Different Thoughts About The Future of National Security Space

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Aug. 1, 2019 – The United States is changing how it uses space for national security. From a raw awareness of threats from malign actors, to an increased reliance on private sector players, many dynamics are driving this change.

So how are the ways people are thinking about these dynamics — the schools of thought — influencing the way we discuss, debate, and ultimately formulate U.S. initiatives and policy in space? A new report by The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS), What Place For Space: Competing Schools of Operational Thought in Space, identifies six different major schools of thought and explores the priorities each would elevate for U.S. policy makers in the Space Force debate.

“There are several competing perspectives on what the current opportunities and challenges in space mean for the future of national security space,” said Russell Rumbaugh, author of the CSPS report. “These differing perspectives will obviously generate varied proposals for areas of emphasis, administrative structures and policy priorities. This report offers a framework for everyone to see how these differing schools of thought propose the U.S. should operate in space to advance its national security.”

The paper identifies six schools of thought, each with a different vision of what war will look like in the future and a corresponding organizational and technical preference for how to prepare for such a war. While few space professionals will place themselves squarely within one school of thought, the paper suggests that having a structure from which to pull when contemplating the future of national security space allows for a clearer discussion of priorities and concerns. 

“Space is now spoken of plainly as a warfighting domain and the United States is changing the structure of its national security space enterprise,” said David Eccles, deputy director of CSPS. “This is a tremendous change, but the intended outcome of this change has often been muddied by the many voices coming to the deliberations from different perspectives. This paper looks to lend some clarity to these discussions at an important time. How we fight wars in space in the future will depend on how clearly we talk about addressing the threat in space now.”

To learn more, download the CSPS report.

About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has more than 4,200 employees. With major locations in El Segundo, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Washington, D.C. region, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the space enterprise and other areas of national and international significance through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership. For more information, visit www.aerospace.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AerospaceCorp.


About the Center for Space Policy and Strategy

The Center for Space Policy and Strategy is dedicated to shaping the future by providing nonpartisan research and strategic analysis to decisionmakers. The Center is part of The Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit organization that advises the government on complex space enterprise and systems engineering problems.

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