DoD, intel community issue new space strategy

Monday - 2/7/2011, 6:55am EST

WFED's Jared Serbu

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By Jared Serbu
Reporter
Federal News Radio

A new National Security Space Strategy released Friday aims to keep an ever-more-crowded and contested earth orbit safe and stable while also protecting and growing U.S. industries that support the nation's ventures into space.

The document includes promises to change the way the military acquires space technology - vowing a more streamlined approach that delivers capabilities on time and on budget.

DoD and the intelligence community will work together to "better manage investments across portfolios to ensure the industrial base can sustain those critical technologies and skills that produce the systems we require. Additionally, we will continue to explore a mix of capabilities with shorter development cycles to minimize delays, cut cost growth, and enable more rapid technology maturation, innovation, and exploitation," the strategy stated.

It represents both the U.S.'s 10-year strategy for space, and the final step of a Congressionally-mandated space posture review. It is the first space strategy signed by both the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence.

The strategy identifies three objectives:

  • To boost safety and security in space
  • To maintain the national security advantages the nation derives from space
  • To strengthen the U.S. space industrial base.

Gregory Schulte, DoD's deputy assistant secretary for space policy said the strategy also emphasizes the need to encourage other countries to behave responsibly in space. It sets out the U.S. intent to work cooperatively with allies to leverage one another's capabilities, both government and commercial.

"We're operating with others - many allies, many partners, some potential adversaries," Schulte said in a conference call with reporters Friday. "There are more competitors and countries that are launching satellites, which provide challenges to our industrial base, but also provide opportunities for cooperation. And we increasingly have to worry about countries developing counter-space capabilities that could be used against the peaceful use of space."

Schulte said the only standing legal regime governing space is the 1967 outer space treaty. One potential 21st century update to that is a proposed code of conduct for outer space activities. Schulte said it's something the U.S. is looking at, but no decision has been made.

The Washington Times reported Thursday that a group of almost 40 Republican senators are concerned about such a pact - they've sent a letter to the Secretary of State demanding information on any talks that have gone on up to this point, the newspaper reported.

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