Trends in Space Control Capabilities and Ballistic Missile Threats

Implications for ASAT Arms Control

by Dana J. Johnson

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Several emerging trends in global affairs will have an impact on U.S. military space policy and the acquisition of space control capabilities. These trends include the uncertainty of NATO's future and the role of U.S. forces in Europe, the growing potential for U.S. involvement in Third World conflicts, and ballistic missile proliferation among nations ostensibly developing space launch capabilities. This paper examines U.S. national space policy and military space policy, focusing on the space control debate. It considers the status of space control-related capabilities, such as the antisatellite (ASAT) and national aerospace plane (NASP) programs. The author discusses the "operationalization" of space control; examines the growing sophistication of the European Space Agency, and Japanese and other space programs; and evaluates three near-term ASAT "regimes." Finally, the author presents a range of policy choices for the United States.

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