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Space, Missiles, Cyberspace Changing Military Power

Space, Missiles, Cyberspace Changing Military Power

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) November 14, 2001 -- Even before Sept. 11, the world was changing. A Navy admiral and Army lieutenant general addressed the role of military power in this changing environment during the Fletcher Conference here Nov. 14.

Rear Adm. Kathleen K. Paige told the audience of senior military and civilian officials that Sept. 11 exposed the dangers America faces. Paige, systems technical director at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said the attacks in New York and Washington hammered home the point that ballistic missiles are terrorist weapons.

Army Lt. Gen. Edward G. Anderson III, deputy commander in chief of U.S. Space Command, said American ability to control space and cyberspace will determine whether U.S. combatant commanders will succeed.

Paige said DoD recognized nearly a decade ago -- following Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War and post-war inspections imposed on Iraq -- that weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them could pose a true asymmetrical threat to the United States. Defending against such a threat is a change in the military mission.

DoD has refocused and revitalized its missile defense program, she noted. It is now a broad-based research, development and testing effort aimed at deployment.

She said the events of Sept. 11 showed the nation that missile defense is necessary to defend against terrorist threats. The number of countries developing ballistic missiles has skyrocketed over the last 30 years, and any such missile can be a terrorist weapon regardless of its range.

A short-range missile, she said, could fly from Iraq to Tel Aviv. A medium-range missile can reach from North Korea to Japan. An intermediate-range missile could hit London from Libya. An intercontinental missile can hit the United States from anywhere around the globe.

The U.S. ballistic missile defense effort no longer differentiates between theater and strategic missiles, Paige said.

Further, the United States is trying to develop the ability to shoot down missiles in all stages of flight -- boost- phase, mid-flight and terminal. The United States must meet this challenge, she said, because the melding of terrorism, missiles and weapons of mass destruction could mean tens of thousands of casualties in the next attack. Missile defense is important, Paige said, because it allows America to address the "unknowns" it will confront in the changing world.

Anderson said space and cyberspace are absolutely crucial to U.S. military success. Regional commanders in chief no longer view space and cyberspace as "enablers," he said, but as core warfighting competencies.

Anderson said U.S. Space Command is working to provide U.S. Central Command with real-time situational awareness for its fight in Afghanistan. Space Command links warfighters across long distances, provides navigation and timing, and helps with terrestrial and space weather and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information.

American military power depends on the United States remaining a leader in space and information superiority, Anderson said. "We will be challenged," he remarked.

He discussed some promising technologies. He mentioned a space-based moving target indicator that would permit surveillance without the need for overflight rights or landing permissions. Another technology is hyperspectral imagery, which can see through camouflage.

Anderson wants DoD to examine space-based laser communications "to give us the opportunity to move bulk information both into and out of the theater of operations.

"We must translate these technologies," he said. "We need to translate them into our joint and combined forces. We need real-time communications between sensors and shooters and shooters and commanders. A global area of operations requires global reach."


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).