1. Bibliographic Entry. Deterrence and First-Strike Stability in Space

2.  Author : Forest Morgan – RAND analysis

3.  Context:   Can the US really protect its space assets, and if so, how?

4.  Scope:  Post-Cold War security environment

5.  Evidence/credibility:  Space related treaties, deterrence theory

6.  Central Proposition/Thesis:  The US needs a space-deterrence strategy to protect its advantages in space.  Consequences should include a whole government approach, not just direct retaliation against enemy space assets.  Space defense should be a combination of deterrence and a reduction of vulnerabilities. 

7.  Sub-themes:

·   As long as those systems are vulnerable, the enemy's benefit in attacking space assets is proportionate to the United States' dependence on the capabilities they provide. (xiii)

·   PTP: space is a lot like cyber deterrence in that a whole govt approach is needed, and like cyber, space SA is not good enough yet to solve attribution, so SSA needs to improve.  Perhaps a comprehensive space/cyber deterrence strategy?)

·   the orbital infrastructures of some U.S. systems are already sufficiently robust that they present poor targets for prospective attackers. (xiii)

·   The United States should, to the greatest extent possible, conceal vulnerabilities of its space systems and demonstrate · the ability to operate effectively without space support. Therefore, the strategy should also pursue multiple avenues to make vulnerable u.s. space systems more resilient and defendable, thereby demonstrating tangible capabilities to deny potential adversaries the benefits of attacking in space. (xiv)

·   Possibilities include making greater investments in passive defenses, exploring approaches to active defenses, dispersing capabilities across a larger number of orbital platforms, and developing terrestrial backups to space support. It may also be beneficial to disperse some U.S. national security payloads onto satellites owned by a range of other nations and business consortia friendly to the United States (xv)

·   All active defenses require better SSA than what current capabilities provide, and many passive defenses could also be improved with better SSA. Improving SSA should be one of the United States' top priorities in its efforts to develop the capabilities needed for an effective space deterrence regime. (xv)



 6 " such a regime cannot be based solely on what most people envision when they think of deterrence: threats of retribution alone. Rather, effective deterrence in space will require a coordinated national strategy designed to operate on both sides of a potential adversary's cost-benefit decisian calculus simultaneously. Such a strategy would raise the potential costs of attacking U.S. space systems by threatening a range of punitive responses in multiple domains while at the same time reducing the benefits of enemy attacks by improving defenses, dispersing and concealing space capabilities, reducing u.s. dependence on space by developing alternative capabilities, and demonstrating the ability to rapidly replenish whatever losses are sustained.

25 -and it is the enemy's assessment that counts, not the threatener's.6 Therefore, for deterrence to be effective, the threat must be sufficiently potent to reliably manipulate the opponent's decision calculations in the desired manner, and the threatener must convince the opponent that it has both the capability and the resolve to carry out the threat if the prohibited action is taken.

33 Given today's limitations in SSA, the United States does not even have an observe-orient-decide-act (OODA) circuit that is fully functional in real time, much less an OODA loop that can be made tight enough to overcome an attacker's first-move advantage.

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