|Bush issues doctrine for US control of space
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Thursday October 19 2006
GEORGE BUSH HAS staked out a bold claim to the final frontier,
asserting vigorously America's right to deny access to space to any
adversary hostile to US interests, it emerged yesterday.
In a muscular overhaul of policy, the US president outlines the
importance of space to the national interest, saying its domination is
as crucial to America's defences as air or sea power.
The order also opposes the establishment of arms control treaties that
would restrict US access to space, or set limits on its use of space.
It calls for the development of space capabilities to support US
intelligence and defence initiatives.
The document, first reported in yesterday's Washington Post, amounted
to the first overhaul of US space policy in nearly a decade, but it
comes two years after the publication of an air force doctrine on
protecting US satellites and spacecraft. The defence secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld, has also favoured the development of systems to protect
satellites and space stations.
"The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom
of action in space; dissuade or deter others from either impeding
those rights or developing capabilities intended to do so; take
actions necessary to protect its space capabilities; respond to
interference; and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space
capabilities hostile to US national interests," the strategy says.
It goes on to stress that space activities have improve life in the US
and around the world, enhancing security and economic growth and
"revolutionising the way people view their world and the cosmos".
Mr Bush has sought to revive the national interest in space by calling
for Americans to return to the moon in 15 years, and even use bases
there to serve as a launch pad for Mars.
But reports of the space policy raised immediate concerns that America
would be seen to be trying to develop a fresh generation of space
However, the White House spokesman, Tony Snow, insisted there was no
change, and that the exploitation of space for defensive purposes did
not mean that American was seeking to develop space weapons.
"Protection of space assets does not imply some sort of forceful
action," Fredrick Jones, a National Security Council spokesman, told
the Associated Press. He said the US faced novel threats since the
revision of the last policy declaration on space, and that the
document reflected the importance of space in technological advances.
"Technology advances have increased the importance of and use of
space," he said. "Now, we depend on space capabilities for things like
ATMs, personal navigation, package tracking, radio services, and cell