Protecting American Ground-Based Space Assets Term Paper

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.." (Chenoweth and Clarke, 2006) These performance regimes are required to take part in three challenges stated to be the challenges associated with:

1) Overcoming asymmetrical incentives and enlist diverse stakeholders around a collective local security goal despite varying perceptions of its immediacy;

2) Persuading participants to sustain their involvement in the face of competing demands, and 3) Overcoming collective action problems to create a durable coalition around performance goals necessary to reducing local vulnerability." (Chenoweth and Clarke, 2006)


Chenoweth and Clarke stress that...terrorism is location-specific" and "cities especially are at risk." (2006) This must certainly be true in relation to high profile space and military industry specific locations. It is reported that since 2003 "there is some evidence of greater sensitivity to spatial variations in risk: Congress slowly increased the funding for port and railroad security and reorganized territorial funding to target the higher risk levels in urban areas." (Chenoweth and Clarke, 2006) it is critically necessary that local communities "organize to address vulnerabilities: risk-based programs alone cannot prepare cities for the damaging effects of an attack. As a result, national security priorities necessitate a focus on local governance strategies that successfully address vulnerability." (Chenoweth and Clarke, 2006)

Chenoweth and Clarke states that a paradox exists: "...the grater the national security threats, the more important the local role, but that role appears to be problematic and contested. It is possible that this uneven local role can be attributed to budget constraints, institutional inertia, insufficient support and incentives from the federal government, or basic shortsightedness, as the Century Foundation suggests. But isolating these factors overlooks the extent to which lagging local responses are best seen as collective action problems. The argument here is that questions of local capacity and coordination are most effectively conceptualized as governance issues: the creation of local governance arrangements are necessary to bring about systemic changes in how security issues are addressed at the local level and to give a strategic direction and priority to local vulnerability issues." (2006) Stakeholders in this mobilization on a local level are "...multiple, across jurisdictions and both public and private sectors. There is no one hierarchical authority in charge, so there is an unprecedented need for cooperation among stakeholders who seek mutual benefits but have little experience in dealing with each other." (Chenoweth and Clarke, 2006)

The work of Elhefnawy (2003) entitled: "Four Myths about Space Power" stats that "the satellite gap between America and every other nation in the world is universally recognized, and the significance of this fact it also questioned." (2003) Elhefnawy additionally relates: "The theft or import of technology may be no substitute for homegrown research and development, but a cheap knock-off may in some cases be good enough to get the job done. This is especially so if the knock-off can be produced in large numbers. The dual-use character of so much space technology and the fact that others are likely to be able to imaginatively combine various technologies, improvise, adapt, and even innovate mean it can not be assumed that other states will always field inferior systems. Finally, it has been widely acknowledged that a power disadvantaged in satellites and space-based weapons could use a variety of cheaper weapons and tactics to reduce American space superiority. High-flying drones can provide a partial substitute for a shortage of adequate satellites, at least regionally. Such a capability may be less extensive, secure, or reliable in particular respects than what the United States possesses, but it will be there nonetheless. At the same time, low-budget powers can use a variety of techniques to attack American satellites, including hacker warfare or earth-based laser weapons, which will have advantages over the space-based variety. Earth-based weapons do not have to be as compact as systems launched into space, and thus they can be built by a less-sophisticated enemy. They can be deployed more cheaply, without the infrastructure required for space launch and ground control. The communications links on which they depend are less susceptible to disruption, and they are much more accessible to those whose job it is to maintain and resupply them. The same goes for directed-energy weapons based on ships or inside wide-bodied aircraft, which may also have the capacity to attack U.S. satellite-based systems." (2003) Elhefnawy states that the muscle of the United States military is "its air, land and sea forces...the tail in space counts for little if the planetary teeth can be neutralized. Some of the ways in which potential adversaries can go about doing this are reasonably obvious, such as the construction of facilities underground, the targeting of ground control and downlink stations, or the use of electronic warfare to cut off the American military forces from their supporting space assets." (2003) Elhefnawy concludes by stating:" is not a substitute for all forms of military capability." (2003)


The literature reviewed in this study has indicated that the most vulnerable targets in terms of United States space assets are space assets located right here on earth in the form of ground stations and control centers which are communication links to and from satellites and likely to be targeted in attacks from distant computers. Even the American armed forces have experienced difficult in finding the appropriate amount of bandwidth for use due to the many electronic systems presently in operation. While space is important, it is ever so much more important that location specific vulnerabilities be assessed and the limitations and shortcomings of vulnerability that exist be addressed and solutions established. The Union of Concerned Scientists report has informed this study that it is necessary that certain issues be addressed and specifically: (1) Development of the ability to rapidly replace or bypass damaged satellites; or (2) Compensation provided for lost satellite functions on a regional basis by using backup systems that are not space-based." (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2006) New types of training are being developed for addressing the risks of location specific targeting of space-linked infrastructures of communication of the U.S. military and as well, this study reports findings that more location specific initiatives are needed in addressing vulnerability assessments and solutions for security for these ground-based space assets of the United States military.


Disharmony in the Spheres: The Militarization of Space (2008) Combined Air Operations Centre - the Economist - 71 Jan 2008. Briefing Online available at

Chun, Clayton K.S.

Shooting Down a Star: Program 437, the U.S. Nuclear ASAT System and Present Day Copycat Killers. Maxwell AFB, AL: USAF Air University, April 2000.

Earl, Richard Hansen. "Can the United States Afford to Surrender in the Next Conflict to Another Nation's Dominance in Space?."

Air & Space Power Journal. Vol. 12 (Fall 1998): 108-110

An Introduction to Space Weapons (2006) Global Security. May 2006. Union of Concerned Scientists. Online available at

Bolt, Paul; Coletta, Damon V.; and Shackleford, Collins, G. (2005) American Defense Policy. JHU Press. Online available at

Chenoweth, Erica; and Clarke, Susan (2006) the Politics of Vulnerability: Constructing Local Performance Regimes for Homeland Security. The Review of Policy Research 1 Jan 2006. Online available at

Elhefnawy, Nader (2003) Four Myths about Space Power. Parameters. 22 Mar 2003. Online available at

Protecting American Ground-Based Space Assets[continue]

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