Missile-Defense Goals Encompass Space ; Defense Chief Would Expand Plan beyond Earth, Cites Threat of a 'Space Pearl Harbor.'

By Brad Knickerbocker writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2001 | Go to article overview

Missile-Defense Goals Encompass Space ; Defense Chief Would Expand Plan beyond Earth, Cites Threat of a 'Space Pearl Harbor.'


Brad Knickerbocker writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


The Bush administration's push for a missile-defense capability, though couched in the language of reducing the threat of nuclear war or defending against a lesser attack by a "rogue state" such as North Korea or Iraq, is part of a much broader interest in holding the high ground of military superiority in space.

A congressionally mandated commission headed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently warned of a "space Pearl Harbor" in which US satellites and other assets could be disabled or destroyed, severely harming the nation's ability to gather military intelligence and direct its forces on land and sea.

It's a "virtual certainty," the Rumsfeld group asserted, that war will be fought in space one day, just as it has been on land, at sea, and in the air. "Given this virtual certainty," the commission reported, "the US must develop the means both to deter and to defend against hostile acts in and from space. This will require superior space capabilities."

The long-range plan of the US Space Command states that "In 2020, if not sooner, adversaries will essentially share the high ground of space with the United States and its allies." As a result, "the United States must be prepared to ensure our space advantage over an enemy."

Moves by Russia, China

Proponents of this view point out that earlier this year Russia reorganized its armed forces to create a new military service for space warfare. Also, China is developing what it calls a "parasite satellite" that would attach itself to and disable other satellites.

Among its recommendations, the Rumsfeld group said the president should "have the option to deploy weapons in space to deter threats to, and ... defend against attacks on, US interests."

Does this represent a "military revolution," as some experts put it, akin to aircraft-carrier warfare and blitzkrieg? Or is it merely a rehashing of Ronald Reagan's 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), dubbed "star wars" by critics, with its vision of space-based lasers blasting enemy warheads? Would it prompt a new arms race in space? Is it technologically feasible? Is it affordable?

Rumsfeld's overall military review, expected in another month or so, will reveal more details. But there is no doubt that he, and other senior administration officials, see the possibilities and perhaps the necessity of space-based military systems.

Pentagon analyst Andrew Marshall, one of the main figures in the Rumsfeld review, sees the need to defend against enemy missiles in space. He was one of the key witnesses before an earlier commission - also headed by Rumsfeld - established by Congress in 1997 to assess ballistic missile threats to the US.

While missile-defense research and testing has moved slowly and somewhat fitfully over the 18 years since Mr. Reagan launched SDI, advances have been made. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Missile-Defense Goals Encompass Space ; Defense Chief Would Expand Plan beyond Earth, Cites Threat of a 'Space Pearl Harbor.'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.