The Space Force should safeguard US interests on the moon (op-ed)

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Sep 8, 2023
Valid points all.
No debate needed but instead a reminder that scheduling matters.

1- USSF is still in its infancy, still transitioning from its dirt- focuses origins to its full, mature evolution (circa 2040?). USAF wasn't born fully formed either and it can be argued it didn't come into maturity until the '80's. The new mission statement is a big move forward, in the right direction. Space threats are still dirt based. And the tech needed for the next stage is still developing. Give'em time to find their footing.

2- Jumping to Lunar concerns is a bit premature. Necessary for long term planning but not an immediate concern. A more immediate focus needs to be the high orbitals. GEO and cislunar space. For that, USSF needs a few things. Starshield 1 is the first step. A hardened C&C constellation is a prerequisite for serious orbital security. Clearing out the space junk is next. Proving the ability to n-i-p a Kessler syndrome in the bud is a good way to deincentivize physical atacks on space infrastructure. Third in line in this vein, USSF will need its own rapid response, *independent* launch system, preferably from hardened silos. Not hard to see USSF procuring a handful of mature STARSHIP derivatives by the next decade. Just as STARSHIELD is to be independent but comparable to STARLINK, shifting any attacker's main focus to the military constellation and thus reducing the value of attacking the civilan systems.

3- A decade ago, George Friedman's geopolitical "tutorial" THE NEXT HUNDRED YEARS correctly "predicted" the geopolitical rise of Poland, Turkey, and (again) JAPAN. Looking to the 40's, he posited the need for manned GEO watchtowers he termed BATTLESTARS for look down (shoot down) control of the high orbitals. By that point things can get science fictional but as the book points out, you can't protect the US and its civilian and military assets solely from the ground. Don't be surprised if it comes out that USSF advance planners are strategizing how to secure the high orbitals *without* triggering an orbital arms race.

4- By mid century, securing the moon and beyond will start to be necessary. Particularly if space mining and manufacturing proves economically viable. Big if. But the mission to Psyche will shed some light on the ceiling for an asteroid driven economy. Again, that verges into hard SF territory and a problem for the zoomers' grandkids.

For now, USSF needs to set in place the culture, direction, and infrastructure to deal with today's problems and allow early control of tomorrow's. So far nothing suggests they aren't despite their limited budget.

Give'em time.
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Oct 2, 2023
While the Pentagon sees the Space Force as a tool to fight the last war here on Earth, its leaders must prepare for its real role in space, on the moon and beyond.

The Space Force should safeguard US interests on the moon (op-ed) : Read more
Everything about the attitude in this article is deeply against every bone in my body. This Cold War mentality is exactly the sort of thing that will bring about conflict. Just as the USA stubbornly holds onto its freedom to bear arms in spite of disgraceful statistics attesting to the increased mortality risk arising from that ‘freedom’ when compared to nearly every other country, the very existence of the space force accelerates the rush ti militarise space. ‘The potential for conflict beyond Earth is coming’, and the US is leading the charge to bring that future to reality. No other nation has either openly or through their actions moved towards militarising space, and this preemptive approach would make me ashamed if I was from the US. The space force should not have survived beyond the Trump administration, and the money going to it could far more usefully be spent on attempts at peaceful cooperation in humanity’s expansion into other celestial bodies. ‘US interests in space’, do you even realise how small-minded and parochial that sounds? In case you’re wondering, I’m not a Chinese or Russian troll, but Western European.
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