The Right Way to Achieve Security in Space

The U.S. Needs to Champion International Cooperation

The bright sun greets the International Space Station in this photo taken from the Russian section of the orbital outpost by one of the STS-129 crew members, November 2009 NASA Handout via REUTERS

Last month, the Pentagon outlined plans for Space Force, U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed sixth branch of the U.S. armed services, charged with protecting American interests in outer space. Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the National Space Council, heralded the report, describing space as a critical war-fighting domain. The United States increasingly relies on space capabilities that face emerging threats, Pence noted, and he repeated what Trump had declared in June: “It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space; we must have American dominance in space.”

For months, pundits have debated whether maintaining such dominance requires a Space Force. What these discussions often miss, however, is that space security depends at least as much on international cooperation as it does on national dominance.


Space has, in fact, become more crowded, as the Trump administration says. And potential U.S. adversaries are expanding

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