
strategy in the final hours of the ground war, the allies took advantage
of Iraq's reliance on Cable News Network satellite-broadcast news and
Iraq's lack of space systems to provide independent information of the
war. News coverage of amphibious assault exercises by Marines in
December 1990 and of ground troops making small incursions northward
across the border from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait deceived Iraqi commanders
as to the real intentions of allied forces. Although General
Schwartzkopf did not mention the role of space systems, central to the
campaign's success was the fact that coalition forces had intelligence
satellites; the Iraqis did not. Thus blinded, the Iraqi forces were
placed at a disadvantage that proved impossible to overcome.
The versatility and responsiveness of satellite space systems is
extremely valuable in the contingency environment in which we live
today. Crises may occur with little warning or requisite experience and
knowledge of the terrain is not always readily at hand. The Defense
Mapping Agency shipped over 7.6 million maps to forces deployed in
Operation DESERT SHIELD. Ironically, the agency was prepared with
up-to-date maps of Iraq, but was caught off guard by the need for the
latest maps of two allies--Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. (09:17) The first
shipments of maps of those countries were missing infrastructure changes
made after 1982. Demonstrating the flexibility of space systems, new
maps containing the updates were shipped in five days.
Other contributions by space assets in the Gulf were provided by
meteorological, reconnaissance and signals intelligence satellites.
Highly detailed weather information of impending sand storms and high sea
states saved lives and equipment. If Iraq had resorted to chemical
warfare, weather information would have been vital for tracking chemical
clouds and forecasting when the chemicals would dissipate.(20:06)
American reconnaissance imaging satellites passed over the Iraqi theater
more than a dozen times daily, providing hundreds of images on each
pass. Both raw and interpreted image data were provided at real or
near-real time to coalition intelligence officers in Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia. (06:25) Lacrosse radar-imaging satellites provided detailed bomb
damage assessment, exact enemy location, and most likely enemy intentions
even at night or during poor weather or smoke conditions.(12:11)
Intelligence satellites intercepted Iraqi communications and assisted in
the early warning of SCUD missile launches.
The logistic chain supplying forces in the Gulf was more immense and
extended than in any conflict the world has ever seen, yet it operated
with speed and efficiency. Every mode of transportation, from aircraft
to camels, was employed in the coalition buildup. Assisting in that
effort were two small, lightweight, relatively inexpensive satellites
called Lightsats. "Up to 50 pages of logistics requests for naval
aviation spare parts and support material were forwarded daily back to
[Marine Corps] headquarters in Cherry Point, NC; Rota, Spain and points
The update of maps for the Persian Gulf area was performed primarily
by civilian Landsat and SPOT remote-sensing satellites. With resolution
as fine as six inches, the exchange of information between the Defense
Department and civilian sector permits civilian governmental agencies to
benefit as well. For example, the Drug Enforcement Administration has
used satellite imagery to identify illegal drug crops, manufacturing
facilities, boats, aircraft and landing strips.(22:16)
Due to its affordability, advanced technology from defense
satellites has spurred many industrial and commercial applications.
Commercial fishing, crop forecasts, cartography, oil and mineral
prospecting, land-use planning, pollution surveys and all types of high
load communications are but a few of the many civilian benefits of
unobstructed daily satellite use.(40:190-196)
Soviet Use of Space
No matter what happens in the Soviet
Union, no matter how many walls fall down,
no matter how many elections are held, or
who the President may be, the Soviet Union
will remain a military superpower--a nuclear
military superpower with the ability, if not
the intention, to destroy our way of life in
General Co1in L. Powell
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
It is interesting to note the sharply contrasting ways in which the
two superpowers envisage the military potential of space. The United
States views space as a sanctuary free of military conflict and as a
medium for communicating or transporting items from one point to another.
In contrast, the Soviets view space as a fundamental strategic operating
medium providing opportunities for application of national power to
achieve permanent advantage. In other words, they see space as the
geopolitical high ground. (03:85)
Soviet space assets conduct a variety of missions similar to those
of the United States. Among these are targeting; imagery, electronic and
radar reconnaissance; command, control and communications; launch
detection and attack warning; ocean surveillance; arms control
verification; and meteorological and navigational support. Targeting
from imagery, electronic and radar reconnaissance satellites represents
the most direct threat to the well-being of the United States. In an
unusually open discussion of Soviet spy satellite capabilities, Colonel
General Alexander Maksimov stated in the newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red
Space reconnaissance makes it possible
to obtain a clear image in the visible spectrum
with resolution down to .2 - .3 meters. This
means that from orbit, it is possible to see every
player on a soccer pitch, or to determine whether
a B-1 bomber is equipped with missiles. Radio
technical reconnaissance makes it possible to
locate radiation in practically all bands and to
determine the source of this radiation... Space
reconnaissance [also] makes it possible to
intercept radio conversations. With the help of
retransmitter satellites, all this information can
be obtained in close to real-time.(31:12)
The Soviets are maintaining an aggressive launch pace that will
continue to increase their future capabilities. During 1989, the Soviets
averaged a launch every five days. Seventeen times during that year,
space missions were launched less than 24 hours apart. Twice, the
Soviets launched three missions in less than 12 hours. Once, four
missions using four different types of launch vehicles were successfully
placed in orbit. (07:44-45) By way of comparison, the United States
launches an average of less than 30 missions per year. Figures 1 and 2
illustrate the vast differences between numbers of Soviet and United
States satellite space launches.
Click here to view image
The Soviets possess the world's only operational antisatellite
(ASAT) weapon, as well as other weapons with an ASAT capability. These
weapons have the capability to disrupt or destroy United States or allied
military space systems. Recognizing the importance of space-based
support to military forces, "...the Soviets long ago established a
doctrinal objective of denying the use of space to other
countries."(53:55) The USSR began intensive research and development of
an ASAT intercepter in the 1960s; it became operational in 1971.
Although since 1983, the Soviets have often claimed a unilateral
moratorium on the launching of ASAT system, in actuality the Soviets
routinely conduct tests of ASAT elements and procedures on the ground.
Furthermore, their "coorbital intercept remains in readiness at its
launch site at the Tyuratam cosmodrome, where two launch pads and storage
space for many interceptors and launch vehicles exist."(52:60)
Even with their reported unilateral moratorium on ASAT weapon
launches, the Soviets presently have the capability to destroy low and
medium earth orbit satellites. The annual Pentagon publication, Soviet
Military Power - 1990, presents an even more negative outlook:
The Soviets have additional potential ASAT
capabilities: exoatmospheric ABM missiles, located around
Moscow and at the Sary Shagan test range, that could be
used against satellites in near-earth orbit; at least one
ground-based laser, also at Sary Shagan, that may have
sufficient power to damage some unprotected satellites in
near-earth orbits; and electronic warfare assets that
probably would be used against satellites at all
altitudes. Research and development of technologies
applicable to more advanced ASAT systems continue at a
steady pace. Areas of investigation that appear to hold
promise include high energy laser, particle beam, radio
frequency, and kinetic energy technologies. Future ASAT
developments could now include directed energy weapons or
direct-ascent nonnuclear interceptors. (52:61)
These are times of unprecedented flux in the Soviet Union. The
once cherished principles of Marxist/Leninist doctrine, established as
the doctrinal political foundation of the Soviet Communist state, are
being denounced by the liberalizing initiatives of their leaders and the
Soviet people. Although the possibility of conflict between the United
States and the Soviet Union has diminished, internal instability in the
Soviet Union resulting from economic collapse, ethnic dissent, and
internal political strife remains a distressing prospect. Clearly, from
this new world order, a new threat has emerged. The possibility of an
unauthorized or accidental discharge of chemical or nuclear weapons due
to heightened turmoil within the Soviet Union was a noted concern of
Senator Sam Nunn (Democrat-GA), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, during a recent floor speech. (32:16)
A mutiny at a Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) base in the Urals was
barely avoided in October 1990 and illustrates the unrest within the
USSR. According to the Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, the
troops had not eaten for one week due to command negligence. Hunger and
despair caused crews to desert their positions, and Moscow was forced to
send in top officials of the SMF to avert the mutiny. (34:16)
The United States and the Soviet Union no longer enjoy a monopoly
on key strategic technologies. Ignored until recently, the military
threat posed by non-superpower nations has caused military strategists to
rethink issues such as nuclear proliferation and Third World ASAT's.
According to Stephen J. Hadley, Assistant Secretary of Defense for
International Security Policy, "Eighteen nations have ballistic missiles
now and, by the turn of the century, the number is expected to rise to
24."(29:27) It is estimated that Germany and Japan will have nuclear
weapons by the year 2OOO. Arab nations will also buy nuclear weapons
unless the United States agrees to defend them. (46:18) Unfortunately,
possessing nuclear capability provides underdog nations and terrorists
with "the great equalizer." There is ample evidence that Iraq, before
the Persian Gulf War, was very close to developing its own nuclear
weapons. Among the scientists attending a conference on nuclear
explosive detonation held in Portland, Oregon, in August 1990 were three
experts from the Iraqi nuclear weapons laboratory. "Partly because of
such access to American expertise and the sale to Baghdad of nuclear
components by the West Germans and Swiss, intelligence officials now
estimate that Iraq could develop a bomb in less than a year."(36:06) How
many other unstable nations have superpower and industrialized nations
assisted in advancing their nuclear biological and chemical weapon
Space proliferation as a genuine threat has come of age. In
December 1990 the debris from the launch of an Iraqi three-stage rocket
was tracked over multiple orbits and confirmed by the Defense
Intelligence Agency. Besides becoming the first Arab nation to attain
space launch capability, Iraq sent a political signal to Israel which had
successfully placed two satellites into orbit last year and is making
final preparations to launch its first reconnaissance satellite.
(18:13) This Israeli satellite will be used to spy on Arab neighbors and
to provide targeting data. (17:06) Other recent spacefaring nations, or
nations within two years of their own launches, include: India, Egypt,
Brazil, Argentina, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
The Department of Defense's main concern about space proliferation
is that high tech weapons start with ballistic missiles. Less than 24
months after President Bush's "Discriminate Deterrence" report, the
Administration voiced concern over the growing threat from Third World
missiles armed with nuclear or chemical warheads. What follows is what
Military Space calls the historical process:
Once countries develop long-range missiles with an
inherent space launch capability, reconnaissance
satellites become the next logical step. Just as the U.S.
Atlas and Soviet R-7 ICBMs launched the Discoverer and
Cosmos reconnaissance satellites, Third World countries
could launch their own systems on ballistic missiles
optimized for space launch. ... Then nations take
advantage of advances in electronics to develop
sophisticated reconnaissance payloads. While the U.S.,
USSR and China started out with recoverable photographic
systems, new space powers could go straight to electronic
imaging systems. Based on TV camera technology, these
systems can downlink images in near-real time to ground
stations in a military theatre.(43:O3-O4)
The increasing number of sophisticated space assets orbiting the
earth at all altitudes complicates warfare, restricts the movement of our
military forces, reduces surprise, and could permit a hostile nation to
achieve first strike capability. Even without a Soviet threat, ASAT
weapons are a small investment against any power employing satellites to
target United States forces. As more unfriendly nations join the
"ballistic missile club," they will similarly have the ability to place
spy satellites into orbit.
Transformation of SDI
I have directed that the SDI program be refocused on
providing protection from limited ballistic missile
strikes, whatever their source. Let us pursue an SDI
program that can deal with any future threat to the United
States, to our forces overseas and to our friends and
With these words, President George Bush announced a major
redirection for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), commonly referred
to as "Star Wars." The President disclosed the restructuring during his
State of the Union Address to Congress and the American people on January
The scaling back of SDI to concentrate on defense against attack by
shorter range enemy missiles and small volleys of long-range (ICBM)
missiles, represents a major shift away from the "impenetrable shield"
defense for full-scale nuclear war proposed by former President Ronald
Reagan in 1983. The Defense Department has named the new mission Global
Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS). GPALS will be less
expensive than Star Wars and the technology to field such a system exists
On January 28, 1991, the day before President Bush's State of the
Union Address, an experimental endo/exoatmospheric ground based
intercepter called Eris was launched from Kwajelein Atoll in the
Pacific. Eris destroyed a mock incoming nuclear warhead launched 4,200
miles away from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. (13:11)
This test is very significant for four reasons:
1. The target was destroyed with a nonnuclear device made from an
expanding plastic mesh umbrella net.
2. The destruction took place 100 miles above the atmosphere where
effects from destruction of chemical and biological agents
would be harmless to humans.
3. The correct target was distinguished from among multiple
"decoys" separated by less than 200 meters.
4. The equipment used in the test is available today. GPS
satellites provided velocity and location data.
The original SDI program planned for both ground- and space-based
lasers that could destroy nearly all warheads aimed at the 48 contiguous
states in a massive attack by more than a thousand missiles. The design
goal now is to stop up to 200 warheads, extend protection to all United
States territories, and accomplish destruction either inside or outside
the earth's atmosphere at the most opportune point in the missiles'
trajectory. Protection could even be provided to United States forces
overseas, friends, and allies by basing the defensive weapons on
aircraft, ships, ground mobile launchers and even in space.(01:28)
According to SDI "Brilliant Pebbles" Task Force Director Colonel R.
Worrell, interception of enemy biological or chemical missiles by space-
or aircraft-based assets could also enable destruction to occur over
enemy territory "with fallout going over their heads."(10:31) This in
itself would add to deterrence.
Why Ground/Space Defense Makes Sense
You can not sit there and watch the SCUDS fly at Tel
Aviv and Riyadh and not be concerned that we develop and
field the capacity to deal with ballistic missiles.
Technology is the key to keeping casualties low. There is
a direct link to the number of lives we lose in combat and
how much money we spend before the war starts on our
capabilities and the quality of the equipment. (11:10)
Secretary of Defense
Today, our country is completely vulnerable. We have little means
of defending against ICBM-delivered biological, chemical or nuclear
warheads. Even the missiles of Brazil could reach Florida. Presently
the best we can hope for is to deter or avenge the attack.
Opponents to a ground- or space-based defense system usually offer
at least one of the following arguments against further development or
employment: it won't work; it costs too much money; it won't be 100
percent effective; it could encourage the Soviets to attack us; and,
lastly, it would create another arms race.
It Won't Work
No evidence exists today to indicate that the system can't be made
to work. On the contrary, the successful destruction of a "dummy"
warhead launched from 4,200 miles away is clear proof that the basic
technology exists today. The critics' foremost challenges of "decoys"
and using non-nuclear means for warhead destruction have been overcome.
Nuclear Physicist Edward Teller played a key role in the Manhattan
Project of World War II and in the later development of the hydrogen
bomb. In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee in April
1983, Dr. Teller explained that "SDI was not a fantasy. President
Reagan's proposal to develop an anti-ballistic missile system was
scientifically sound in theory and principle."(30:99) Moreover, the fact
that Moscow already possesses an in-depth, ground-based anti-ballistic
missile system complete with detection and tracking radar, should dispel
this rumor. Soviet awareness of the technological "can-do spirit" of
Americans is the most likely reason the Soviet Union contests our
decision towards full-scale development.
It Costs Too Much
A basic defensive system could be deployed in five years at a total
cost of 69 billion dollars, much less money than Americans spend each
year on alcohol.(50:28) The Apollo space program reached its pinnacle
with the moon landing in 1969. The Apollo program cost four times the
projected cost of a ground/space-based missile defense system. (37:09)
Likewise, what would the cost of a single, "accidental" nuclear missile
strike with only one rudimentary 500-kiloton warhead over the United
States be in comparison to the cost of a basic defensive system? The
Carnegie report estimates:
100 billion dollars--with the upper limit at about 10
billion dollars for relatively less-populated western
states.... these cost estimates include damage to real
estate, industrial production, financial and informational
systems lost, and medical costs. The damage estimates do
not include any value for lives lost, or income losses
from injury, or pain and suffering.(30:71)
Another factor concerning the cost equation is the benefit to the
American economy and expected technological "spin-offs." Non-weapon
advancements in areas such as miniaturization, computers, communications,
lasers, kinetics and avionics would be achieved. Put another way, can we
afford to be without a ground/space-based system?
It Won't Be 100% Effective. And It Could Encourage The Soviets To Attack
One of the most basic tenets of deterrence is mutually assured
destruction, or "MAD doctrine" as it is commonly known as. If an enemy
of the United States cannot be assured that its main targets will be
destroyed, that most of its weapons would be intercepted and that the
United States would be fully capable of retaliating, then the enemy would
be very skeptical about attempting a first strike. Today, we do not have
the ability to stop either an errant or an intentional launch.
It Would Create Another Arms Race
Recently, an article in the official publication of the Soviet
general staff, Military Thought, stated "the Soviet Union should
continue its work on strategic defense, regardless of what the United
States decides to do."(21:22)
As stated earlier, the USSR already has the only operational
anti-ballistic missile defense system in the world. Treaties aimed at
preventing the spread of biological, chemical and nuclear warhead
technology, as well as anti-satellite and ballistic missile delivery
systems, sound good in theory. Unfortunately, the United States does not
have a "corner on the market" and controls can only slow, not stop,
proliferation. Third World countries are developing indigenous
competence in advanced technologies just by sending their future
scientists and engineers to modern first world universities. The arms
race in advance technologies will continue, even if the United States
decides not to participate.
The Destabilizing Imbalance
Our lack of an ASAT capability is our single most
vulnerable point if there were to be a conflict. (05:04)
Frank C. Carlucci
Former Secretary of Defense
The United States relies heavily on unobstructed use of space.
However, America lacks both the capability to protect its orbiting
satellites and ability to quickly replace them should the Soviets elect
to employ their ASAT weaponry. Equally important is America's
vulnerability to an accidental missile launch, an intentional launch by a
rogue commander from a country undergoing internal unrest, or a terrorist
ICBM. The Soviets blamed the Chernobyl disaster on human error. Can we
afford to be victims of Soviet human error ourselves? Would we permit an
enemy to deploy "spy" reconnaissance satellites over both our nation and
our armed forces for targeting purposes? Do we want to be held captive
to some Islamic aggression? Failure to adequately fund, develop and
field an active ground/space-based defense leaves America openly exposed
to Soviet and Third World ICBMs, hostile satellite targeting, and
electronic intelligence imaging.
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor notwithstanding, the relative
geographic isolation of the United States in 1941 still afforded several
years to mobilize industrial production and achieve combat preparedness.
Unfortunately, today a satellite in low earth orbit travels 2,000 times
faster than the ships that brought the Japanese task force to the
Hawaiian Islands in 1941. Time and technology march on, regardless. It
has been said that the first responsibility of government is the defense
of the governed. Due to the potential catastrophic effect of weapons of
mass destruction attacking from the high ground of space, America can ill
afford an "ostrich defense." Should a hostile country or terrorist group
attempt to use nuclear weapons for blackmail, we'd find ourselves in the
uncomfortable position of asking, "What do you mean by - 'or else'?" As
we look to the future we must apply lessons of the recent past, the next
"Saddam Hussein" may be a high-tech rogue, so we must be prepared to deal
with him from the high ground of space.
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