As you might expect, the New York Times report yesterday that the Bush Administration was considering a space policy revision that would permit the deployment of weapons in space got some traction in the media. The White House offered some clarification on that policy revision yesterday, saying that the proposal was still in an interagency review and “has not risen to the presidential level; it has not risen to the level of the National Security Advisor; it has not risen to the level of department heads,” in the words of Scott McClellan.
McClellan also noted that the policy was not “looking at weaponizing space” but added that the administration wants “to make sure that those space systems are protected.” This suggests that a revised policy could endorse what is sometimes called “defensive counterspace” (DCS) systems designed to protect satellites from attack. There have been studies along these lines within the Air Force and industry on both DCS and offensive counterspace (OCS), which, as the name suggests, involves attacking enemy satellites. However, I think we’re a long way from “rods from God”, or other weapons deployed in space for use against targets on Earth.
At least one newspaper editorial has sounded off on the proposed policy change: the Seattle Post-Intelligencer finds the proposal, as reported in the NY Times, to be “substantial and alarming”.