U.S. Pentagon Sees Space as Military 'High Ground'
- U.S. Pentagon Sees Space as Military 'High Ground'
Maybe I am a utopian, but since 911 nothing is off limits for the
Military. Space and Nanotech are being Militarized and NOBODY seems
to notice or care. Osama, Iran, and Saddam, to name a few, are the
children of our last cold war with Russia. Now we are starting a new
war footing. China for one, I suspect might try to race us and start
a Nano - space race. Basically, it seems like the US population just
says "do what you need to do" to save us (even though they arguably
have created alot of our current mess by their past actions). No
voting is really happening. These initiatives are occuring because
the public seems not to care. Space based Nano soldiers - skynet
U.S. Pentagon Sees Space as Military 'High Ground'
Wed Feb 12, 4:26 PM ET Add Science - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Space is the new military "high ground," and
the United States must work hard to develop a space-based radar
system, reusable spacecraft and offensive space weapons to protect
national security, the head of the Pentagon (news - web sites)'s
National Reconnaissance Office said on Wednesday.
"Our space assets now are probably more important to warfighters and
more important to our ability to win this global war on terrorism
than they ever have been historically," said Air Force
Undersecretary and NRO Director Peter Teets. "For us to be secure as
a nation, we are going to need better eyes, ears, warning, rapid
ability to respond to crisis."
Teets said 2003 would be an active year for military space
operations, with the military scheduled to launch 14 satellites into
space this year alone, up from just one launch last year.
He added that the top secret Pentagon agency had increased funding
and staffing levels to support the war on terrorism, the high number
of launches planned this year and the additional surveillance needed
for a possible war on Iraq.
The key challenge in coming years will be to better predict any
impending attack on the United States through enhanced radar and
other sensor systems, as well as developing the ability to respond
to any such attack, Teets said.
"Clearly space is the high ground, and we need to capture that high
ground and then exploit it," the former Lockheed Martin Corp.
official told reporters at the NRO's high security headquarters near
Dulles International Airport.
"We're going to want to find ourselves in a position in the future,
that if necessary, we could deny an adversary their use of space and
the high ground. So offensive space capabilities are something that
I think we need to start to work on."
REFORMING ACQUISITIONS PROGRAMS
Teets acknowledged the NRO had come under fire for cost overruns and
delays plaguing several big-ticket acquisition programs, including
Lockheed's $4 billion Space Based Infrared Systems High (SBRIS High)
satellite system, which is designed to give early warning of any
But Teets said that program had been successfully restructured and
was now "on a reasonably solid track."
He said work was underway to restructure the $7 billion secret spy
satellite system or Future Imagery Architecture, that Boeing Co. is
developing for the U.S. military, but said greater efforts and more
funding were needed.
"We have worked real hard this year to try and identify the
necessary resources to get that program back on track, and I do
believe that we have made the proper decisions with resource
allocations in the '04 budget cycle," he sad.
"We'll get that program on track. It's still a work in process," he
said. Teets declined to give any specific budgetary details about
the classified military space program.
The Pentagon's 2004 budget request includes $8.5 billion for
unclassified space programs, an increase of about $600 million over
2003, including big funding increases for work on an advanced
network of laser-based communications satellites to increase the
Pentagon's shortage of bandwidth.
The request also includes $274 million for a space-based radar
system which the Air Force hopes to launch in 2012 to track moving
ground targets at all times regardless of weather conditions. That
marked a sharp rise from $48 million in 2003.
REAL TEST FOR SPACE PROGRAMS
Teets said winning congressional approval to increase funding for
the radar program would be "one of the real tests" for future space
programs. Defense officials plan to spend about $4.4 billion in the
next five years on the program, which will provide data to both
military and intelligence agencies.
Teets said he felt a "strong sense of support" from Congress for the
agency's acquisitions reform, as well as the increased need for
funding of space programs in general.
"I think it will take more resources, and I think we'll have an
attentive Congress to make that case to," he said.
Teets said the NRO was working closely with NASA (news - web sites)
and other agencies to focus resources on innovative new space-based
programs, and ensure that space capabilities were fully integrated
for both warfighting and national intelligence.
One key goal in coming years would be to work on a reusable launch
vehicle that would eventually replace the shuttle, although NASA's
priority now was to determine what caused the shuttle Columbia to
explode over Texas on Feb. 1.
He said the emphasis would be on developing spacecraft that could be
launched using mobile cranes in a matter of hours and days instead
of weeks and months, going into space and returning for another
launch more quickly than the shuttle.