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General News    H3'ed 6/23/09

Militarization Of Space: Threat Of Nuclear War On Earth

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Global, Orbital First Strike Potential: NATO And Asian NATO Partners


NATO's unswerving fidelity to Pentagon initiatives and diktat doesn't require substantiation, but if it did this statement by its Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on March 11 would further underscore the fact: "Given the vital role that space and satellites now play within our cyber networks, should we not also start to follow activities in space more closely and consider the implications for our security?" [19]

Plans for the expansion of military hardware, both surveillance and kinetic weapons (missiles), into outer space are not distinct from but inextricably connected with parallel American and NATO global interceptor missile systems. So-called missile shield facilities already in place or in the process of being stationed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Norway and Britain and their counterparts in Alaska, Japan, Australia and South Korea in the east are to be integrated with space components so that both NATO and what has come to be called Asian NATO will provide radar and ground-based interceptor missile sites, as will Azerbaijan and Georgia in the South Caucasus and Israel in the Middle East in the future.

Many of the above-named nations also possess and will base sea-launched missile killing interceptors on Aegis class destroyers and can host new generation US stealth warplanes designed to penetrate deep into the interior of nations like China and Russia to destroy strategic targets, including silo-based long-range missiles and mobile missile launchers.

This past April Japan announced that its "first strategic space policy will focus on improving missile launch detection abilities" after the passage and implementation of a Basic Space Law last August and that "As many as 34 satellites - twice the current number - will be launched between fiscal 2009 and 2013...." [20]

Last month Australia revealed that not only was it planning to build and launch its own space satellites but that it also "wants to create a new cadre of military space experts inside the Australian Defence Forces," citing Japan as "a good example of the learning process that a new 21st century military space power has to go through." [21]

Recently the Pentagon has also activated new equipment to facilitate the interaction between spaced-based surveillance and earth-based interceptor missile systems.

In April the US Defense Department launched a new-generation military satellite, the Wideband Global Satellite Communication satellite, into space.  
 
A US military website said of the new acquisition that "These satellites are designed to provide high-capacity communications to U.S. military forces. It will augment and eventually replace the Defense Satellite Communication System." [22]

The missile used to launch the satellite into orbit, an Atlas V rocket, is described in the same report: "The Atlas V family of Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles has achieved 100 percent mission success in launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station." [23]

The increasingly integrated - to the point of inseparability - work of the Defense Department in general, the US Missile Defense Agency and NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] demonstrates the emphasis that Washington places on the militarization of space and the potential use of it for warfighting purposes.

Eighteen days before Barack Obama was inaugurated the 44th president of the United States the Bloomberg news agency reported that the incoming chief executive would "tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.'s civilian and military space programs" and that "Obama's transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration...." [24]

As further confirmation of this obscuring of the distinction between civilian and military uses of space, in May it was reported that "A Delta II rocket managed by NASA's Launch Services Program lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA., Tuesday with a spacecraft for the United States Missile Defense Agency.

"The spacecraft is called the Space Tracking and Surveillance System Advanced Technology Risk Reduction mission, or STSS-ATRR." [25]

The Vandenberg Air Force Base is routinely employed for long-range interceptor missile tests in the Pacific Ocean in coordination with a 28-story sea-based X-Band radar periodically stationed in the Aleutian Islands near the coast of Russia.

The Space Tracking and Surveillance System spacecraft is part of a Ballistic Missile Defense System space sensor layer which "provide[s] combatant commanders with the ability to continuously track strategic and tactical ballistic missiles from launch through termination." [26]

Weeks earlier the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, also in Huntsville, Alabama, received flight-ready nanosatellites from Ducommun Incorporated, which event marked "the completion of the first U.S. Army satellite development program since the Courier 1B communications satellite in 1960." [27]

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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