Officials Update Congress on Military Space Policy
Officials Update Congress on
Military Space Policy, Challenges
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C.
Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– March 12, 2014 –If potential adversaries are to challenge the United States,
they must do so in the space domain, the Defense Department’s top space policy
official told Congress here today.
Douglas L. Loverro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for
space policy, joined by Air Force Gen. William L. Shelton, commander of Air
Force Space Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s
strategic forces subcommittee on the department’s space program posture. “Over
the last 15 years, other nations have watched us closely,” he said. “They have
recognized that if they are to challenge the United States, they must challenge
us in space. And they are endeavoring to do so. The United States has
successfully addressed such challenges before in air, sea and land domains, and
now we must, likewise, respond in space.”
This must be done against the backdrop of decreasing budgets
that challenges both the ability and speed with which the United States can act,
he said, adding that this in no way diminishes the importance of successfully
sustaining the crucial advantages that space provides. “Our strategic approach
for these issues remains consistent with what we outlined in the 2011 National
Security Space Strategy and reaffirmed in DOD space policy in 2012,” Loverro
While Loverro acknowledged he is concerned about the
contested nature of space, he said it remains important to national defense.
“Space remains, and will continue to remain, vital to our national security,” he
added. “It underpins DOD capabilities worldwide at every level of engagement,
from humanitarian assistance to the highest levels of combat. It enables U.S.
operations to be executed with precision on a global basis with reduced
resources, fewer deployed troops, fewer casualties and decreased collateral
Space empowers U.S. forces and allies to win faster and to
bring more warfighters home safety, he said. “It’s a key to U.S. power
projection,” Loverro said, “providing a strong deterrent to our potential
adversaries and a source of confidence to our allies.”
But the evolving strategic environment increasingly
challenges U.S. space advantages, he said, because space no longer is the sole
province of world powers -- it is a frontier that is now open to all. Space has
become more competitive, congested and contested, Loverro said, referring to
that condition as the “so-called three C’s.” As an American, he said, he
welcomes the competitive aspect of today’s space environment. “I’m highly
confident that, with the right policies, the U.S. is well positioned to remain
ahead in that environment,” Loverro said.
The changes Congress authorized two years ago on export
control reform, Loverro said, coupled with changes NASA and DOD have embraced on
commercial launch, are just two of the many reasons he isn’t concerned with the
competitive nature of space. “On the second ‘C,’ congestion, I am not quite so
welcoming,” he said. “But I am optimistic. Congestion and debris in space is a
real issue, and it threatens to put our use of space at risk.”
Loverro praised efforts such as the Air Force’s Space Fence
program that are aimed at reducing this risk, as well as the work DOD, the State
Department and the United Nations are doing internationally to set “rules of the
road” for outer space. The space situational awareness sharing that U.S.
Strategic Command is leading, he said, also is aimed at bringing a similar focus
on this issue to the community of space-faring nations.
Shelton voiced similar concerns regarding the contested
margin of U.S. advantage in space. “Our nation’s advantage in space is no longer
a given,” he said. “The ever-evolving space environment is increasingly
contested, as potential adversary capabilities grow in both number and
The general said providing budget stability and flexibility in the dynamic,
strategic space environment is necessary to maintain and bolster the viability
of the nation’s space capabilities.
“Given this new normal for space, I believe that we are at a
strategic crossroads,” he said. It is a reality that requires us to address how
we protect our space systems, challenge traditional acquisitions practices and
consider alternative architectures that are more resilient and more affordable.”
Shelton thanked the committee for supporting the military
space program. “I look forward to working with the Congress to keep you abreast
of our efforts to provide resilient, capable and affordable space capabilities
for the joint force and for the nation,” he added.
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone
Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS) :
Douglas L. Loverro
Air Force Gen. William L. Shelton
Air Force Space Command
Special Report: National Space Strategy