The Rise and Fall of Space Sanctuary in U.S. Policy

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The history of U.S. space policy includes more continuity than it does change, especially over the last four decades. Sanctuary policy only experienced 20 years of prominence at the outset of the Space Age. The Eisenhower administration that started the push for a sanctuary policy simultaneously included the origins of contested space policy that persisted and eventually dominated. Since 1975 the sanctuary-versus-contested debate within the U.S. government has ended in victory for the contested camp. Different administrations may have pursued contested space to different degrees, and some tried to resurrect specific elements of sanctuary policy, but each administration since Ford has eventually accepted the need to develop passive and active capabilities to defend U.S. assets in space and to deny or defeat hostile activities in a bid to improve the survivability of the U.S. space architecture.

 

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