By Bruce K. Gagnon

During the last presidential campaign George W. Bush called for the creation of a “21st Century” military capability.  He was speaking about the development of new weapons systems like the space-based laser (SBL).  He asked Congress for, and got, $8.3 billion in 2002 for research and development (R & D) to bring these systems into reality.

The Space Command’s planning document Vision for 2020 and the 2001 Rumsfeld Commission report calls for U.S.  “control and domination” of space.  The controversial reports call on the U.S. to develop the weapons capability to “deny” other countries access to space.

The Bush administration, and its aerospace corporation allies, understand that they cannot say that the U.S. will “control and dominate” space.  By selling the new Star Wars program as “missile defense” Bush hopes to disguise U.S. intentions to move the arms race into the heavens.

Missile defense is a Trojan horse.  The Pentagon tells the American people, and the rest of the world, that it wants to protect us from attack by a rogue state that might send a nuclear weapon toward the U.S.  Over and over again the proponents of Star Wars say that the U.S. is defenseless!

The recent appointment by Bush of General Richard Meyers to be the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is an indication of the direction the Pentagon is heading.  Gen. Meyers, the former head of the U.S. Space Command, will be responsible for consolidating support for the nuclearization and weaponization of space within the military and selling it to the Congress and the public.

Remembering that the number one industrial export of the U.S. today is weapons, it is clear that the aerospace industry stands to make historic profits if Americans can be convinced to spend their hard earned tax dollars on Star Wars.  It is possible to conclude that before it is finished, the new Star Wars program will cost many hundreds of billions of dollars.  (Already over $120 billion has been wasted on space weapons development since the Eisenhower administration began work on the technologies with the help of ex-Nazi rocket scientists following WW II.) 

Knowing that recent tax cuts will eat up the national budget surplus, it is easy to see that  further funding for Star Wars will be paid for by raiding human needs programs like Social Security, health care, family farm subsidies, education, day care, and the like.  Funding for the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act struggles to survive with a meager $6 million annual appropriation while Star Wars rages on.


When weapons are your number one industrial export, what is your global marketing strategy?  Try regional instability.  Today the U.S. arms all sides in the Middle East and the region is in total chaos.  The U.S. is now moving to create the same situation in the Asian-Pacific region by expanding U.S. military operations in that part of the world and by selling weapons to South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and more.

The Washington Post, in a May 26, 2000 article, stated that the U.S. will now begin to “manage China”.  Today the U.S. is widening and lengthening the runways on Guam and Wake Island in the Pacific to handle the B-1 and B-2 bombers.  Cruise missiles are being prepositioned on Guam and a new program, Theatre Missile Defense (TMD), is being planned for deployment surrounding China.

China has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the continental U.S. while we have 7,500 that could “hit” China back.  Unlike Russia, which is now fully under the control of the IMF and World Bank and is virtually surrounded by an expanding NATO, China remains the one independent actor in the world today not fully under U.S. corporate control.

TMD systems would be forward deployed in the air, on land, and sea and would allow the U.S. to virtually surround the coastal regions of China.  TMD systems are designed to immediately hit missiles that are launched in what is called their  
”boost phase”.  Deploying TMD systems around China will force them to decide if they should respond by increasing their own military capability thus giving the U.S. weapons industry the gift it is after – a new enemy and the justification for a new arms race.

The U.S. is also working with Israel and Turkey to introduce TMD systems into the Middle East, which will also provoke other regional powers to expand their capability to counter the TMD systems.  All TMD systems will be coordinated via satellite technology in space.

Two years ago the U.S. Space Command held a simulated computer warfare “game” set in the year 2017.  The “Blues” (U.S.) went to war against the “Reds” (China).  The Blue team launched a preemptive first-strike attack on China using the military space plane, the planned successor to NASA’s space shuttle.  The space-based laser (SBL) was used as the second military tool to destroy the Reds.

With the current war of reprisals against Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan, it is possible to speculate even further on this new strategy of the Pentagon.  Afghanistan (which has large deposits of natural gas and coal) is bordered on the north by Turkmenistan (natural gas), Uzbekistan (world’s largest single gold mine, oil, natural gas, coal and uranium), and Tajikistan (uranium).  It is not hard to imagine the U.S. and NATO setting up “permanent bases” in the region to wipe out “terrorism” that would in the end give the U.S. control of these resources.  And, looking at a map of the region, it is easy to see the proximity of this region to the borders of China and Russia.


The SBL is a resurrected technology from Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars vision that would be an orbiting battle station whose laser would knock out other countries’ satellites in space and hit targets on the Earth below.  Last December the Pentagon announced the start of the SBL testing program at NASA’s Stennis Missile Center in southwest Mississippi.  By the year 2012 they hope to deploy the first operational SBL to be eventually followed by a constellation of 18-48 of the weapons orbiting the planet.  Power for the SBL would be provided by on-board nuclear reactors.  The Pentagon estimates the SBL testing program will cost over $30 billion.

Lockheed Martin, TRW, Boeing, and Raytheon are the top four Star Wars contractors.  Their campaign contributions to Republicans and Democrats alike have paved the road for nearly unchallenged appropriations of research and development (R & D) funding for the many different space technologies now under way. 

Today we hear many leading Democrats say they are opposed to deployment of National Missile Defense (NMD), the system designed to protect the continental U.S. from attack by hitting a bullet with a bullet while the “offending” missile is high above in deep space.  (Interestingly, the Democrats voted overwhelmingly in support of deployment of missile defense in April, 1999.  The House voted 345-71 and the Senate 97-3.)  While Democrats routinely claim opposition to deployment of NMD they strongly support deployment of Theatre Missile Defense (TMD)  and they are pushing the “robust” R & D program for the whole Star Wars system.


The political consensus that TMD should be deployed in the Middle East and Asia has to be linked to global corporate interventionist policies that both political parties wholeheartedly endorse.  Calling TMD “a way to protect our troops and our ships” Washington views TMD as the shield to protect U.S. forces that currently enable unfettered U.S. access to oil. 

The underlying issue at hand is U.S. corporate global control and domination.  The U.S. Space Command is viewed as the new military arm of the corporate globalization effort.  The Vision for 2020 states that due to current economic realities the gap between “haves and have nots” will be widening in coming years.  As a result, the Space Command suggests that there will be more regional instability as workers organize to oppose slave labor working conditions and a loss of democratic rights.  By developing the new 21st Century program of “control and domination” from space, the U.S. Pentagon intends to suppress any “regional” hot spots without having to commit major troop deployments.

Plan Columbia today is coordinated by U.S. military space satellites (also at the cost of hundreds of billions of dollars) that are able to identify movements of fighters on the ground and direct attacks against them.  All warfare on the Earth is now coordinated from space.  Those who control space will be in a position to control the Earth – thus the Space Command’s motto “Master of Space.”

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has been working since 1992 to create a new consciousness about space and how it is being used for U.S. military control of the Earth.  When we look up at that beautiful moon on a clear night we must remember that for centuries our relations have wondered at the mysteries of the heavens.  We must create a global movement that says we shall not move the bad seed of war into space.  We must keep space for peace.

Bruce K. Gagnon is the International Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.  The Vietnam-era veteran coordinated the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice for 15 years and organized the Cancel Cassini Campaign to oppose the launch of plutonium into space.


The following resources may be obtained from the Global Network:

  • Space Organizers Packet - $6 (includes a copy of Vision for 2020)
  • Karl Grossman’s new book entitled Weapons in Space - $8
  • Bruce Gagnon’s video of his Keep Space for Peace presentation - $18
  • Check the Global Network website at:

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space  PO Box 90083, Gainesville, FL. 32607, (352) 337-9274,

The contents herein are Copyright 1999, Global Network/Bruce Gagnon, the article may be reproduced for non-profit purposes as long as the source is recognised, otherwise reproduction can be arranged through the Global Network.

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