The United States is planning to take
control of parts of space and develop patrolling
military aircraft in orbit as part of a revived Star
Wars proposal for an American military empire above the
According to James Roche, the US Air Force Secretary,
America's allies would have "no veto power" over
projects designed to achieve American military control
The key theme of the ambitious plans is described as
"negation" - the denial of the use of space for military
intelligence, or other purposes, without American
The plans come after the successful use of global
positioning satellites (GPS) and other space technology
during the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the
intelligence agency that is responsible for US spy
satellites, is to develop a strategy that ensures
America's allies, as well as its enemies, never gain
access to the same space resources without Washington's
permission. Recent proposals that have been circulated
at Space Command and NRO briefings suggest that access
to "near-earth space" may be refused to other nations.
[Tony's Note: rumor has it that Russian "Cosmospheres"
have been orbiting against our military hunter-killer
satellites since the early 1980's, keeping space
military systems in check.]
All GPS satellites are located within near-earth space,
which covers the orbital distance from Earth to the
moon. A fleet of spacecraft will be developed, designed
to attack and destroy future satellites of enemies and
rivals. The rapid-launch "military space plane," the
potential cost of which has not been disclosed [Tony's
Note: mostly paid for already], would
also be used as a mobile "bodyguard" for US space
installations. It would be the first "space plane"
[emphasis theirs] in
history with a directly military function.
A prototype is expected by 2005 although military
deployment is not expected before 2014. "It will
hopefully be a new kind of vehicle, equipped for the
challenges of the future," said a Pentagon official.
After the recent military action in Afghanistan and
Iraq, US Air Force Command claimed that American forces
on the ground had a decisive advantage in gathering
intelligence and targeting enemy troop positions.
As a result, the Pentagon believes that the struggle to
control space will form the next stage of a global arms
Its plans confirm that America expects space to be
"weaponized" in the medium-term future, and is
determined to take an unassailable technological lead.
Two years ago, a report commissioned by Donald Rumsfeld,
the US defense secretary, warned of the danger of a
"Space Pearl Harbor" if America did not take action to
At America's National Space Symposium, held in April in
Colorado Springs, Gen Lance Lord, the commander of US
Air Force Space Command, explained the logic of the new
strategy to a largely military audience.
"The pursuit of asymmetric advantage is not new," he
said. "In the 20th century, airpower emerged as just
such an advantage. Today, at the outset of the 21st
century, we are realizing the same sort of advantage
through space power."
It was at the same forum that Mr. Roche warned America's
allies not to expect any veto over its plans.
Until now, international treaties have forbidden the
deployment of weapons in outer space, although a
loophole exists which allows the United States to use
its satellites for military intelligence.
The 1967 Space Treaty - the first international
legislation on space exploitation - also stated that
outer space should be free for exploration and use by
all states, and would not be subject to national
appropriation by occupation or any other means.
Last month, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Ivanov,
repeated Moscow's demands for the complete
demilitarization of space.
In March last year, however, Peter Teets, the
under-secretary of the air force and director of the NRO,
said: "I believe that weapons will go into space. It's a
question of time. And we need to be at the forefront of
A Department of Defense Review in 2001 also stated that
"a key objective [for the US] is not only to ensure US
ability to exploit space for military purposes but also
as required to deny an adversary's ability to do so".
Canadian government officials have already complained
that senior American officials have begun to exclude
them from sensitive areas of joint aerospace defense
The implications of an American military monopoly in
space are bound to concern European allies, who have
recently agreed to launch their own $3.2billion
satellite navigation system - Galileo - which is to be
used only for civilian purposes.
Europe has long resisted the prospect of a military use
of space technology.
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense
Initiative - the so-called "Star Wars" plan - to use
space technology to repel Soviet missiles, ending the
era of nuclear deterrence, drew fierce resistance from
President George W Bush's plans for a satellite-guided
missile defense system have now largely been accepted.