Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment / on the Edge of Earth: The Future of American Space Power / Astropolitik: Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age /

Academic journal article Air & Space Power Journal

The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment / on the Edge of Earth: The Future of American Space Power / Astropolitik: Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age /

Article excerpt

The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment by Barry Watts. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (http://www.csbaonline.org), 1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 912, Washington, D.C. 20036, 2001, 130 pages, $20.00.

On the Edge of Earth: The Future of American Space Power by Steven Lambakis. University Press of Kentucky (http://uky.edu/University Press), 663 South Limestone Street, Lexington, Kentucky 40508-4008, 2001, 365 pages, $39.95.

Astropolitik: Classical Geopolitics in the Space Age by Everett C. Dolman. Frank Cass Publishers (http://www.frankcass.com), 5824 NE Hassalo Street, Portland, Oregon 97213-3644, 2002, 208 pages, $24.50.

Space Weapons, Earth Wars by Bob Preston et al. RAND Corporation (http://www.rand.org), 1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, California 90407-2138, 2002, 201 pages, $25.00.

Ten Propositions Regarding Spacepower by M. V. Smith. Forthcoming, Air University Press (http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/aul/aupress), 131 West Shumacher Avenue, Maxwell AFB, Alabama 36112-6615, on-line, Internet, available from http://research.au.af.mil/papers/ student/ay200l/saas/smith.pdf.

No doubt Arthur C. Clarke would appreciate the fact that 2001 saw the emergence of five major works on military-space issues. The inter-relationships between space and security remain a critical issue even though right now our collective subconscious would be more likely to contain nightmarish visions of airliners, buildings, and bombing rather than dreams of bones morphing into space planes and space stations to the accompaniment of Richard Strauss's Thus Sake Zarathustra. Coming on the heels of the congressionally mandated Report of the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization (Space Commission) of 11 January 2001, chaired by the once and future secretary of defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, these publications afford a lofty vista from which to assess both narrow issues such as the implementation of the Space Commission's recommendations and many broader concerns. The five publications are also highly complementary in the sense that each focuses primarily on one of the three determinants of defense policy: (1) technology and operations (Watts, Preston, and Smith), (2) domestic politics (Lambakis), and (3) world politics (Dolman). Cumulatively, they give us one of the best opportunities in many years to reassess America's vision for space. In the end, however, when it comes to the interrelationships between space and national security, the nation still faces many more questions than answers.

Barry Watts's The Military Use of Space is must reading for any serious student of military space. It is an outstanding assessment of how the use of space is likely to affect US national security through 2025; in many ways, it is the most comprehensive and nuanced of the five publications. Watts is a retired Air Force F-4 pilot and an experienced defense analyst who has written extensively on a variety of topics, including measures of effectiveness, military innovation, Clausewitzian friction, and airpower doctrine. In addition, he coauthored the "Effects and Effectiveness" part of the 1993 Gulf War Air Power Survey. He formerly directed the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center and currently is director of program analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Watts's monograph uses the comparative-- analysis style of net assessment developed by his mentor and former boss Andrew W. Marshall, the Pentagon's director of net assessment since 1973: "In Marshall's view, net assessment is a discipline or art that relies, above all else, on genuine understanding of the enterprise or business involved rather than sophisticated models, complex systems analysis or abstract theory" (p. 5).

The major findings in Watts's technologically informed assessment are carefully derived and merit close attention even though they are unlikely to excite the mainstream; furthermore, they undoubtedly will be attacked by hawks and doves who believe the United States should be doing a lot more or a lot less in space. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.