On Wednesday, 17 June the Secretary for Defense released the Defense Space Strategy, which identifies how Department of Defense will advance spacepower to be able to compete, deter, and win in a complex security environment characterized by great power competition.

“The Defense Space Strategy is the next step to ensure space superiority and to secure the Nation’s vital interests in space now and in the future,” said Secretary of Defense, Mark T. Esper. “We desire a secure, stable, and accessible space domain that underpins our Nation’s security, prosperity, and scientific achievement. However, our adversaries have made space a warfighting domain and we have to implement enterprise-wide changes to policies, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities, and expertise for this new strategic environment. This strategy identifies a phased approach on how we are going to achieve the desired conditions in space over the next 10 years.”

Through the strategy, DOD will advance spacepower through the pursuit of three objectives: Maintain Space Superiority; Provide Space Support to National, Joint, and Combined Operations; and Ensure Space Stability.

Additionally, the Department will pursue four priority lines of effort to achieve the desired conditions while addressing identified threats, opportunities, and challenges:

  • Build a comprehensive military advantage in space.
  • Integrate military spacepower into national, joint, and combined operations.
  • Shape the strategic environment.
  • Cooperate with allies, partners, industry, and other U.S. Government departments and agencies.

A Defense Space Strategy Fact Sheet is also available here.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Stephen L. Kitay briefed the media on the report on Wednesday.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Stephen L. Kitay, holds an on-camera, on-the-record press briefing for the media on Defense Space Strategy, 17 June 2020, in the Pentagon Briefing Room. (DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard)

Executive Summary

The Department of Defense (DoD) is embarking on the most significant transformation in the history of the U.S. national security space program. Space is now a distinct warfighting domain, demanding enterprise-wide changes to policies, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities, and expertise for a new strategic environment. This strategy identifies how DoD will advance spacepower to enable the Department to compete, deter, and win in a complex security environment characterized by great power competition.

Space is vital to our Nation’s security, prosperity, and scientific achievement. Space-based capabilities are integral to modern life in the United States and around the world and are an indispensable component of U.S. military power. Ensuring the availability of these capabilities is fundamental to establishing and maintaining military superiority across all domains and to advancing U.S. and global security and economic prosperity. Space, however, is not a sanctuary from attack and space systems are potential targets at all levels of conflict. In particular, China and Russia present the greatest strategic threat due to their development, testing, and deployment of counterspace capabilities and their associated military doctrine for employment in conflict extending to space. China and Russia each have weaponized space as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness and challenge our freedom of operation in space.

Rapid increases in commercial and international space activities worldwide add to the complexity of the space environment. Commercial space activities provide national and homeland security benefits with new technologies and services and create new economic opportunities in established and emerging markets. The same activities, however, also create challenges in protecting critical technology, ensuring operational security, and maintaining strategic advantages. Internationally, allies and partners also recognize the benefits of space for military operations, and increasingly understand the threats to those space activities. Allies and partners who are actively expanding their defense space programs, present novel opportunities to increase defense collaboration and cooperation.

In response to this new security environment, and in accordance with the 2018 National Strategy for Space (NSfS) and the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), this Defense Space Strategy (DSS) provides guidance to DoD for achieving desired conditions in space over the next 10 years. The DoD desires a secure, stable, and accessible space domain, whose use by the United States and our allies and partners is underpinned by comprehensive, sustained military strength. The strategy includes a phased approach for the defense enterprise to move with purpose and speed across four lines of effort (LOEs): (1) build a comprehensive military advantage in space; (2) integrate space into national, joint, and combined operations; (3) shape the strategic environment; and (4) cooperate with allies, partners, industry, and other U.S. Government departments and agencies.

The Department is taking innovative and bold actions to ensure space superiority and to secure the Nation’s vital interests in space now and in the future. Establishing the U.S. Space Force (USSF) as the newest branch of our Armed Forces and the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) as a unified combatant command, as well as undertaking significant space acquisition reform across the DoD, has set a strategic path to expand spacepower for the Nation. It is a path that embraces space as a unique domain of national military power that, together with the other domains, underpins multi-domain joint and combined military operations to advance national security.

The full summary report is here.