This article originally appeared at the West Point Institute of Modern Warfare.
We’ve just finished the seventh week of our new national security class at Stanford – Technology, Innovation, and the Great Power Challenge. Joe Felter, Raj Shah, and I designed the episode to cover how technology is shaping the behavior and operation of all of the nation’s power tools.
In Unit 1, we learned that national power is the sum of all the resources a country has to pursue its national goals and interests. This power is a combination of a country’s diplomacy, intelligence, military capabilities, economic strength, finance, intelligence and law enforcement. These instruments of national power, employed in a “whole of government approach” to advance the interests of the state, are known by the acronym DME.– FIL
Part 2 was focused on China, America’s first great power competitor. China uses all of its national power, such as information/intelligence, military power and economic strength, as well as Western finance and technology. China’s goal is to challenge and reverse the US-led liberal international order and replace it with its own neo-totalitarian model. China is emerging as a regional and global power.
The third part is focused on Russia, which since 2014 has proven itself as a competitive great power. We learned how Russia pursues security and economic interests in parallel with its ideological goals.
The fourth section turns our attention to the impact of commercial technologies on national energy equipment (DIME-FIL) equipment. The first technology is semiconductors and US dependence on TSMC in Taiwan for advanced logic chips.
In the fifth section, we explored the impact of AI and machine learning on DIME-FIL’s capabilities and performance.
In Part 6, we discussed unmanned systems and autonomy and how the advent of these weapons will change operational concepts and the landscape of warfare.
Today’s episode: The Second Space Age: A Great Power Race in Space.
Catch up on the episode by reading our introduction to the episode and summaries of Episodes 1 , 2 , 3 , 4, 5 and 6
Cold War: The Space Race 1.0
Location as a domain
Age of Superpowers: Space Race 2.0
- William J.
- Luke Harding, “The Space Race Is Back—But Who Will Win?” Guardian, July 16, 2021
- Tim Harford, “CubeSat revolution is changing the way we see the world,” BBC News, 17 July 2019.
- Alexander Bowe, “Monitoring China’s Space Power Posture and Implications for the United States,” US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, April 11, 2019.
- Greg Autry and Steve Kwast, “US Is Losing Second Space Race to China,” Foreign Policy, 22 Aug. 2019.
US space forces
- “Defense Primer: United States Space Force.” Congressional Research Service
- “What’s Up with United States Space-Related Agencies.” US Department of Defense, 14 Dec. 2020.
- Brian Bender, “What Space Power Is, and Isn’t,” Politics, 03 Feb. 2021.
- John W. Raymond, “How We’re Building a 21st Century Space Force,” The Atlantic, Dec. 20, 2020.
- “United States Space Force.” US Department of Defense, Feb. 2019.
- “DOD Space Strategy,” US Department of Defense, 2021
Space threats and non-state actors
- Harsh Vasani, “How China Is Arming Outer Space,” The Diplomat, January 19, 2017.
- Haneke Weiting, “Russia Begins Anti-Satellite Missile Test, US Space Command Says,” Space.com, 16 Dec. 2020.
- Andre Kwok, “The Growing Threat of Cybercrime in the Space Domain,” East Asia Forum, September 9, 2021.
Reading assignment questions
Choose one of the following questions and answer in approximately 100 words based on the required reading.
- Describe America’s space assets and the role of the US Space Force in maintaining and employing those assets. As the US space force continues to develop, what changes in strategy and/or portfolio do you recommend?
- What is the biggest threat to America’s interests in space? What recommendations do you have for the US and its allies to address that threat?
Part 7 – guest Speaker
Our guest speaker was General John Raymond, Chief of Space Operations. He is the first Space Operations Commander of the US Space Force. The Space Force has three major commands – the Space Operations Command, the Space Systems Command, and the Space Training and Readiness Command.
The Space Force was born as a separate service in December 2019. Previously, General Raymond led the re-establishment of the US Space Command as the 11th US Combatant Command, and served for a year as both the Service (Space Force) and Combatant Command (Space Command).
Raymond’s focus on space power is lean and agile, innovative and integrated.
Space was once considered “safe,” mostly unmanned except by the United States, Russia, and the Soviet Union. It is very crowded and dangerous today. Raymond noted that the ability to operate in space is critical not only to maintaining America’s security, but also to enhancing the U.S. and global economy, communications, transportation and other essential functions of daily life.
“Space is clearly a war zone and we are confident that if defenses fail, we will have to fight and win the battle for space supremacy,” he said.
If you are unable to view the lecture, click here for 7 slides.
Next week: Cyber
- Our military relies on our assets in space (satellites) for communications, navigation, situational awareness (through photo, radar and electronic intelligence satellites), warning and targeting.
- Our civilian economy also depends on space assets for GPS and communications
- Space is now a contested area with China and Russia capable of disabling/destroying our satellites.
- Use of direct force (laser), cyber, electronic warfare, ground or space-based kinetic weapons
Filed under: Technological innovation and the great power race |