Space — No Longer a Sanctuary

By James Lewis

James Lewis is a Senior Vice President and Program Director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  Before joining CSIS, he worked at the Departments of State and Commerce.  He was the advisor for the 2010, 2013 and 2015 United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Information Security and has led a long-running Track II dialogue on cybersecurity with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

One sign of how important space is to military operations, particularly U.S. military operations, is that the countries who are our most likely military opponents, particularly China and Russia, are investing tens of millions of dollars in a range of technologies intended to degrade or destroy satellites and space capabilities. 

National security and military space operations fall into three broad categories: communications, reconnaissance, and precision navigation.  Each is essential for warfighting.  The benefits they provide are intangible in the sense that we are not talking about weapons or physical effect.  Space creates an informational advantage.  The U.S. is more dependent than most nations, but this dependence is part of what makes U.S. forces so formidable. 

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