Defense Department quietly releases a new space policy

The Defense Department, with very little fanfare, issued a new space policy last month. The memo about the space policy, dated October 18, is signed by deputy secretary of defense Ashton Carter. The memo, though, has received little coverage beyond an article Wednesday by the American Forces Press Service, including no formal press releases or other statements from the Pentagon.

The updated policy, Carter said in the AFPS article, “institutionalizes the changes the department has made in an increasingly constrained budget environment to address the complex set of space-related opportunities and challenges.” It builds upon the national space policy issued in June 2010 and the National Security Space Strategy issued in early 2011. As in those policies, there is an emphasis on cooperation with international and commercial entities, such as sharing of space situational awareness data (and asking commercial satellite operators to provide “their spaceflight safety data as well as relevant plans, schedules, and information on operational status.”) Elsewhere, the policy states that the DOD “will seek to expand space-related cooperation with international partners, building and sharing space capabilities with these partners to the extent practicable and leading combined space operations, including space-support operations.”

6 comments to Defense Department quietly releases a new space policy

  • Kevin Norman

    Vacuous. Not intended for any reasonable person to read. What they really are up to is not for us to have access to. Surprised?

    • Googaw

      It’s abstract. Which means you have to play in a lot of “fill-in-the-blanks”. Go thru a few dozen weeks of Aviation Week in order to get some good concrete ideas of what they are talking about in each category.

  • Fred Willett

    It is a recognition of the fact that budgets are going to get tighter and the DoD has to find ways to squeeze more out of the things they’ve got.
    It bodes ill for the EELV program which the AF estimates is costing them $466.6M a flight.
    It bodes ill for expensive programs like SLS and MPCV over at NASA where similar budget constraints are inevitable.
    Belt tightening is going to be the story of 2013

  • vulture4

    I don’t know whether the SLS/MPCV is going to survive or not, but if it’s not they ought to make the decision now rather than in a few years since they are spending about $10,000,000 on it every day.

    As to the US military they write that we need international standards of “behavior” regarding space debris, an obvious dig at China. I wonder if this standard will apply to us. Just keep in mind that when the US blew up a satellite (immediately after the Chinese did so) that in spite of assurances that all the fragments would somehow fall harmlessly one ended up on a course for the ISS which had to do a collision avoidance maneuver.

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