Department of Defense leadership have asserted that slow space acquisition timelines may threaten American space superiority, but the link between acquisition timelines and space conflict has not been rigorously investigated in prior research. This dissertation questions that assertion through a mixed-methods approach of game-theoretic modeling and case study analysis. I found primarily that acquisition timelines drive underlying strategies, but not necessarily the outcomes of space conflict and deterrence. If an actor is at a disadvantage, they can mitigate that disadvantage by investing in relatively simple redundancies and resiliencies supporting their space architecture and remain reserved through conflict. In the case of parity, I find the appropriate strategy is to invest in complex systems and to take an assertive posture in conflict. Given leadership's statements and this dissertations' conclusions on American space acquisition timelines, the United States should focus its investments on relatively simple investments that support its resilience in space. This does not, however, suggest that the United States should abandon its space acquisition reform efforts, as those may improve broader conflict dynamics and space acquisition efficiencies.
Goirigolzarri, Benjamin, A Need for Speed? Identifying the Effects of Space Acquisition Timelines on Space Deterrence and Conflict Outcomes. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2019. https://www.rand.org/pubs/rgs_dissertations/RGSD432.html.
Goirigolzarri, Benjamin, A Need for Speed? Identifying the Effects of Space Acquisition Timelines on Space Deterrence and Conflict Outcomes, RAND Corporation, RGSD-432, 2019. As of November 29, 2023: https://www.rand.org/pubs/rgs_dissertations/RGSD432.html