Last week Defense News reported that the Defense Department’s 2010 Space Posture Review would be delayed by at least several months, and perhaps by up to a year. That has also been reported by DoD Buzz, which added an interesting item: the review may recommend that the US scrap building several additional GPS satellites in favor of working more closely with Europe and its satellite navigation system, Galileo, currently under development.
So what can we expect in terms of military space policy? Speaking at an event about the Space Security Index Thursday at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, Peter Hays, an SAIC senior scientist working at the National Security Space Office, offered some insights. While not directly involved in the development of the review, and also speaking solely for himself, he said he understood that the current plan was to release a “shorter, non-perscriptive” version of the review early next month, along with the FY2011 budget request. That would be the same time as the Defense Department plans to release the Quadrennial Defense Review, an overall defense policy report that the Space Posture Review was designed to support.
Hays said one unnamed person who was involved with the review process described the debate about it as splitting into four camps: “ostriches” who saw no reason to change what we do in space; a “steroids camp” that advocated doing the same as what we’re doing today in space, but more of it; soft power advocates who wanted more international cooperation and commercial partnerships as well as negotiations for “rules of the road” in space; and a “hard power” group that would increase the “less benign” capabilities of the Defense Department to protect US space capabilities. “Clearly if you have these kinds of divergent views and no resolution amongst them, it’s going to be difficult to fashion a holistic and theoretically, foundationally based clean-sheet approach to all of this,” Hays said.
The rest of the work that had gone into the review would be reworked, he said, as part of a “national security space strategy”. That would come out after the completion of a new overall national space policy. The current schedule calls for completing that policy by early summer, although Hays was skeptical that schedule could be kept. He noted that it took several years for the Bush Administration to develop its national space policy, a process that started in 2002 and was not completed until August 2006, thus he thought it was unlikely the current administration could complete its own space policy so quickly. “Perhaps the Obama Administration has a time machine, but I’m not optimistic that they’re going to be able to do all this work on the timeline that they’ve outlined,” he said.