I’m seeing multiple signs of nervousness by the Department of Defense regarding its dependence (addiction is a better word) on space based assets and capabilities. I’m not going to bother citing examples because they’re just bits and pieces from all over the Internet. What I see is platforms and weapons are being spec’ed, now, to function without the assistance of space based communications, GPS, and whatnot or, at the very least, including space assets as just one input among several. For example, Defense Industry Daily website just posted an announcement about a recent Air Force white paper calling for a “disaggregation” of space capabilities onto multiple platforms for enhanced survivability.
What I take from all these bits is that the military is finally waking up to the vulnerability they’ve created by designing in a heavy, almost exclusive, dependence on space based assets for communications, relays, GPS, surveillance, etc. We’ve lost our ability to read maps, navigate on land or sea without GPS, direct missiles, locate targets, talk to UAVs, etc. without space based assets. Of course, potential enemies know this and are directing efforts towards neutralizing our space assets. In a high level conflict, our space assets are going to be greatly diminished in performance if not destroyed outright. We need to be able to function without them.
It’s good to see that the military has finally recognized the vulnerability, if somewhat late, and begun taking steps to mitigate it. Presumably, we’ll begin seeing an expanded range of resources to supplement and replace our space assets such as improved inertial navigation systems, radio beacon positioning, star mapping, mobile communications relay platforms, alternate surveillance systems, indirect targeting and triangulation, and so forth.
Too long in coming but better late than never!