Space

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One -

in a speech to the Ge­orge C. Mar­shall In­sti­tute, a private think tank.

The United States will “op­pose oth­ers who wish to use their mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties to im­pede or deny our ac­cess to and use of space,” he said. “We will seek the best ca­pa­bil­i­ties to pro­tect our space as­sets by ac­tive or pas­sive means.”

“No na­tion, no non-state ac­tor, should be un­der the il­lu­sion that the United States will tol­er­ate a de­nial of our right to the use of space for peace­ful pur­poses,” he said. “We re­serve the right to de­fend our­selves against hos­tile at­tacks and in­ter­fer­ence with our space as­sets,” he said.

U.S. of­fi­cials said the com­ments are an in­di­rect warn­ing to China, which has fired a ground-based laser gun at a U.S. satel­lite that passed over its ter­ri­tory — an event viewed as one sign of Bei­jing’s ef­forts to de­velop space arms that can blind or de­stroy sys­tems.

Mr. Joseph said a num­ber of na­tions are de­vel­op­ing weapons to “counter, at­tack and de­feat U.S. space sys­tems.” He did not name the coun­tries. Asked af­ter the speech about the Chi­nese laser in­ci­dent, he de­clined to com­ment.

“In view of th­ese grow­ing threats, our space pol­icy re­quires us to in­crease our abil­ity to pro­tect our crit­i­cal space ca­pa­bil­i­ties and to con­tinue to pro­tect our in­ter­ests from be­ing harmed through the hos­tile use of space,” he said.

The United States has be­come very re­liant on the use of satel­lites for civil­ian com­mu­ni­ca­tions as well as mil­i­tary com­mand and con­trol, with a large por­tion of gov­ern­ment com­mu­ni­ca­tions tran­sit­ing space.

The White House an­nounced in Oc­to­ber that Pres­i­dent Bush au­tho­rized a new na­tional space pol­icy, the first since 1996, that states that the United States is com­mit­ted to the peace­ful use of space and re­jects any na­tion’s at­tempts to claim sovereignty over it.

The pol­icy also views any at­tempt to in­ter­fere with space sys­tems as an in­fringe­ment on the right of free pas­sage in space, and de­scribes space ca­pa­bil­i­ties as “vi­tal” to na­tional in­ter­ests.

Mr. Joseph said space should be re­garded sim­i­larly to open seas where free nav­i­ga­tion is a right.

“If th­ese rights are not re­spected, the United States has the same full range of op­tions — from diplo­matic to mil­i­tary — to pro­tect its space as­sets as it has to pro­tect its other crit­i­cal as­sets,” he said.

“There is also a broad range of means, both pas­sive and ac­tive, by which space as­sets may be pro­tected or the ef­fects of the loss of their ser­vices min­i­mized,” he said.

Al­ter­na­tives in­clude non-space backup sys­tems, satel­lites with on­board sub­com­po­nent re­place- ment parts, satel­lite ma­neu­ver­ing sys­tems to avoid threats, elec­tronic and other sys­tem se­cu­rity, data en­cryp­tion, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions fre­quency shifts.

Mr. Joseph said the United States needs to use space sys­tems as part of a strat­egy to man­age crises, de­ter con­flict or “if de­ter­rence fails, pre­vail in con­flict.”

Both Rus­sia and China have sought to in­tro­duce arms-con­trol agree­ments at the United Na­tions de­signed to limit U.S. space weapons or de­fenses, and the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion op­poses the pro­posed agree­ments and talks.

Mr. Joseph said the Outer Space Treaty has been a long-stand­ing and ef­fec­tive tool to guide in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in space. New in­ter­na­tional agree­ments are “un­nec­es­sary and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive,” he said.

“We do not need to en­ter into new agree­ments; rather we should be seek­ing to gain uni­ver­sal ad­her­ence to ex­ist­ing agree­ments, in­clud­ing the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and we should con­cen­trate our ef­forts on real threats, such as those to the nu­clear non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime which, as a con­se­quence of ac­tions by Iran and North Korea, are un­der great strain,” Mr. Joseph said.

Katie Falkenberg / The Wash­ing­ton Times

Robert Joseph, un­der­sec­re­tary of state for arms con­trol and in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity, said the U.S. will pro­tect its space as­sets “by ac­tive or pas­sive means.”

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