Lost in Space?

By John Liang / November 14, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Today's Inside the Air Force reports that President-elect Barack Obama's transition office has yet to respond to repeated questions dating back to September regarding his military space strategy, even though his campaign Website posted a broad summation of the soon-to-be commander-in-chief’s defense initiatives. As ITAF reports:

Among Obama’s initiatives to “build defense capabilities for the 21st century” is ensuring “freedom of space,” according to the post.

“America’s ability to use space as a location for its satellites and communications grid is critical to our national security and economy,” it reads. “Unfortunately, this issue has been ignored and many nations are preparing to threaten space as a commons available to all nations. An Obama administration will:

“Restore U.S. leadership on space issues by seeking code of conduct for space-faring nations, including a worldwide ban on weapons to interfere with satellites and a ban on testing anti-satellite weapons. Initiating and stating a willingness to participate in a regime protecting access to space will help the United States return to a position of leadership in promoting global stability.

“Thoroughly assess possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them. This will include establishing contingency plans to ensure that U.S. forces can maintain or duplicate access to information from space assets and accelerating programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack.”

In June, Nancy Gallagher -- co-author of the book “Reconsidering the Rules for Space Security” -- briefed congressional staffers that the United States should start serious diplomatic discussions in which it is clear the country is looking to talk about force security issues and that it is open to the idea of legally binding rules regarding space protection and military use of satellites.

The story also reported that retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey this week called for the United States to initiate new international agreements for space activities and for the nation to better resource its space capabilities program in light of incidents such as the Chinese anti-satellite test as well as the growing number of space-faring nations.

In a separate story, ITAF quoted McCaffrey as saying that the most pressing matter for the incoming Obama administration is not ending the Iraq war or planning a way ahead for combat in Afghanistan, but creating a military that is "appropriate" for the next two decades.


McCaffrey: Next President has a Year to Make Important Space Decisions

McCaffrey: U.S. Counterinsurgency Ops Not Solution in Iraq War
-- McCaffrey Report on 2008 Iraq and Kuwait Visit

McCaffrey: Next 24 Months Are Key to Winning War in Afghanistan
-- McCaffrey 2008 'After-Action Report' on Afghanistan Trip

McCaffrey: Success in Iraq Will Require 10 Years of U.S. Involvement

McCaffrey Gives Good Marks to Troops in Iraq, Blasts Interagency Support
-- McCaffrey's 2006 After-Action Report on Iraq Trip