The Space Campaign: Space-Power Theory Applied to Counterspace Operations
Ziarnick, Brent D., Air & Space Power Journal
Despite the importance of space to current and future military operations, one seldom hears discussions about the importance of establishing space superiority. Drawing on James Oberg's elements of space power, Lieutenant Ziarnick describes an operational space-superiority targeting doctrine, offers a foundation for fighting a space campaign, and suggests the adaptation of a model widely known to air strategists.
EVEN THOUGH SPACE operations receive wide recognition as an important part of present military operations and will likely play a dominant role in future conflict, one hears remarkably little discussion about achieving space superiority. Part of the reason for this apparent indifference is the common notion that we have no general theory of the relationship of space activity to both military operations and the national interest on which to base ideas. Therefore, thinking about military space either limits itself to loose generalizations based on established theory, such as that dealing with air operations, or emphasizes defeating specific systems/capabilities rather than producing a general doctrine applicable to all space systems, based upon a space perspective. James E. Oberg, however, in his book Space Power Theory, does make a notable attempt to form a coherent system for explaining space power.1
This article describes an operational space-superiority targeting doctrine based on Oberg's elements of space power. The proposed doctrine has immediate applicability to current space doctrine, relies on current or near-term military systems for execution, and includes sufficient flexibility to apply to any space scenario faced by a spacefaring nation. After introducing Oberg's theory of space power, the article explores the military utility of his space-power elements and considers the effect of conflict duration on the nature of space campaigns. It also offers a foundation for fighting a space campaign, culminating in a model familiar to modern air strategists.
Oberg's Theory of Space Power
Oberg defines space power as "the combination of technology, demographic, economic, industrial, military, national will, and other factors that contribute to the coercive and persuasive ability of a country to politically influence the actions of other states and other kinds of players, or to otherwise achieve national goals through space activity."2 From this definition, He derives a list of space-power elements-factors necessary for a nation or other entity to acquire and sustain space power-that includes facilities, technology, industry, hardware (space vehicles), economy, populace, education, tradition and intellectual climate, geography, and exclusivity of capabilities/knowledge.3 From a military standpoint, we can consider these elements essential centers of gravity for an adversary's space efforts. However, some of the more esoteric ones do not constitute viable military targets. For the military professional, the important attackable elements consist of an enemy's facilities, industry, hardware, economy, and-potentially-populace and exclusivity of capabilities/knowledge.
The "hardware with which to conduct space operations," facilities include sites for manufacturing, launch (referred to here as space-ports), command and control (C2), and laboratories-all of them normally ground-based structures subject to attack and destruction by a variety of conventional means.4 We can also assume that they are finite in number and quite valuable to the adversary's space power. Successful elimination of a single facility could devastate an adversary's space capabilities, and complete destruction of a class of facilities (i.e., spaceports or C^sup 2^ centers) could prove fatal. We should consider facilities an attractive target for attacking an enemy's space power because of ease of strike as well as their high utility and cost of replacement in terms of both money and time. …