18 June 2009
Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth
Rick Rozoff

On June 17, immediately after the historical ninth heads of state summit of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Yekaterinburg, Russia on the
preceding two days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu
Jintao announced that their nations were drafting a joint treaty to ban the
deployment of weapons in outer space to be presented to the United Nations
General Assembly.

A statement by the presidents reflected a common purpose to avoid the
militarization of space and said:

"Russia and China advocate peaceful uses of outer space and oppose the prospect
of it being turned into a new area for deploying weapons.

"The sides will actively facilitate practical work on a draft treaty on the
prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space, and of the use of force
or threats to use force against space facilities, and will continue an intensive
coordination of efforts to guarantee the security of activities in outer space."

The statement also addressed the question of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) and its global expansion as well as an integrally related
danger, the US-led drive to development a worldwide - and more than worldwide -
interceptor missile system aimed at neutralizing China's and Russia's deterrent
and retaliation capacities in the event of a first strike attack on either or

The section of the joint communique addressing the above stated, "Russia and
China regard international security as integral and comprehensive. The security
of some states cannot be ensured at the expense of others, including the
expansion of military-political alliances or the creation of global or regional
missile defense systems." [2]

The two leaders' comments assumed greater gravity and legitimacy as Medvedev and
Hu had both just attended the two-day SCO summit which included heads of states
and other representatives of the SCO's six full members [China, Russia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), its four observer states
(India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, with the heads of state of all but Mongolia
participating, the first time for an Indian prime minister), the president of
Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, and attendees from Belarus and Sri Lanka, the latter
also for the first time at an SCO summit.

The statement by the Russian and Chinese presidents also came the day after the
first-ever heads of state summit of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China)
nations in the same Russian city.

To confirm the seriousness and urgency of Hu's and Medvedev's concerns over the
expansion of the arms race and potential armed conflict into space, on the same
day as their statement was released Russian Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir
Popovkin addressed a press conference in Moscow and issued comments that were
summarized by the local media as "Russia warns that technology failure with
weapons in space may accidentally invite a massive response amounting to nuclear

He warned that his nation's "response to American weapons in orbit would be
asymmetric but adequate." [3]

Popovkin's comments were revealing in a number of ways, reflecting as they did
on the manner in which the United States twenty years ago became the sole world
superpower it has been until recently:

"There is a more adequate answer to the possible deployment by the USA of
weapons in outer space; we do not have to deploy in space expensive armaments
for it.

"To have weapons of your own for waging space wars, you have to understand first
why you need them there. We've already passed the 'Star Wars' epic, and know
well how it ended - in the breakup of the Soviet Union.

"Russia has a more adequate answer to the possible deployment by the USA of
weapons in space, but we have no need to deploy in space expensive armaments for
it; the answer will be absolutely asymmetric." [4]

A week earlier Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of Russia's
Strategic Missile Forces, said that a "new strategic arms reduction pact with
the United States must prohibit any kinds of offensive weapons in space," and
expounded on his nation's concerns by adding:

"Our country is interested in including limitations not only on the number of
nuclear warheads, but also on the number of their delivery vehicles in the new
arms reduction treaty. We also stand for maintaining the ban on the deployment
of strategic weapons, offensive and defensive, outside national borders, the
prohibition of any kinds of offensive weapons in space, and a more efficient use
of inspection and data exchange mechanisms established in line with the START 1
treaty." [5]

Contrariwise, the very same day two US congressmen, Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH)
and Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA), introduced a NATO First Act in the Congress that
calls for among other demands that a proposed arms reduction treaty with Russia
"not reduce or limit U.S. ballistic missile defenses, space, or advanced
conventional weapons capabilities." [6]

Six days before that Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the US Joint
Chiefs of Staff, in speaking about the Pentagon's Prompt Global Strike program,
said that he "continues to press for development of a new weapon that would
allow Washington to take out a fleeting target in a manner of minutes.

"The Marine Corps general said he has concluded conventionally armed bombers are
'too slow and too intrusive' for many 'global strike missions.'

"Cartwright for several years has advocated for a 'prompt global strike'

Asserting (or advocating) that "Over the next few years, the U.S. military is
likely to become engaged in a number of hot and cold conflicts, each spanning
five to 10 years," Cartwright said that "The military might need a 'hypersonic'
weapon that would travel in the exoatmosphere to take out a limited number of
fleeting targets...." [7]

For exoatmospheric read space.

Earlier in the year, on March 31, 2009 to be exact, top American military
officials attended the 25th National Space Symposium at the Maxwell-Gunter Air
Force Base in Alabama, the same state that hosts the US Missile Defense Agency
in Huntsville.

With the head of the American military, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, present, "A new Special Area of Emphasis topic titled
Space as a Contested Environment, was introduced by U.S. military officials...."

The Air University's National Space Studies Center's Col. Sean D. McClung
underscored the main theme of the meeting in stating "[A]bove all other
communities, the military needs to understand implications of space as a
contested environment and how to protect America's interests." [8]

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, the commander of the Air Force Space Command, was quoted
in an Air Force report entitled "Spherical battlespace is new theater of
operation" as saying:

"I think for far too long we have looked at our conception of future battlespace
by standing on the ground and looking up - I think that might be the wrong way
to look."

The report also says that for the Special Area of Emphasis, Space as a Contested
Environment concept although "the connection between space and cyberspace may be
unclear to many outside of these career fields, to those within the space
community, the connection is clear," and "The realization that space and
cyberspace are inextricably linked is evidenced by the planned creation of a
cyber-focused numbered air force under Air Force Space Command." [9]

To make clear what the Pentagon means and what it intends, earlier this May the
head of the US Strategic Command, Gen. Kevin Chilton, "insisted that all strike
options, including nuclear, would remain available to the commander in chief in
defending the nation from cyber strikes" and "said he could not rule out the
possibility of a military salvo against a nation like China, even though Beijing
has nuclear arms." [10]

For the past two years numerous US and NATO officials have conjured up the
threat of employing NATO's Article 5 mutual military assistance - that is, war -
clause against alleged cyber attacks of the sort experienced in Estonia in the
spring of 2007. The unnamed but unquestioned target of such an action is Russia.

That nation released its new National Security Strategy in the middle of last
month in which "it warned that missile defense plans and prospects to develop
space-based weapons remain a top threat to Russia's security." [11]

A month before Lieutenant General Yevgeny Buzhinsky, deputy head of the Russian
Defence Ministry's chief department for international military cooperation, said
that "The United States has already launched the process of militarization of
outer space."

Referring to the Bush administration's U.S. National Space Policy of August 31,
2006, a follow up to that of Clinton's 1996 version, Buzhinsky said, "The new
doctrine adds a tougher and more unilateral nature to these actions.

"Russian military experts see in this doctrine a disguised bid by the US for the
weaponization of outer space. Anti-satellite weapons make an integral part of
the U.S. missile defence system." [12]

The U.S. National Space Policy of 2006 states that "In this new century, those
who effectively utilize space will enjoy added prosperity and security and will
hold a substantial advantage over those who do not. Freedom of action in space
is as important to the United States as air power and sea power. In order to
increase knowledge, discovery, economic prosperity, and to enhance the national
security, the United States must have robust, effective, and efficient space

It further identifies goals of the policy to include the intention to:

>Strengthen the nation’s space leadership and ensure that space capabilities
are available in time to further U.S. national security, homeland security, and
foreign policy objectives

>Enable unhindered U.S. operations in and through space to defend our interests

>Develop and deploy space capabilities that sustain U.S. advantage and support
defense and intelligence transformation

>Provide, as launch agent for both the defense and intelligence sectors,
reliable, affordable, and timely space access for national security purposes

>Support military planning and satisfy operational requirements as a major
intelligence mission [13]

The same Russian general quoted above cited as an example of Washington's space
war plans the Pentagon's downing of an American spy satellite in February of
2008, allegedly because it had become disabled. General Buzhinsky said, "Despite
the statements of some U.S. officials that the satellite's destruction had to be
performed once only to minimize risks for life and the health of people, many
analysts are of another opinion. They believe that the U.S. tested a new type of
weapons capable of destroying spacecraft." [14]

A year later, February of 2009, an American and Russian satellite were reported
to have collided over northeastern Russia. Shortly afterward retired Russian
general and former head of the nation's military space intelligence Leonid
Shershnev asserted that the collision "may have been a test of new U.S.
technology to intercept and destroy satellites rather than an accident."

Shershnev's contentions were characterized in a Russian media report of early
March as suggesting "the U.S. satellite involved in the collision was used by
the U.S. military as part of the 'dual-purpose' Orbital Express research
project, which began in 2007.

"Orbital Express was a space mission managed by the United States Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a team led by engineers at NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

"The February collision could be an indication that the U.S. has successfully
developed such technology and is capable of manipulating 'hostile satellites,'
including their destruction, with a single command from a ground control
center." [15]

An Associated Press report published shortly after the above said that:

"The Kremlin has criticized U.S. plans for space-based weapons, saying they
could trigger a new arms race. Russia and China have pushed for an international
agreement banning space weapons, but their proposals have been rejected by the
United States.

"As part of missile defense plans developed by the previous U.S. administration,
the Pentagon worked on missiles, ground lasers and other technology to shoot
down satellites." [16]

Two days later Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke at a disarmament
conference in Geneva, Switzerland and warned that "an arms race in outer space
is inadmissible," adding that "Prevention of an arms race in space will
contribute to ensuring the predictability of the strategic situation" and "We
plan, jointly with China, to submit to your consideration soon a document
generalizing the results of discussions that have taken place at the
conference." [17]

Lavrov had made a similar appeal at the annual Munich Security Conference in
February when in addition to first voicing Russia's call for a banning of all
nuclear weapons being stationed outside the borders of their owners he said that
a new START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] accord also "must ban the
militarization of space." [18]

Global, Orbital First Strike Potential: NATO And Asian NATO Partners

NATO's unswerving fidelity to Pentagon initiatives and diktat doesn't require
substantiation, but if it did this statement by its Secretary General Jaap de
Hoop Scheffer on March 11 would further underscore the fact: "Given the vital
role that space and satellites now play within our cyber networks, should we not
also start to follow activities in space more closely and consider the
implications for our security?" [19]

Plans for the expansion of military hardware, both surveillance and kinetic
weapons (missiles), into outer space are not distinct from but inextricably
connected with parallel American and NATO global interceptor missile systems.
So-called missile shield facilities already in place or in the process of being
stationed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway and Britain and their
counterparts in Alaska, Japan, Australia and South Korea in the east are to be
integrated with space components so that both NATO and what has come to be
called Asian NATO will provide radar and ground-based interceptor missile sites,
as will Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus and Israel in the Middle
East in the future.

Many of the above-named nations also possess and will base sea-launched missile
killing interceptors on Aegis class destroyers and can host new generation US
stealth warplanes designed to penetrate deep into the interior of nations like
China and Russia to destroy strategic targets, including silo-based long-range
missiles and mobile missile launchers.

This past April Japan announced that its "first strategic space policy will
focus on improving missile launch detection abilities" after the passage and
implementation of a Basic Space Law last August and that "As many as 34
satellites - twice the current number - will be launched between fiscal 2009 and
2013...." [20]

Last month Australia revealed that not only was it planning to build and launch
its own space satellites but that it also "wants to create a new cadre of
military space experts inside the Australian Defence Forces," citing Japan as "a
good example of the learning process that a new 21st century military space
power has to go through." [21]

Recently the Pentagon has also activated new equipment to facilitate the
interaction between spaced-based surveillance and earth-based interceptor
missile systems.

In April the US Defense Department launched a new-generation military satellite,
the Wideband Global Satellite Communication satellite, into space.

A US military website said of the new acquisition that "These satellites are
designed to provide high-capacity communications to U.S. military forces. It
will augment and eventually replace the Defense Satellite Communication System."

The missile used to launch the satellite into orbit, an Atlas V rocket, is
described in the same report: "The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch
Vehicles has achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch
Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station." [23]

The increasingly integrated - to the point of inseparability - work of the
Defense Department in general, the US Missile Defense Agency and NASA [National
Aeronautics and Space Administration] demonstrates the emphasis that Washington
places on the militarization of space and the potential use of it for
warfighting purposes.

Eighteen days before Barack Obama was inaugurated the 44th president of the
United States the Bloomberg news agency reported that the incoming chief
executive would "tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian
and military space programs" and that "Obama’s transition team is considering
a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration...." [24]

As further confirmation of this obscuring of the distinction between civilian
and military uses of space, in May it was reported that "A Delta II rocket
managed by NASA's Launch Services Program lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force
Base, CA., Tuesday with a spacecraft for the United States Missile Defense

"The spacecraft is called the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced
Technology Risk Reduction mission, or STSS-ATRR." [25]

The Vandenberg Air Force Base is routinely employed for long-range interceptor
missile tests in the Pacific Ocean in coordination with a 28-story sea-based
X-Band radar periodically stationed in the Aleutian Islands near the coast of

The Space Tracking and Surveillance System spacecraft is part of a Ballistic
Missile Defense System space sensor layer which "provide[s] combatant commanders
with the ability to continuously track strategic and tactical ballistic missiles
from launch through termination." [26]

Weeks earlier the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces
Strategic Command, also in Huntsville, Alabama, received flight-ready
nanosatellites from Ducommun Incorporated, which event marked "the completion of
the first U.S. Army satellite development program since the Courier 1B
communications satellite in 1960." [27]

Space War: United States Against The World

In December of 2001 the George W. Bush administration announced that it would
withdraw the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty,
with Bush stating, "we no longer live in the Cold War world for which the ABM
Treaty was designed."

Six months later it formally did so and at the same time "the Pentagon [was] set
to break ground...at Fort Greely, Alaska, on the previously prohibited
construction of six underground silos for missile interceptors." [28]

An Indian analyst said that "The U.S. withdrawal in 2001 from the Anti-Ballistic
Missile (ABM) Treaty has raised concerns, especially among the Russians and the
Chinese, about its intentions in space.

"Ballistic missile defence systems, whether ground-based, airborne or
space-based, can also potentially target satellites.

"[T]he U.S. abrogated the ABM Treaty and there was a lot of emphasis on space
control, on limiting [space] access to others, which were totally in
contravention of the spirit of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967." [29]

The same pattern of arbitrariness and recklessness has been pursued by
Washington in relation to the weaponization of space.

Russia and China have for years introduced resolutions in the United Nations
calling for the prohibition of weapons in space and against the use of space for
military purposes. The US has just as consistently opposed their efforts.

Last September Russia renewed its call to preserve outer space as a zone of
peace. After a meeting with Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin his Russian
counterpart Sergey Lavrov urged European nations to join efforts to avoid an
extraterrestrial arms race, saying, “It is high time to discuss the problem,
and it is crucial that countries with the ability to contribute to its solution
take part in the negotiations, especially European nations.”

The report from which the above emanated offered this perspective: "Along with
the US missile shield program and the idea of a blitzkrieg, an outer space arms
race is among the major destabilizing factors for global security." [30]

A Russian analytical news site reported at the same time that the danger of
space war was potentially catastrophic and was being pursued without regard to
its consequences:

"[T]he true reason behind the American plans for global anti-ballistic missile
defense and space militarization [is that the] United States believes that over
the next two to three decades, it can beat the others (Russia and China) in
these spheres and gain a decisive strategic military advantage.

"A frightening Cold-War-type arms race to counter the U.S. missile defense
systems and militarization of space is about to take off in earnest....This arms
race is perhaps as dangerous as the Cold War one. This time, however, the
trigger is in the hands of only one party – the U.S. establishment.

"Unfortunately, the signs are that the United States is already pulling the
trigger." [31]

The above echoed comparable concerns voiced by Chinese military experts three
months before. In a book published by the government's China Arms Control and
Disarmament Association, two armed forces experts stated that “Strategic
confrontation in outer space is difficult to avoid. The development of outer
space forces shows signs that a space arms race to seize the commanding heights
is emerging.

"Dominated by the idea of absolute domination of outer space, a major power is
making a big fuss about space domination, creating rivals and provoking
confrontation.” [32]

In a stark warning last October, veteran Russian journalist Valentin Zorin said
that "The new arms race will be incomplete without plans for the weaponization
of outer space" and "U.S. attempts to turn outer space into a third field of
combat operations may prove as dangerous as the American decision to use a
nuclear device on August, 1945." [33]

Remarking on the fact that in the United Nations General Assembly 166 nations
had voted for the Russian and Chinese proposal to ban the militarization of
space a week earlier, Russian analyst Alexei Arbatov was quoted as saying last
winter that "Washington does plan to deploy its ABM system elements in
near-Earth orbits, and it is only Russia that can counter such plans." [34]

Late last November Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, again urged "UN
member-states to join the moratorium on the deployment of weapons in outer
space" and "mentioned that it is on Russia’s initiative that the UN General
Assembly has been adopting resolutions, for many years now, aimed at the
prevention of the arms race in space. The only one who objected to the adoption
of this resolution was the United States...." [35]

A commentary on the US's lone opposition to the resolution reminded readers that
"This year it was only the US delegate who voted against a resolution to that
end as the US ABM defence programme is known to provide, among other things, for
deploying ABM system elements in outer space.

"This actually means that Washington sees space as a potential operations

The same source provided this editorial recommendation:

"The United States action can only be described as unilateral and undermining
international and strategic stability, actions that could eventually result in
another stage of the arms race.

"Before it is too late, one should seriously consider ways to prevent the arms
race from being extended to outer space." [36]

Last December Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of the Russian
Strategic Missile Forces, stated that the United States "is seriously
considering space as a potential sphere of armed struggle and hence is not
giving up plans of deploying strike means in space."

He is paraphrased as adding "that the US assumes first strike capabilities and
that any attack would wipe out retaliation." [37]

That is, the militarization of space can result in a nuclear conflagration on
earth not only by accident or the law of unintended consequences but fully by

If the US plan is, by a combination of ground, sea and air delivery systems, to
destroy any ability to retaliate after a devastating first blow, the Russian
general warned of what in fact would ensue:

"The Americans will never manage to implement this scenario because Russian
strategic nuclear forces, including the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, will
be capable of delivering a retaliatory strike given any course of developments.

"After receiving authorization from the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the
Russian Armed Forces it will not take our strategic missile force more than
two-three minutes to carry out the task of launching missiles." [38]

What Solovtsov has described is the nightmare humanity has dreaded since the
advent of the nuclear age: An exchange of nuclear-tipped intercontinental
missiles. One that might result from an attack launched at least partially from
space and in one manner or other in relation to space-based military assets.

An analogous warning was issued last year by the then commander of Russia’s
Space Forces, General Vladimir Popovkin, who said, "Space is one of the few
places around not yet separated by borders, and any kind of military deployments
there would upset the existing balance of forces on our planet.” [39]

This past March American space researcher Matt Hoey stated that an arms race in
space would be "increasing the risk of an accidental nuclear war while
shortening the time for sanity and diplomacy to come into play to halt crises."

"If these systems are deployed in space we will be tipping the nuclear balance
between nations that has ensured the peace for decades.

"The military space race will serve the defense industry much like the cold war
and this is already being witnessed in relation to missile defense systems."

Regarding the interconnection between missile defense and spaced-based first
strike capabilities, the following indicates what the ultimate Pentagon plan

"If [the missile defense system] is fully deployed (as three echelons of
ground-, sea-, and air/space-based), the United States will regain the
capability (for the first time since the 1940s-1950s) of launching a destructive
first strike at Russia without fear of retaliation.

"The several dozen Russian missiles likely to survive a combined attack by
nuclear and conventional forces (including precision weapons capable of
destroying fortified launching sites), and hence meant to provide the
retaliatory 'deterrent' strike, would be an easy target for a fully deployed
combat-ready missile defense system." [41]

This March Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in
Washington said of the militarization of space that "the fallout could be
tremendous." He told a major daily that the dangers "are in fact so cataclysmic
that arms control advocates like himself would simply seek to prohibit the use
of weapons beyond the earth’s atmosphere." [42]

In a week when the United Nations reports that over a billion children are
threatened by war on the planet and the world's largest arms merchant, Lockheed
Martin, boasts of preparing to sell over 6,000 advanced stealth warplanes to the
Pentagon and its allies, humanity has enough to contend with on earth without
facing the additional threat of war from the heavens.

1) Interfax, June 17, 2009
2) Itar-Tass, June 17, 2009
3) Voice of Russia, June 17, 2009
4) Itar-Tass, June 17, 2009
5) Russian Information Agency Novosti, June 10, 2009
6) American Chronicle, Congressional Desk, June 11, 2009
7) Defense News, June 4, 2009
8) Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, March 30, 2009
9) Maxwell-Gunter Dispatch, April 14, 2009
10) Global Security, May 12, 2009
11) Associated Press, May 13, 2009
12) Itar-Tass, April 3, 2009
13) U.S. National Space Policy, August 31, 2006
14) Itar-Tass, April 3, 2009
15) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 3, 2009
16) Associated Press, March 5, 2009
17) Russian Information Agency Novosti, March 7, 2009
18) Itar-Tass, February 6, 2009
19) NATO International, March 11, 2009
20) Mainichi Daily News, April 28, 2009
21) Space Review, May 11, 2009
22) Air Force Link, American Forces Press Service, April 4, 2009
23) Ibid
24) Bloomberg News, January 2, 2009
25) Aero-News Network, May 7, 2009
26) domain-B, May 15, 2009
27) Ducommun Incorporated, April 29, 2009
28) China Daily, June 14, 2002
29) Strengthening the Outer Space Treaty by N. Gopal Raj
The Hindu, December 12, 2008
30) RosBusinessConsulting, September 23, 2008
31) Russia Profile, September 19, 2008
32) Daily Jang (Pakistan), June 3, 2008
33) Voice of Russia, October 10, 2008
34) Voice of Russia, November 1, 2008
35) Voice of Russia, November 20, 2008
36) Voice of Russia, November 22, 2008
37) Russia Today, December 1, 2008
38) Ibid
39) Voice of Russia, May 24, 2008
40) Space Race Hikes Risk of Nuclear War by Sherwood Ross
OpEd News, March 30, 2009
41) Russian Information Agency Novosti, July 11, 2008
42) Voice of Russia, March 19, 2008

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