15 November 2005
Vandenberg AFB's role in space warfare often is touted by Air Force Space Command as though it plays a stabilizing role in global military affairs. Because
the United States dominates space use and dominates the planet in both political and military dimensions, it would be a misnomer to call this "stabilizing" in any event. But there are
particular destabilizing elements to Vandenberg's missions in space.
First, Vandenberg is a key launch site for ground-based missiles in the nation's missile-defense program. It also is a test site for other elements of the Missile Defense Agency's air-, sea-, land-, and space-based missile-defense weapons. Since Robert McNamara first proposed the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in 1967, there has been a general recognition by military experts that so-called "missile defense" actually serves offensive purposes, by making first-strike nuclear weapons more useable in real-world battlefield conditions. Since the US emerged as a unilateral superpower in the early 1990s, the single-sided offensive nature of missile-defense weapons has only been enhanced. George Bush's abrogation of the ABM Treaty and his promotion of multi-tiered missile defense is only a part of his administration's scheme to dominate the planet - it plays no role in defending the homeland.
Second, Vandenberg is the primary launch site for many types of spy satellites used to take pictures, collect radar images, and listen in on electronic communications from Earth's orbit. Most recently, the last of the Titan-IV missiles launched a KH-12 Advanced Crystal imaging satellite from Vandenberg. In the bipolar Cold War period, spy satellites often were seen as the "means of verification" to allow arms-control treaties to be signed. But since 1993, the Pentagon's TENCAP program (Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities) has put all spy-satellite duties directly in the service of battlefield war-fighters. In fact, the nation's technical intelligence agencies, such as the National Reconnaissance Office and National Security Agency, no longer say they work for arms control, but instead say they "serve
In short, Vandenberg's space missions do nothing for global stabilization, and everything to further the mission of solving our nation's problems through aggressive warfare.
Loring Wirbel, of Citizens for Peace in Space , author of "Star
Wars: US Tools of Space Supremacy"
Citizen's for Peace in Space November Newsletter (600KB PDF file)