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Category: Space (Page 1 of 11)

Reorganizing National Security Space for the “Contested, Congested, and Competitive” Domain


Outer space is today a critical domain for the United States’ military. Across all levels of operations, from the strategic to the tactical, national security space assets support the American warfighting effort. They fulfill functions that include, but are not limited to, communications; Earth imaging; missile warning; positioning, navigation, and timing; and intelligence information. The United States’ military has become reliant upon these space-enabled functions for its global power projection and rapidity and unity of effort.

Recognizing the utility of these systems and cognizant of the United States’ military’s dependence on them, near-peer adversaries are investing significantly in counter- and anti-space weapons and capabilities, including jammers, “spoofers,” and kinetic hit-to-kill missiles, that can effectively deny the United States use of its space assets. Foreign counter-space capabilities, particularly China’s and Russia’s, are becoming progressively more sophisticated and capable and fit into their “anti-access/area denial” doctrines.[1] No longer a “sanctuary,” outer space is now perceived by senior DOD leadership as a future theater of war and as “contested, congested, and competitive.”[2],[3]

In anticipation of outer space becoming an active theater of conflict and to counter the threat posed by anti-satellite systems against high-value, high-complexity space assets, DOD leadership has spoken of the need to make the national security space architecture more resilient.[4] Steps proposed to accomplish this include increased purchases of commercial “off-the-shelf” space capabilities, quick acquisition of systems with current-gen technology that satisfy needed functions, and development of satellite constellations that can be easily reconstituted. Leadership has identified DOD’s culture of acquiring complex “pristine” satellites as disadvantageous for the realities faced by current-day space threats; such systems may have been advantageous when outer space was relatively stable and non-contested, but their vulnerability to attack and destruction poses a liability now that outer space is replete with threats.[5]

Despite DOD’s recognition of the need for more resilient space architecture, serious challenges, particularly in acquisition and fragmentation of oversight and management, continue to plague its space force.[6] Decades of studies, commissions, and reports have identified persistent DOD resistance to changes in space acquisition approaches and fragmented acquisition responsibilities and redundant oversight bureaucracy.[7] While these challenges are symptomatic of broader issues in DOD systems acquisition practices and organization, their adverse impact is especially magnified in space programs. Because of delays in acquisition of space technologies, deployed space systems are frequently over-budget and obsolete by the time they are fielded.[8] Until the organizational arrangements that contribute to space acquisition inefficiencies are resolved, the DOD will continue to face challenges in adjusting its space force to meet the threats of today.

Cognizant of these issues, the DOD and Congress have undertaken significant reorganization of the national security space acquisition, oversight, and management structure over the last few years. Steps include establishing a “Principal Defense Space Advisor” responsible for unifying stakeholders in the space enterprise and serving as the focal advocate for DOD space issues, as well as standing up an Air Force A-11 space office to elevate space issues at Air Force headquarters. However, government auditors and policymakers in Congress have not been convinced that this is enough to resolve longstanding issues in DOD’s space organization. The FY18 NDAA mandates significant restructuring of DOD space acquisition, management, and oversight authorities and structure. While rejecting some proposed solutions, such as extricating DOD’s space responsibilities and management from the Air Force into a newly stood up “Space Corps,” this suggests that resolving these issues is a top legislative priority and commands the attention of leaders in the national security arena.[9]

Considering its growing importance to the United States’ continued military supremacy, a review and analysis of the topic is warranted. This paper explores the issues of fragmented DOD management, acquisition, and oversight leadership for its space force. It reviews and analyzes recent organizational restructuring and the FY18 NDAA’s proposals. From these, it offers suggestions, recommendations, and comments on the DOD’s management of its space force.

DOD’s Space Force Management

The DOD spends up to $11 billion a year on non-intelligence space-related efforts, 90 percent of which is managed by the Air Force.[10] The Army and Navy own the remaining 10 percent of space systems. DOD space acquisitions, management, and oversight are fragmented across approximately 60 stakeholders throughout the DOD, the Executive Office of the President, the intelligence community, and the civilian community.[11]

Eight organizations have key acquisition management responsibilities. Within the Air Force, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition) serves as the Service Acquisition Executive for Air Force space and non-space acquisitions. The Space and Missile Systems Center is the acquisition center that develops, acquires, fields, and sustains military space systems. Within the Department of the Army, the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command conducts space and missile defense operations while the PEO for Missiles and Space provides guidance for the development and acquisition of Army space systems. Within the Department of the Navy, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition serves as the Navy Acquisition Executive and carries out all navy space acquisitions. The Navy PEO Space Systems acquires, develops, and provides supports for some DOD space systems, while the Office of Naval Research directs science and technology research initiatives that include a space portfolio. Finally, the NRO develops, fields, and operates space programs for the intelligence community and participates in joint acquisitions with the Air Force and Strategic Missile Command.

Eleven organizations have space oversight responsibilities. For the Air Force, oversight is centralized with the Principal DOD Space Advisor (PDSA). The PDSA, formerly the Executive Agent for Space, was established by the Deputy Secretary of Defense in 2015 to unify diffuse and competing voices in defense space programs. The Secretary of the Air Force performs PDSA duties, which include reviewing all space budgets for conformity with national security space policy and giving independent assessments and recommendations to top DOD officials. The Defense Space Council, chaired by the PDSA, serves as the principal advisory forum on all national security space matters. Its purpose is to inform, coordinate, and resolve defense space issues and provide unified strategic guidance for defense space programs. As an advisory body, it has no enforcement authority. 7 organizations within the Office of the Secretary of Defense have oversight responsibilities. USD(AT&L) serves as the OSD focal point in coordination with other OSD stakeholders who have space programs and capabilities. USD(I) exercises planning, policy, and strategic oversight of all intelligence-related space matters. USD(P) formulates national security and defense policy including space policy. DOD CIO provides oversight and drafts policy and guidance for position, navigation, and timing programs. CAPE oversees conduct of Analysis of Alternatives for space programs. The Director of Operational Test and Evaluation provides independent assessments of space program systems to the Secretary of Defense and USD(AT&L). USD©/CFO directs the formulation and execution of DOD’s budgets, including the space budget. Finally, the Office of Management and Budget engages in space program reviews, where it analyzes major defense space programs and suggests changes.

Six DOD organizations are involved in requirement setting for space programs. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), along with STRATCOM, generates requirements specifying the capabilities needed for the space mission. The Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command is responsible for developing Army space requirements. The Chief of Naval Operations provides requirements for Navy space systems and space-related strategies and operations. The Marine Corps, as primarily an end-user of space systems, is involved in the acquisition process by the Commandant of the Marine Corps generating requirements for the systems the Corps utilizes. STRATCOM, as the primary command supported by defense space capabilities, generates most space mission requirements. JCS is involved reviewing operational requirements, including the effects those requirements will have on joint military-intelligence operations, and validates the requirements through the JCIDS and/or ICCR processes.

Emergent Issues

Because of this fragmentation, there is no single, coordinated structure for defining space requirements within the DOD; several experts have remarked that “no one is in charge for space acquisitions.”[12] Without a strong, central leadership for space systems, long-term planning and architectures for space are done in a mission area-focused manner and not at an enterprise level. Acquisition is coordinated through, but not controlled by, the Secretary of the Air Force. The organizations charged with oversight are not in control of, or able to set the direction and build the overarching strategy for, U.S. space capabilities. Aside from the office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Air Force Space Command, and the Space and Missile Systems Center, the organizations that shape and govern the focus and acquisition of U.S. space assets are outside the Air Force’s command-and-control structure.[13]

This presents significant challenges for the United States’ military to establish a space architecture that is resilient on the enterprise level. While, in 2011, the DOD and Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a National Security Space Strategy which gave guidance on an integrated path for space capabilities, it did not establish clear lines of authority for space acquisition and architecture management nor delineate architectural priorities. Throughout 2015 and 2016, the Commander of Air Force Space Command, in coordination with the Director of NRO, developed a “Space Enterprise Vision” aimed at coordinating planning for space systems across the DOD’s stakeholders.[14] However, the document is classified at high levels, limiting its visibility for lower-level organizations with acquisition and requirements-setting authorities; questions also exist of the enforceability of the Space Enterprise Vision at levels above the AFSPC.[15] The PDSA’s office planned to conduct DOD-wide architecture planning, but lacks the sufficient resources to carry out the task and authorities to effectively execute large planning decisions at the OSD level.[16]

Due to fragmented leadership, redundant oversight bureaucracy, and difficulty coordinating among numerous and diverse stakeholders, DOD space acquisitions generally take too long. Officials have noted that it can take a minimum of 3 years to develop an acquisition strategy, issue a RFP, conduct source selection, and award a contract – a timeline that doesn’t include system development, testing, and fielding.[17] Oversight entities are reluctant to waive or change acquisition steps and practices out of fear that they will be blamed later.[18]

DOD’s oversight review bureaucracy contributes to acquisition inefficiencies which are especially pronounced for the space force. DOD program managers believe they are not sufficiently empowered to execute their programs and that, because much remains outside their control, cannot be held accountable.[19] Studies by the Defense Science Board and Defense Business Board highlighted the challenge of redundant reviews, noting that the DOD has a “checkers checking checkers” system which contributes to inefficiencies in space system ac1uaition. Acquisition decisions are made in separate “stovepipes”: requirements, acquisition, and budgets. Each of these is a multi-layered, heavily bureaucratic series of oftentimes uncoordinated processes which do not operate on the same timelines, do not utilize common documentation, and often create situations resulting in conflicting decisions.

Because no one person or organization is held accountable for balancing government-wide national security space needs against wants, resolving conflicts and ensuring coordination among the many organizations involved with space acquisitions, and ensuring that resources are directed where they are most needed, most major space programs have experienced significant cost and schedule increases. As inherently joint programs that have a large set of stakeholders, most military space programs have a resulting requirements creep, causing difficulty in gaining consensus. From this, the Analysis of Alternatives process can take years to complete, leading to outdated technologies being fielded and schedule delays. Space programs are typically high dollar, low volume acquisitions, which reinforces a tendency to overload program requirements to satisfy the desires of multiple stakeholders. With too many systems requirements and ever increasing mission assurance expectations, the costs and schedules of these space systems continue to increase.[20]

For instance, program costs for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite program, a protected satellite communications system, had grown 116 percent as of a 2016 GAO review, and its first satellite was launched more than 3.5 years late. For the Space Based Infrared System High (SBIRS High), a missile warning satellite program, costs grew nearly 300 percent and its first satellite launch was delayed roughly 9 years. Contract costs for the Global Positioning System (GPS) ground system, designed to control on-orbit GPS satellites, had more than doubled and the program had experienced a 4-year delay. The delivery of that ground system is now estimated to be delayed another 2 years, for a cumulative 6-year delay.[21]

This too threatens the identified need for a pivot in the national security space system architecture. Requirement creep in satellite systems, caused by diverse stakeholders trying to incorporate their desired and needed capabilities into a single platform, leads to high-cost, high-complexity assets with long development and deployment times. This is antithetical to the resilient space architecture of distributed and rapidly deployable capabilities proposed by DOD space leadership. According to General John Hyten, current commander of STRATCOM and former commander of AFSPC, the Air Force “spends too much money and time developing satellites that make attractive targets.” As a response, STRATCOM will, according to General Hyten, drive space system requirements for simpler, more easily acquired and deployed systems, and “as a combatant commander, I won’t support the development any further of large, big, fat, juicy targets. I won’t support that.”[22]

Organizational Reform, Past and Present

Past studies and reports recommended several ways to improve leadership and decision-making authority in the defense space community. However, DOD has not adopted many of the recommendations, and the GAO suggested that it was too early to tell whether recent changes would be effective. Nonetheless, several organizational changes have occurred over the past two decades. In response to the 2001 Space Commission, the Secretary of the Air Force was designated the DOD Executive Agent for Space and given milestone decision authority for space programs. However, the EA for Space was not given control of budget and its role as a milestone decision authority was rescinded in 2005, limiting its ability to coordinate space activities. In 2004, the Undersecretary of the Air Force established the National Security Space Office (NSSO) to assist in integrating space activities, combining functions of the National Security Space Architect – which was responsible for developing architectures across the range of mission areas for DOD and the intelligence community – and the National Security Space Integration directorate. The NSSO was disestablished in 2010, when the Defense Space Council was created to serve as the principal advisory forum for all defense space matters. Without enforcement authority, though, it has mainly served and advisory and consensus-building role.

The more recent organizational change was the 2015 establishment of the Principal DOD Space Advisor, a re-designation of the Executive Agent for Space role. PDSA officials believe that the move to the PDSA would consolidate leadership in space and address the issue of fragmented leadership responsibilities. The role includes greater authority than the EA for Space role in that it has the ability to voice opinions to the Deputy’s Management Action Group. However, the GAO raised issues with the position, noting that the DMAG primarily addresses issues on an ad-hoc basis and that most decisions involving investment are done on a “piecemeal” basis within the acquisition, requirements, and budget process. Many DOD officials and experts expressed skepticism of the role, stating that PDSA is merely a cosmetic change.[23]  Meanwhile, in June 2017, the Air Force stood up a Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations in Air Force headquarters as an effort to integrate and elevate space operations in the Air Force. The A-11 would be the advocate for space operations and requirements in Air Force Headquarters and integrate the Air Force’s space force in areas such as training and requirements development.[24]

However, in response to persistent issues of fragmentation in the DOD’s space leadership structure, significant reorganization was included in the 2018 NDAA. Describing the changes, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn), respectively the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, noted that “[n]o single official could be held accountable for the success or the failure of the space enterprise. Too many bureaucrats are empowered to say ‘no’ when it comes to defending our assets in space and too few are empowered to say ‘yes,’.”[25] The 2018 NDAA provides the Commander of Air Force Space Command with the sole authority to organize, train, and equip personnel and operations of the Air Force’s space forces, and serve as the acquisition executive for all defense space acquisitions “answerable only to the Secretary of the Air Force, who will answer to Congress.”[26] It terminates the office and position of the Principal Department of Defense Space Advisor, characterizing the office as “burdensome and inefficient bureaucracy,” and transfers its duties of managing Major Force Program 12 to a single official, who cannot be the Secretary of the Air Force, selected by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.[27] It will also terminate the Defense Space Council and disestablish the Air Force A-11, which the NDAA conference report described as a “hastily developed half-measure instituted by the Air Force, which at best only added a box on the organizational chart.”[28]

The FY18 NDAA also directs the Deputy Secretary of Defense to hire a federally funded research-and-development corporation to provide Congress with a “roadmap to establish a separate military department responsible for national security space activities of the DOD.” The FFRDC cannot be affiliated with the Air Force. Some perceive this as a continuing commitment by policymakers to eventually establish a “Space Corps,” a proposal issued by Chairman Rogers which did not make it into the conferenced NDAA.[29] According to Rogers at the Reagan National Defense Forum in late 2017, the idea of a space corps will be revisited in the 2019 NDAA and that “it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable.”[30]

The “Space Corps”

In the space corps proposal, the AFSPC would become a separate service while still reporting to the Secretary of the Air Force, akin to the Marine Corps’ arrangement. While it would not become its own department with its own secretary, it would be led by its own chief who would sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff with a six-year term. This position would be equal to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and would answer to the Secretary of the Air Force. It would also set up a U.S. Space Command that would be a sub-unified command under U.S. strategic command to help improve the integration of space operations in warfighting. The space corps would be responsible for the DOD’s space force acquisition, management, and oversight[31] According to Chairman Rogers, the size and scope of the space corps would be left to leaders in the Pentagon, who would describe how big it would be and what the bureaucracy would look like.[32]

However, Air Force officials issued significant pushback to the proposal in the run up to NDAA conferencing. According to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, “The Pentagon is complicated enough… [t]his will make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money. And if I had more money, I would put it into lethality, not bureaucracy….I don’t need another chief of staff and another six deputy chiefs of staff.”[33] Other leaders focused on the downsides of separating the space force when the DOD should be focused on integrating space across the joint forces. In the words of Air Force Chief of Space Gen. David Goldfein, “If you’re saying the word ‘separate’ and ‘space’ in the same sentence, you’re moving in the wrong direction… [t]he secretary and I are focused how do we integrate space.”[34] Retired Gen. Robert Kehler, former commander of STRATCOM, agreed, “We ought to think about space the way we do about submarines, not the Marines,” noting the submarine force is somewhat of separate, special force that is still part of the Navy.[35]

In an analysis of the space corps proposal, the GAO noted that space would be accorded the greatest amount of visibility and attention and that the organizational change would be very difficult to undo, allowing for its procedures to effectively evolve. However, the GAO also noted that the creation of a space corps would require increased budget to stand up, a challenge in the limited fiscal environment. It would strongly disrupt DOD’s space organizational structure, roles, and responsibilities in the short term.[36]

Analysis and Recommendations

Regardless of the specifics of reorganization within the DOD’s acquisition, management, and oversight of national security space assets, it is imperative that steps be taken to reduce fragmentation and streamline acquisition authorities. Despite differences in opinion about which approach should be pursued, it is an encouraging sign that the Congress and senior Pentagon leadership have recognized this need and appear committed to executing upon it. Preparing the DOD to wage conflict in space by resolving acquisition challenges that currently burden the space force and which lead to “pristine” high-cost, high-complexity systems with long development times is critical to defend against peer-adversary threats and competition in the space domain.

The reorganization actions taken by the 2018 NDAA, coupled with other actions taken within the Pentagon, appear to be positive first steps. Designating AFSPC as the sole authority to organize, train, and equip and to serve as the acquisition authority for all Air Force space systems centralizes and streamlines space system acquisitions within the Air Force, which is the predominate user of national security space systems. Considering that AFSPC promulgated the Space Enterprise Vision and is a lead Air Force organization for setting requirements, centralizing acquisition authority and decision-making with it should be a positive step toward enabling a more resilient space architecture through different systems approaches.

In early December, the DOD designated the commander of AFSPC, currently Gen. Jay Raymond, to become the Joint Force Space Component Commander, taking operational responsibility for the employment of all joint space forces. This does not change AFSPC’s mission, but increases integration with other STRATCOM operational component commanders and elevates the operational level of command and control from a three to a four-star commander. The restructure is intended to build a more coherent organizational structure enabling cleaner operational authority over space assets.[37] While the restructure officially reorganized joint space forces beneath STRATCOM, it effectively elevates the space mission to co-equal status with STRATCOM’s other terrestrial missions.[38]

Between this operational elevation of AFSPC’s commander and the centralized acquisition authorities granted by the FY18 NDAA, closer coordination in space system architectures and requirements can be achieved between STRATCOM and AFSPC’s leadership. With AFSPC taking on operational responsibility of all joint space forces, it is better poised to understand and recognize critical enterprise-level capability needs and issue requirements for those, instead of a diversity of mission-focused stakeholders seeking input into the requirements process.

Of course, other challenges are not addressed by the NDAA’s reorganization. There is no impact on any other organization other than the Air Force, which is not enough to change the entire space force landscape. Nor does it necessarily minimize the bureaucratic burden         of oversight and requirements setting by organizations and stakeholders outside of the Air Force’s command and control structure. Some have suggested that steps such as granting the Secretary of the Air Force Milestone Decision Authority for space acquisition programs, including RDT&E and procurement, would help processes on the back side of acquisition bring space systems to fruition faster.[39] With AFSPC, as a focal point for acquisition, now answerable to the Secretary of the Air Force under the FY18 NDAA, this would be a positive development. However, bureaucratic inertia from space stakeholders outside of the Air Force may undermine this new reorganization’s effectiveness. Some have suggested eventually establishing a Defense Space Agency, with a USD (Space), for consolidated oversight of military space. This could combine space acquisition functions from all military agencies into one organization, providing greater unity of cross-service military space acquisitions and oversight and provide focused OSD oversight of military space policies and execution. However, this would not necessarily consolidate all national security space activities.

Either way, future changes in the organizational structure may be necessary to achieve streamlining of space system acquisition. However, sufficient time should first be given to allow this current reorganization structure to settle in and for processes to develop, evolve, and refine before reorganization is again attempted. While many experts and leaders in DOD, GAO, and the Congress had skepticism that the PDSA would effectively serve as a coordinating function for DOD’s space stakeholders, it should be noted that its supporters expressed frustration that not enough time was granted for the position to become fully effective.[40] To that end, it would be unwise for the Congress to reattempt to stand up a space corps or otherwise significantly restructure the authorities for acquisition and management of space systems within the DOD through the FY19 NDAA. It should first be seen whether the new AFSPC arrangement, coupled with STRATCOM’s interest in more resilience architecture requirements, can change the way that national security space systems are designed and acquired.

Moreover, as suggested by current DOD leadership in their pushback against the space corps proposal, the Air Force is currently in the process of redefining its space doctrine to meet emerging space threats and challenges, even if it does face persistent acquisition challenges, and is working to integrate space assets into the joint force. To entirely upend the DOD’s space hierarchy and command and control during this period of integration would be detrimental to this doctrinal and integration work. Rather, if a separate service is eventually going to be set up, it should be done so progressively, perhaps emerging out of an eventually stood up Defense Space Agency.

Finally, it is important to note that other areas of reform which are critical for improving DOD space system acquisitions extend beyond organizational challenges and fragmentation in leadership. These include streamlining reviews and delegating more decision-making and budgetary authority to lower levels. Likewise, innovative new contracting mechanisms such as OTAs through offices such as the Office of Responsive Space may serve to achieve the needed resilient space architecture in quicker development cycles and timelines. Organizational reform to resolve longstanding issues in DOD space acquisition may help support these other areas of reform, but will not alone resolve DOD’s acquisition problems.


Reforming the DOD’s space acquisition structure and organization is, and will continue to be, critical for the United States’ military to have a space force capable of countering threats and winning conflict in the future. Positive progress has been taken in the FY18 NDAA toward centralizing acquisition authority with the AFSPC, a central user of national security space systems and primary requirement setter, though more work and further changes are likely needed to be done to streamline the burdensome oversight structure. At any rate, for now, it is promising to see that leaders in the Pentagon and in Congress recognize the vital utility and importance of national security space systems and see this issue as one critical for the continuing security and military supremacy of the United States.

Works Cited

[1] Aaron Bateman, “In outer space, the US is vulnerable to China and Russia,” The Hill, July 20, 2017, http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/defense/342992-in-outer-space-the-us-is-vulnerable-to-china-and-russia

[2] Elbridge Colby, “From Sanctuary to Battlefield,” Center for a New American Security, January 27, 2016, https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/from-sanctuary-to-battlefield-a-framework-for-a-us-defense-and-deterrence-strategy-for-space

[3] Steven Tomaszewski, “How the US Military Is Preparing for Hostile Threats to Its Satellites,” Vice News, May 5, 2015, https://news.vice.com/article/how-the-us-military-is-preparing-for-hostile-threats-to-its-satellites

[4] “Space Domain Mission Assurance: A Resilience Taxonomy,” Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense & Global Security, September 2015, https://fas.org/man/eprint/resilience.pdf

[5] Elbridge Colby, “From Sanctuary to Battlefield.”

[6] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office, July 27, 2016, https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-592R

[7] Cristina Chaplain, “Space Acquisitions: DOD Continues to Face Challenges of Delayed Delivery of Critical Space Capabilities and Fragmented Leadership,” Government Accountability Office, May 17, 2017, https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/684664.pdf

[8] Ibid.

[9] Dee Ann Davis, “Lawmakers Begin Moving Military Space Management Out of the Air Force,” Inside GNSS, November 10, 2017, http://www.insidegnss.com/node/5681

[10] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

[11] John Venable, “Creating a “Space Corps” Is Not the Solution to U.S. Space Problems,” Heritage Foundation, October 10, 2017, http://www.heritage.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/BG3254_0.pdf

[12] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

[13] John Venable, “Creating a “Space Corps” Is Not the Solution to U.S. Space Problems”

[14] Colin Clark, “Space Command Readies For War With ‘Space Enterprise Vision’,” Breaking Defense, June 20, 2016, https://breakingdefense.com/2016/06/space-command-readies-for-war-with-space-enterprise-vision/

[15] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

[18] Cristina Chaplain, “Space Acquisitions: DOD Continues to Face Challenges of Delayed Delivery of Critical Space Capabilities and Fragmented Leadership”

[19] “Best Practices: Better Support of Weapon System Program Managers Needed to Improve Outcomes,” Government Accountability Office, November 30, 2005, http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-110

[20] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

[21] “Space Acquisition: Challenges Facing DOD as it Changes Approaches to Space Acquisitions,” Government Accountability Office, March 9, 2016, https://www.gao.gov/assets/680/675694.pdf

[22] Sandra Erwin, “STRATCOM chief Hyten: ‘I will not support buying big satellites that make juicy targets,’” SpaceNews, November 19, 2017.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Valerie Insinna, “In push to normalize space domain, Air Force adds new three-star position,” Defense News, April 4, 2017, https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/space-symposium/2017/04/04/in-push-to-normalize-space-domain-air-force-adds-new-three-star-position/

[25] Stew Magnuson, “Secretary Wilson Mostly Mum on Proposed Air Force Space Program Reorganization,” National Defense Magazine, November 16, 2017, http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2017/11/16/air-force-secretary-sees-positives-in-ndaas-space-sounds-warning-on-sequestration

[26] Marcia Smith, “No Space Corps in Final FY2018 NDAA,” SpacePolicyOnline, November 8, 2017, https://spacepolicyonline.com/news/no-space-corps-in-final-fy2018-ndaa/

[27] Sandra Erwin, “Space reforms coming: 2018 NDAA drops legislative bombshells on U.S. Air Force,” SpaceNews, November 9, 2017, http://spacenews.com/space-reforms-coming-2018-ndaa-drops-legislative-bombshells-on-u-s-air-force/

[28] Dee Ann Davis, “Lawmakers Begin Moving Military Space Management Out of the Air Force,”

[29] Rebecca Kheel, “Why the military’s Space Corps isn’t dead yet,” The Hill, November 19, 2017, http://thehill.com/policy/defense/360958-why-the-militarys-space-corps-isnt-dead-yet

[30] Sandra Erwin, “Congressman Rogers: A space corps is ‘inevitable’,” SpaceNews, December 2, 2017, http://spacenews.com/congressman-rogers-a-space-corps-is-inevitable/

[31] Philip Swarts, “House panel takes first step towards military “Space Corps,” SpaceNews, June 20, 2017, http://spacenews.com/house-panel-takes-first-step-towards-military-space-corps/

[32] Christian Davenport, “Some in Congress are pushing for a ‘Space Corps,’ dedicated to fighting wars in the cosmos,” The Washington Post, September 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/09/15/some-in-congress-are-pushing-for-a-space-corps-dedicated-to-fighting-wars-in-the-cosmos/?utm_term=.4f90f9407b54

[33] Sydney Freedberg, Jr, “Space Corps, What Is It Good For? Not Much: Air Force Leaders,” Breaking Defense, June 21, 2017, https://breakingdefense.com/2017/06/space-corps-what-is-it-good-for-not-much-air-force-leaders/

[34] Ibid.

[35] Mike Fabey, “Debate intensifies over Rogers’ Space Corps proposal,” SpaceNews, September 8, 2017, http://spacenews.com/debate-intensifies-over-rogers-space-corps-proposal/

[36] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

[37] “AFSPC commander becomes JFSCC, joint space forces restructure,” U.S. Strategic Command, December 4, 2017, http://www.stratcom.mil/Media/News/News-Article-View/Article/1386821/afspc-commander-becomes-jfscc-joint-space-forces-restructure/

[38] Sandra Erwin, “Space commander enthusiastic about NDAA reforms,” SpaceNews, December 8, 2017, http://spacenews.com/space-commander-enthusiastic-about-ndaa-reforms/

[39] John Venable, “Creating a “Space Corps” Is Not the Solution to U.S. Space Problems”

[40] “Defense Space Acquisitions: Too Early to Determine if Recent Changes Will Resolve Persistent Fragmentation in Management and Oversight,” Government Accountability Office

National Space Council – NASA Budget Memorandum

NSC NASA Budget Memo

TO:    Donald Trump, President
CC:    Mike Pence, Vice President; Chairman, National Space Council
Scott Pace, Executive Secretary, National Space Council
Mick Mulvaney, Director, Office of Management and Budget
RE:    Scope of Human Spaceflight Program Under Alternative Budget Profiles

For your use as you prepare for the FY19 budget submission, the staff of the National Space Council has produced an analysis on the scope of the human spaceflight program under three alternative funding profiles. This evaluation will inform you of the budget’s impact on opportunities and challenges in the United States’ human spaceflight program, and corresponding policy and political considerations.



Per the FY18 Presidential Budget Request (Fig. 1), NASA’s budget is notionally projected to remain $19 billion, adjusted for inflation, through your Administration’s first term. As with recent fiscal years, Congressional appropriators are likely to marginally mark-up the total enacted budget.

The United States’ human spaceflight portfolio currently involves three active programs: the International Space Station (ISS), Commercial Crew and Cargo (C3) contracts for ISS resupply, and development of a heavy-lift rocket (Space Launch System; SLS) and a multipurpose crew capsule (Orion). The ISS is scheduled for continual use through 2024, with the possibility of extension. Current C3 contracts are expected to last through at least 2024. SLS’ first flight with Orion (Exploration Mission 1; EM-1) is scheduled for no earlier than December 2019.

By mandate in the 2010 National Space Policy and the 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act, NASA is pursuing beyond-Earth-orbit human spaceflight. The agency’s roadmap involves cis-lunar exploration throughout the 2020s followed by missions to Martian orbit and surface in the 2030s and 2040s. NASA has proposed a cis-lunar station concept (Deep Space Gateway; DSG) for the 2020s. Per White House direction, the agency has submitted an updated exploration roadmap (“NSC Report”) to NSC staff. The DSG and NSC Report roadmap are currently unfunded and not written into statute authorizing NASA; however, they are included in this evaluation under the presumption of their approval.


As indicated in agency testimony and feedback, NASA’s current budget allows for a cadence of 1 SLS flight per year through the 2020s, beginning with EM-1 in December 2019 or early 2020 and first crewed flight (EM-2) by 2023. Starting with EM-2, each SLS flight will be co-manifested with a component of the DSG; completion of the DSG may require up to 4 SLS flights. Crew may be able to fly on-station at DSG for up to 40 days per mission. DSG will be leveraged as a “staging-point” for missions to Martian orbit and surface in the 2030s and 2040s. Development of capabilities necessary for the Mars campaign, including solar electric propulsion, deep-space habitats, and landing and surface operations technologies, will require funding through the 2020s concurrent with DSG operations. Past 2024, fiscal pressures will make continued ISS operations concurrent with cis-lunar exploration challenging. C3 resupply of the ISS will accordingly be terminated upon ISS decommissioning.

This budget level should be considered the baseline minimum for NASA to achieve its exploration mandate within current projected schedule. It does not afford NASA significant flexibility to conduct robust lunar exploration while pursuing technology development for Mars or to sustain an American presence in low-Earth-orbit following ISS decommissioning. NASA expects international and commercial partners to leverage DSG for the former and commercial industry to independently develop the latter throughout the 2020s. A marginal level of flexibility is afforded for unanticipated difficulties in capability development through the 2020s, though schedule may be affected. Critical knowledge gaps for deep-space human spaceflight will put long-term pressure on the program, as ISS’ limited availability creates significant uncertainty for research prior to conduct of operations.

If pursuing this budget level, your Administration must remain cognizant of the risk of “mission creep” and interface with agency and Congressional leaders to avoid it. As this budget offers only enough resources for NASA to meet its exploration mandate through progression in a phased development roadmap, the agency cannot afford to be diverted from that roadmap. Pursuing ancillary exploration goals, such as lunar exploration, jeopardizes budget prioritization for mid-term technology development. If your Administration wishes to pursue these goals instead, it must make that decision before development begins on Mars-relevant capabilities. Your Administration should proactively work with stakeholders to determine, in the short-term, the future of ISS and potential opportunities for commercial partnership in cis-lunar space. Doing so will allow NASA, potential international partners, and commercial stakeholders to better account for timeline pressures and accordingly prepare capabilities to supplement NASA’s roadmap needs.


The programmatic challenges encountered in an inflation-adjusted stable budget are amplified in a flat budget. It offers little buffer against cost-overruns and schedule slippage, potentially jeopardizing the opportunity for cis-lunar human flight within your first term. NASA will need to prioritize budget between operations and space technology development; this may necessitate a slower cadence of flight, which entails safety risk and flight cost increases, or require delay in the development of critical Mars technologies. To maintain currently projected schedule, NASA may need to divert funds from its scientific or planetary exploration portfolios. Otherwise, it is unlikely that a flat budget will enable human missions to Mars by the current mandate of the 2030s. In this budget scenario, pursuit of lunar exploration goals will likely necessitate cancellation or long-term postponement of the Mars campaign; if your Administration wishes to pursue lunar exploration, it will need to work with Congressional policymakers to change NASA’s statutory authorization.

With a flat budget, NASA will need to significantly expand its leverage of international and commercial sector capabilities and more deeply integrate them into its proposed mission architecture. In doing so, the agency will need to take inventory of core technological competencies and determine which core mission capabilities it is willing to take off the “critical path” of NASA-internal development. While some historical precedent suggests that international and public-private partnerships may offer NASA cost-savings, these partnerships also risk schedule slips, compromises in hardware safety and reliability, and programmatic decision-making outside of NASA’s control. Certain capabilities, particularly if procured from the commercial sector, may not be sustainably available. Your Administration must recognize these tradeoffs if this budget level is to be pursued.

NASA may leverage various options for international and commercial partnership that supplement or replace agency-developed capability. While not the preferred forcing function, this may serve to catalyze more robust partner capabilities. In lieu of a steady SLS cadence to deliver DSG components to cis-lunar space, NASA may procure launch services from one of several commercial heavy-lift rockets currently in development. Doing so may require NASA to significantly scale down the size and weight of DSG. NASA may seek international contribution of critical DSG components instead of developing them itself; however, like ISS’ arrangement, this may create schedule pressure on NASA’s roadmap and require decision-sharing that eliminates NASA’s programmatic autonomy. If your Administration wishes to pursue this budget, it should immediately begin working with State Department personnel to establish dialogue with potential international partners over DSG arrangements.


A scaled NASA budget (e.g. 4% growth a year over your first term) offers the agency considerable flexibility in pursuing exploration goals ancillary to its current roadmap and more certainty in meeting milestones on schedule. It could allow for prolonged operation of ISS, a preferable resolution to current programmatic and research uncertainties. Providing NASA discretionary funds for human spaceflight activities would likewise enable expanded opportunity for partnership with commercial providers and catalytic support for commercial development of low-Earth-orbit and lunar space. This budget scenario increases the likelihood of returning humans to lunar space within your second term, a considerable political win.

As fiscal constraints currently dictate their flight schedule, EM-1 and EM-2 could be moved up should additional budget be provided toward SLS, Orion, and ground support system development and production. In such case, EM-1 may fly before the close of your first term, and EM-2 could fly earlier than the close of your second term. A scaled budget may offer opportunity for additional flights between, or shortly following, EM-1 and EM-2, which would lower flight safety risk and cost. Work on Mars technology development may begin earlier, which could allow for an expedited schedule of deep-space flight.

With a scaled budget, NASA could potentially maintain ISS operation through the 2020s or conduct lunar exploration during the cis-lunar phase of its roadmap; or, depending on the extent of budget increase, both. If NASA opts to maintain ISS through at least 2028, it will afford researchers extra time to resolve technical and biological knowledge gaps about long-term human spaceflight critical for prolonged missions to cis-lunar space and Mars. It will likewise afford commercial industry an anchor to continue economic development of low-Earth-orbit, especially if ISS is more extensively leveraged as a platform for commercial R&D. If NASA pursues lunar exploration, additional funds may be used for scientific surface instruments and payloads, potentially deployed on commercial landers, or conduct experimental in-situ resource prospecting and utilization. Investing in the latter capability would have functional benefit for missions to the Martian surface.

With discretionary funds, NASA could solicit expanded commercial participation in its roadmap while maintaining internal control over “critical path” capabilities. Procurement of low-Earth-orbit commercial space stations for additional research, commercial lunar landers for scientific payload deliver, commercial resource extraction for on-orbit fuel production, and commercial cis-lunar cargo delivery would substantially enhance NASA’s programmatic efforts. The infusion of NASA funding would catalyze commercial capability development, potentially leading to a long-term commercial infrastructure that NASA could sustainably leverage.


The staff concludes that a significant scaling of NASA’s budget over the term(s) of your Administration is necessary for the agency to securely achieve its statutory human exploration goals. However, the staff recognizes that political and fiscal realities likely preclude the availability of additional budget. To ensure available resources are best utilized, we offer the following recommendations:

PROGRAM AND BASELINE BUDGET CONSISTENCY: NASA requires consistency of purpose and certainty of long-term funding to achieve a multi-year human spaceflight program. Budget planning for a cis-lunar and Mars campaign will occur several fiscal years ahead of employment of funds. Unanticipated changes in program or budget will accordingly hamper programmatic progress and schedule. Your Administration should take steps to ensure that proposed NASA budgets and direction remains stable and consistent throughout your term(s).

EXECUTIVE BRANCH ADVOCACY: Inconsistency between Executive Branch and Congressional space policy and budget-setting, particularly over the past two Administrations, has been a source of NASA’s mired progress. Leadership in policy direction for NASA has accordingly shifted away from the Presidency to the Legislative Branch. To ensure that your Administration’s exploration goals are met, the Executive Branch must elevate human spaceflight from parochial Congressional interest to the national policy agenda. This may be achieved through cross-government engagement on space goals and shaping public opinion, in states with both vested space interests and without, through speeches and visiting engagements

LEVERAGING PARTNER COMPETENCIES: The substantial costs and technical challenges involved in beyond-Earth-orbit human spaceflight preclude NASA from achieving ambitious goals alone. The rapid growth of international and commercial competencies and alignment of exploration interests presents good opportunity to supplement NASA’s capabilities. Engagement with commercial and international partners will meanwhile solidify the United States’ space leadership. Your Administration should proactively interact with commercial and international partners and stakeholders to identify areas of shared interest and cooperation. Policy directives should be issued to both NASA and agencies overseeing regulation of the commercial space sector that direct them to take steps fostering continued commercial development of space.

The staff encourages your Administration to continue its enthusiastic interest in and support for space exploration. NASA truly is what “makes America great.”

International Cooperation and Competition in Space

How – and Why – Should the United States Proceed?


The moment that humanity first passed beyond the Earth’s thin atmosphere, outer space became a subject of international politics; an arena characterized by the cooperative and competitive interactions that shape relations between states. The history of the “Space Age” is rife with examples of both – the race to the Moon, Apollo-Soyuz, Shuttle-Mir, and the International Space Station, along with several collaborative efforts on probes sent throughout the solar system. Likewise, space has served as a medium to directly support cooperation, competition, and strategic balancing between nations on Earth – as a means for treaty verification, to link economies, to enable warfighting and, as trends suggest, to potentially be a theater of war itself.

This fundamental facet of activity in space will remain essential well into the future, even if the dynamics of space activity are quickly evolving in the present. Far from the technological “battleground” between two competing superpowers that defined the genesis of the space age, outer space today involves numerous actors, both national and private, and will soon be shared by several more emerging space powers. Between traditional commercial operators whose services are pillars of the modern economy and new private ventures promising novel applications and markets, space is a vital sphere of economic activity. As international commons, it faces transnational challenges such as the proliferation of space debris, space weather, equitable allocation of limited spectrum, and legal uncertainties involving issues such as space property rights. Increasingly, space is, especially in the view of national security users, “congested, contested, and competitive.” Through these changing dynamics, the traditional lines between civil/government, commercial, and defense space systems and actors have become blurred; unilateral space activities are gradually being replaced by bilateral, regional, and multinational activities. This all suggests that cooperation (or, depending on perspective, competition) will be of redoubled significance as humanity pursues its space objectives through the coming century.

Since its beginning, the United States’ space policy has balanced cooperative and competitive strategies which span the civil, commercial, and national security sectors. Fostering cooperation in space with international partners is described as an underlying objective of the country’s space endeavors. The 2010 National Space Policy, which today remains the guiding Executive-level statement of the United States’ space policy, notes that,

“From the outset of humanity’s ascent into space, this Nation declared its commitment to enhance the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others to maintain the freedom of space. The United States hereby renews its pledge of cooperation in the belief that with strengthened international collaboration and reinvigorated U.S. leadership, all nations and peoples space-faring and space-benefiting—will find their horizons broadened, their knowledge enhanced, and their lives greatly improved.”[1]

Of course, the same document also enshrines principles of space competition, if it be needed, by acknowledging that,

“The United States will employ a variety of measures to help assure the use of space for all responsible parties, and, consistent with the inherent right of self-defense, deter others from interference and attack, defend our space systems and contribute to the defense of allied space systems, and, if deterrence fails, defeat efforts to attack them.”[2]

The 2010 National Space Policy lays out specific directives to national departments and agencies which offer avenues for international cooperation. These include, in addition to other guidelines: promoting cost- and risk-sharing in international partnerships; enhancing the security and stability of behavior in space; reassuring allies of the U.S. commitment to collective self-defense; strengthening partnerships in space surveillance and situational awareness; leading the development and adoption of international standards to minimize space debris; and participating in multilateral transparency and confidence-building measures for the peaceful use of space.

This constitutes a rather comprehensive list of opportunities for cooperation, even if the United States has not pursued their implementation in totality. As the political apparatus which develops and executes the United States’ space policy undergoes transition – with an incoming NASA Administrator, a newly stood-up National Space Council, and talk of a pivot back to the Moon coming from the Executive Office – a reevaluation of these the strategic value of space cooperation and of these opportunities is appropriate (and, indeed, likely already underway). In the coming years, what balance between cooperative and competitive approaches ought to be sought and how should that balance be managed? What domestic and international strategies are likely to be the most effective for achieving the objective of enhancing “the welfare of humankind by cooperating with others?” How should the United States leverage partnerships in space to best preserve and enhance its space leadership?

Why Do We Cooperate (and Compete) in Space?

These are significant – and challenging – questions. To begin to address them, a review of the purpose of international space cooperation and competition is needed. As a seminal topic of spaceflight, there’s been no shortage of discussion regarding why nations cooperate and compete in space. A broad body of literature, drawing from diverse theories of international relations and grand strategy, seeks to describe the various motivations and aims that drive nations and other actors to collaborate, and occasionally contend, with each other in space.

The field is too wide for this piece to describe in full, but several important recurring points can inform its analysis. Foremost is that, in the words of Scott Pace, current Executive Secretary of the National Space Council, “international space cooperation is not an end in itself, but a means of advancing national interests.”[3] Or, as Kenneth Pedersen, former Director of International Affairs at NASA, once observed, “international space cooperation is not a charitable enterprise; countries cooperate because they judge it in their interest to do so.”[4] Countries (and other actors such as companies) are inherently self-interested; their activity in and use of space serves a distinct goal – be it political, economic, scientific, or for national security – that brings them benefit, international competitive advantage, and justifies the costs and complexities involved in a space program. This assumption should underlie all consideration of and decisions about potential partnerships and opportunities for cooperation; indeed, NASA policy on initiating international cooperation requires it, stating,

“Each cooperative activity must demonstrate a specific benefit to NASA or the United States. Such benefit may be in the form of data, services, or contribution to flight mission or operational infrastructure systems, or it may directly support broader U.S. policy or interests.”[5]

Even if space cooperation is pursued out of self-interest, the benefits that come from it are numerous and occasionally more appealing than those from unilateral action. First is that of cost and funding. Spaceflight is expensive; for many countries, the financial burden of an active space program is simply too much for them to pursue alone. Cost savings through cooperation takes various forms – through “programmatic enhancement,” in which a country provides hardware to fly and operate on another’s craft, or “programmatic interdependence,” in which countries provide mission- and architecture-critical hardware for a shared project, actors can offer their core technological competencies without footing the bill for capabilities they don’t indigenously possess. Cooperation may also be pursued through bilateral or multilateral data sharing and, of course, scientist-to-scientist collaboration and research. Considering the complexities of the 21st century’s probable space projects – such as human expeditions to the Moon or Mars – and the scope of addressing sizable challenges such as space debris through remediation or removal, spreading the burden of cost across multiple actors will likely be a necessity.

Next is that of programmatic stability and political consistency. Incorporating foreign partners into a space project provides it a level of political commitment that buffers from cancellation, to the extent that domestic political leadership is unwilling to break international agreements. So long as the costs to diplomatic prestige and reputation that come with breaking or withdrawing from an agreement are greater than the costs and utility of that agreement, leaders will be hesitant to pursue an international program’s outright termination. Moreover, the financial cost-savings described above can serve to make audacious yet costly projects more appealing to political leaders, who must balance space funding with other budgetary priorities.

Perhaps the most frequently cited benefit of space cooperation is the diplomatic cachet and control that it can provide; space partnership is a valuable “soft power” tool. Participation in a multilateral space project increases the diplomatic influence of participating states upon each other. As such, countries use space cooperation to support their terrestrial diplomatic and geopolitical policies and aims. For example, the decision to involve Russia in the International Space Station was motivated considerably by both the United States’ desire to limit a diaspora of Russian rocket scientists following the collapse of the Soviet Union and to strengthen relations with the “new” Russia. This example, though, highlights the variable utility of space cooperation for diplomatic purposes; more utility is derived from partnering with a specific country depending on the context and importance of the partnering states’ relations in world politics. In the political environment that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russo-American cooperation in space was of greater immediate value than, as an example, pursuing Sino-American cooperation instead. To that end, the diplomatic benefit of space cooperation shifts and evolves with developments in world affairs.

It need be remembered that while space cooperation may serve as diplomatic signaling and as “grease on the wheels” for a country seeking to achieve its foreign policy aims, it is more often an effect of developments in international relations than a direct cause. While the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was a marker and symbol of détente between the United States and Soviet Union, for example, it was not the catalyst nor the primary driver. Likewise, American cooperation with – and indeed current reliance on, for crew transportation – Russia in the International Space Station did not prevent nor has stymied the reemergence and growth of tensions between the two countries. Nonetheless, when coupled with an active diplomatic strategy on Earth, space cooperation can serve to strengthen a country’s foreign policy pursuits. And, by process of establishing diplomatic channels and acclimating leaders to partners’ decision-making processes, institutional cultures, and standard operating procedures, it enables future cooperation between countries in space and on Earth – and, critically, builds trust.

Related to the diplomatic benefit of space cooperation, and arguably of more long-term utility, is cooperation to support norm- and international regime-building. Norms are mutually accepted standards of proper or acceptable behavior which establish expectations and clarify misbehaviors; defining and defending norms helps to isolate, sanction, and limit bad behavior. This is particularly important in an environment such as space, where one actor’s misbehavior (through, for example, creating space debris) can have devastating consequences for the entire international community. While states are self-interested, maintaining an international regime that empowers them to pursue those interests – while disempowering those whose actions threaten the environment’s long-term stability and sustainability – is a compelling and important goal. As such, countries seek space partnerships and agreements with others who share at least vaguely similar values and principles to entrench them into widely accepted and lasting norms.

Cooperation in norm-setting is pursued through several methods: codification of principles in formal treaties and other legal instruments; voluntary international codes of conduct; and transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs). Likewise, the establishment of international regulatory regimes and entities enable the creation and oversight of rules that govern conduct of certain space activities and allow for fair competition and equitable access to space-derived benefits – such as spectrum allocation. States may also precondition partnership in a project or program on their potential partner’s buy-in on and adherence to certain norms.

And what of competition? Since the close of the Cold War, international space competition has shifted away from a superpower “race” to achieve notable “firsts” with civil space programs (though similar dynamics may still be seen among some emerging space powers, especially in the sphere of solar system exploration) to competition in the national security and commercial applications of space.

Over the recent decades, space has become an essential setting for military power projection – used for precision targeting, command and control, intelligence gathering, and maneuverability of weapons systems. For advanced militaries, national security space assets are integral to their warfighting capabilities and doctrines. For their potential adversaries, this reliance is increasingly viewed as a vulnerability that can be exploited through the development of counter-space capabilities, which include anti-satellite weapons, jammers, and hostile proximity-and-rendezvous space systems. Military competition in space will likely continue and evolve as countries cyclically develop the means to disable or destroy each other’s critical satellites and systems to defend or deter against such attacks.

Competition is inherent in the commercial sphere; commercial operators compete against each other and against foreign actors for customers and contracts. This is especially evident in the present day in the satellite communications, Earth imaging, and launch sectors. To support their domestic space industry, countries “compete” by establishing favorable regulatory environments, export control regimes, and/or subsidies that are conducive to commercial growth and overseas sales. They may also seek to involve the commercial sector in national projects and programs, occasionally at the expense of potential contributions that could have come from international partners. As the global commercial space sector blossoms, this competition – both on the part of the private operators and of their government regulators and sponsors – is bound to increase.

Notably, competition may also come through competing for partners. Countries with limited budgets need to make decisions regarding which programs they will get involved in and, as a corollary, the countries with which they will collaborate. For states seeking partners in an international project, offering attractive programmatic incentives or partnership schemes is a method to convince countries to join in lieu of other opportunities they could pursue. This may be most evident today in China’s aggressive push for partners in its upcoming modular space station.

The Limits – and Drawbacks – to Cooperation

Of course, space cooperation is not without its limitations or drawbacks, some of which are significant; these too are valuable considerations for the future of the United States’ space policy vis-à-vis the international community.

First, space cooperation is often limited to scientific and exploratory endeavors whose primary purpose are not distinctly political, military, or economic. Again, states are self-interested; while there is utility in cooperating on scientific projects that increase knowledge about the cosmos, these projects do not provide the same direct competitive advantage that gains in political influence, economic power, or national security strength do. States are understandably hesitant to pursue projects that would bolster others’ competencies in these fields, possibly at the detriment of their own relative strength. Moreover, as partnership on a project often entails transfer of technology or knowledge, states are reluctant to “give away” sensitive military or economic information and capabilities. Of course, there are caveats – in the case of military partners and allies, for example, cooperation on military capabilities in space is a way to strengthen mutual defense and further deter attacks on national security space systems.

Next, international cooperation on a space project creates programmatic dependence on all partners, requiring each to deliver what they promised on time and within agreed parameters. This creates increased complexities and occasionally heightened costs for all partners in the program – if, for example, one nation fails to deliver in time, the others must bear the cost of the schedule slippage. This presents the issue of a program’s “critical path” – who is responsible for the program’s core systems and architecture? Keeping critical systems development within the purview of one nation, while others pursue supporting or ancillary systems and equipment, presents several benefits: reducing coordination costs and eliminating potential delays from partners’ funding, technical, or policy complications. Yet at the same time, this increases costs for the country pursuing the critical path. Likewise, it may signal a lack of trust or confidence in the capabilities of a project’s partners.

Space cooperation may also create increased complexities as first-time partners try to learn and navigate the other’s political systems, cultures, and decision-making processes pertaining to space. While this increases the prospect of long-term, multi-project cooperation and is valuable for opening continuing dialogue and mutual understanding, it nonetheless can present programmatic and operational challenges for the joint mission they’re trying to achieve.

Finally, and of growing importance with the proliferation of commercial space operators, countries pursuing cooperation with foreign governments risk reducing opportunities for partnership with their own domestic space industry. As commercial space technologies and services mature, an overlap in capability is emerging among the most advanced commercial space operators and civil space programs. If both domestic industry and foreign governments can offer a similar service or competency to a mission, determining whether to pursue a partnership or a commercial contract becomes a challenging task. Ultimately, that decision is informed by the perceived utility of each; depending on a nation’s strategic goals and policies, the benefits of an international partnership may or may not be of more value than the benefits of contracting a needed service or technology out to its domestic space industry. Nonetheless, depending on the decision, potential partners (or commercial service providers) may feel slighted – or compelled to turn elsewhere. Striking an appropriate balance will present a difficult challenge for policymakers in the coming years, especially for those in countries with robust commercial space constituencies.

Implications for United States Policy

Having examined the utility and limitations of space cooperation and competition, we can return to and better address the initial question: what balance of cooperative and competitive approaches ought the United States seek in space and how should that balance be managed? The answer to this will necessarily be informed by the country’s policy priorities and objectives for outer space. Through a reading of the 2010 National Space Policy, the 2011 National Security Space Strategy, and current authorization legislation such as the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 and NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, five overarching policy goals are apparent: establish and reinforce norms of best behavior for outer space; preserve the space environment; enhance and protect national security space assets; support the domestic capabilities and international competitiveness of the commercial space sector; and pursue scientific investigation of the Earth and solar system along with beyond-Earth-orbit human exploration.

The prospect for international cooperation intersects with these goals in complex and overlapping ways. Cooperation toward one may bolster – or, conversely, undermine – progress toward another; hence the need to strike an appropriate balance. This is perhaps most apparent in the interplay between pursuing beyond-Earth-orbit exploration and fostering commercial space capabilities, to which we turn first. Looking at historical and projected trends, NASA’s budgetary limitations suggest that a unilateral return to the Moon and journey to Mars is highly unlikely. Partnership of some form seems apparent as the most practical course of action. While a cis-lunar “proving ground” period of human spaceflight has been a component of the United States’ exploration roadmap since the Obama years, the Trump Administration’s suggestion of a pivot back to the Moon – and NASA’s recent proposal of the “Deep Space Gateway” (DSG) cis-lunar station – has ignited a recent flurry of commercial and international interest in collaboration with NASA to support that objective.

Russia has proposed a Lunar Mission Support Module that would attach to the DSG, giving the outpost extra life-support, berthing, and storage capabilities. The European Space Agency has plans for its own habitat and logistics module to attach to the DSG, which it hopes to service with a European cargo spacecraft. Canada has proposed both a robotic arm, like that used on the International Space Station, and a solar sail demonstrator to fly on or near DSG. Japan hopes to leverage the DSG to conduct human landings on the Moon in the 2030s. Meanwhile, SpaceX and Blue Origin hope for commercial cargo contracts to the DSG, a host of companies touting lunar landing capabilities – including Blue Origin, Astrobotic, and Masten – seek to support the DSG with on-surface operations, and several firms are working on the NASA NextSTEP solicitation to provide, through private-public partnership, a DSG habitat and power module.

Of course, though NASA has the mandate to pursue beyond-Earth-orbit exploration, the Deep Space Gateway is still nothing more than a concept; as the maxim goes, budgets are policy – and the DSG is currently unfunded (even if NASA is deep in talks with industry and international partners about it). Still, it provides a conceptual launching point to consider the arrangements that cooperation can be pursued for the human exploration program.

First is the question of the critical path. By involving international contribution as core elements of the DSG – or whatever project ultimately gets funded – the United States could reap considerable cost-savings by prioritizing development in its core competencies. International partners are discussing providing critical capabilities such as habitation, power, life-support which, if pursued, would allow NASA focus on furnishing a core module along with launch and astronaut delivery. This type of deep integration would surely necessitate complex, long-term agreements and programmatic decision-sharing with partners. Considering the United States’ lack of political consistency on long-term, ambitious space projects over the past few decades, this may bring much needed political stability and buy-in for executing beyond-Earth-orbit exploration.

This sort of integration would, in effect, establish an arrangement akin to the International Space Station. This is an important consideration, as it would affect future programmatic decisions. At the point when the United States is ready to proceed with its mission to Mars, would its partners be ready to step away from the DSG? NASA has proposed that the DSG be capable of moving orbits to support exploration goals; consulting with partners and securing their approval for each maneuver would likely be a complex, time-consuming process. The challenges of the International Space Station, seen especially in the continuing struggle to decide on its future and fate, foreshadow the difficult questions that may come with partnership on the DSG. And what of the risk of schedule slippage? The European Space Agency’s continuing issues with producing and providing the Orion spacecraft’s service module is an omen of potential slips that could occur by relying on international partners to provide necessary components to the DSG. For a project with already high costs (and a need to maintain consistent launch cadence with the Space Launch System to keep its launch costs down), any slippage could threaten to derail NASA’s exploration timeline.

Finally, would this arrangement present opportunity for the United States’ commercial industry to offer core contributions? Drawing on the example of the International Space Station, it seems so: NASA could enter into contracts for cargo and astronaut delivery or, in the example of Bigelow’s BEAM, extra habitation space. However, if commercial is to play a supporting – rather than critical – function for the DSG, would the demand for its support be robust enough to involve several commercial partners and foster strong development in the industry? Perhaps, or perhaps not. This will depend on the level of reliance upon international contribution to the station and the level of funding NASA is willing – and able – to allocate to commercial services. Surely, though, many in the industry will feel snubbed if NASA decides to utilize the European or Russian modules for extra storage space or the European cargo spacecraft for its cargo deliveries in lieu of American companies with the same capabilities, even if it is cheaper to do so. For NASA’s leaders, finding the appropriate arrangement that maximizes cost-savings, leverages international capabilities, while still leaving opportunity for commercial involvement will be a delicate and difficult balancing act.

With that addressed, we turn to two areas where space competition should and likely will remain strategically important: the commercial and national security space sectors.

Let’s first address the commercial. To increase the competitiveness of its space industry against foreign companies and service providers, the United States’ government can pursue domestic several strategies that lower the barriers and costs to doing business. These include reform and easing of export control regulations, such as ITAR, to allow companies to sell high-technologies, currently deemed “sensitive,” to foreigners and to offer services such as launch from abroad. Likewise, regulatory and licensing processes can be simplified and streamlined, particularly for remote sensing activities and launch. Both have long been sought by the United States’ commercial space industry and, gradually, both are making progress – especially with the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act, which broadly overhauls commercial space licensing and authorities, currently working its way through Congress. The government can also consider offering incentives, be it in the form of tax credits, direct investment, or a more permissive regulatory environment, to entice space companies to do business in and from the United States. This strategy has seen success abroad, especially in Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, and to a degree in China, which offers bundled and subsidized satellite construction/launch services – all representative of the growing international competition for leadership in commercial space.

Of course, business anywhere requires a predictable legal environment and a relatively secure physical environment – especially so for business in space, where costs of entry and failure are high. Uncertainties such as questions over the legality of space property rights and the issues of space traffic management, space debris, and space weather pose challenges for the global commercial space sector (not to mention civil and national security space programs). Is it in the United States’ interest to pursue international cooperation as a solution to these issues? Keeping in mind the value of norm and regime-building, cooperation would seem to allow for a stable environment in which its commercial space sector could more securely operate. Yet doing so would also enable opportunities for foreign commercial space ventures to more readily compete. Still, considering that maintaining a secure space environment is a policy goal for the United States, it is evident that international cooperation on these problems is indeed the best strategy for American policymakers.

How, then, might cooperation be pursued for these issues? First, regarding the legality of space property rights: through recognizing, in the 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, the right for American citizens to own material mined in space, the United States has set in motion a precedent for space property rights – one with which many in the international community disagree. Legitimate questions exist about mining in the context of the non-appropriation provision of the Outer Space Treaty, though the United States has long maintained that the two are mutually compatible. And other countries, particularly Luxembourg, have begun to establish their own legal frameworks enabling space mining and private space property rights. To that end: the United States can pursue (and has) high-level multilateral dialogue on issues pertaining to space mining and its legality; these could include memorandums of understanding with countries about non-interference in mining activities and environmental protections. And, by simply allowing such operations to go forth while regulating and supervising them in a responsible manner, the United States could begin to establish norms of best practice. Ultimately, the legality of space property rights may require a new international treaty – though pursuing this option, at least in the short- to mid-term, is a non-starter.

With space situational awareness, the United States has made – and should continue to seek – good progress establishing data-sharing agreements with partners to enhance the tracking of objects in space. Considering that the United States Air Force already provides tracking information and warnings to operators across the world, continuing cooperation to integrate global monitoring systems and data more deeply into trajectory calculations is an obvious course of action. Yet the discussion of space situational awareness often evolves into one of space traffic management – a far more complicated arrangement. Consideration of this may be premature, as the United States has not yet established an authority to manage space traffic (though proposals have been floated of giving it to the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation), though early thoughts are warranted nonetheless.

To be truly effective, a space traffic management system must have global reach and be capable of compelling operators to maneuver if needed – akin to air traffic control. Should the United States content itself with allowing countries to pursue their own space traffic management systems and be responsible only for the operators within their jurisdiction? If so, working to establish an international coordinating body that normalizes countries’ space traffic management regimes – perhaps analogous to ICAO – could be an approach toward an effective system. Yet in that approach, or in standing up an international regulatory body with powers of compulsion, the United States risks both its own national security and economic competitiveness. Should the United States be compelled to move a surveillance satellite, for example, or an American company to move their communications satellite because an international organization tells them to? Doing so would represent cooperation in managing space traffic, yet is a clear example of the potential drawbacks of such cooperation. These are questions for future years – which will be informed by the organizations, processes, and procedures that will evolve to execute the role – yet the impending difficulty policymakers will have striking a balance between cooperation and competition on space traffic is clear to see.

There is then the issue of space debris, where striking a future balance between cooperation and competition will likewise be complex. Through international forums such as the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordinating Committee, the United States has done well promulgating its orbital debris mitigation standards internationally; same too with gradual work on the UN Guidelines on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space. However, with satellite mega-constellations soon to fly and a considerable number of defunct satellites stuck in long-duration orbits, many anticipate debris removal and remediation being an eventual necessity to deal with the space debris issue.

The 2010 National Space Policy directs NASA to begin development of active debris removal (ADR) technologies, though, as Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation points out,

“Minimal progress has been made on developing ADR technology. The initial interest shown by the DOD has waned, and NASA has decided it will not pursue R&D of ADR technologies beyond some very limited low-level efforts… [i]t is believed that the main reason for this limitation was an unwillingness by NASA to take on a potentially costly major new initiative without additional funding from Congress.”[6]

Significant legal and economic, not to mention funding, challenges confront the feasibility of active debris removal. Because space objects – including debris – are permanently within the jurisdiction of the state to which they’re registered, government permission will be required to interact with and remove any space object and governments will be legally liable for any damages that occur because of ADR activities. To that end, it would seem reasonable for the United States to pursue dialogue with other states about establishing transfer-of-ownership agreements and conventions on the liability of debris removal, establishing a normative or legal regime for space debris removal. This could come done in several ways: through MOUs and high-level discussions, or through a cooperative civil mission with other states.

A cooperative civil mission between governments would come with several of the benefits identified in space cooperation – driving down costs and risk for technology development and execution on the part of each partner (which, as Weeden noted, are currently a prohibitive factor) and establishing norms and expectations of debris removal practices by fiat. However, several companies have interest in – and identified prospective competitive business cases for – active space debris removal. Meanwhile, the technologies used for debris removal are inherently “dual-use,” in that they can be used to deorbit functional satellites just as well as debris. Whether the United States can justify this potential risk to its space security will be informed by the level of trust and military cooperation it holds in the potential partners with which it could collaborate. Ultimately, the decision on whether the United States should actively pursue an international program or simply strive to establish enabling norms for debris removal will come down to how policymakers weigh the merits and utility of a government-to-government partnership against national security considerations and turning over the potentially profitable activities to its commercial sector.

Finally, we turn to cooperation and competition in the use of space for national security. Space will continue to be used to more closely support warfighting operations on Earth, and it intuitively makes sense for the United States to pursue cooperation and integration with its military partners to increase mutual capabilities. The real question for cooperation is whether direct competition in space (i.e. it becoming weaponized and a theater of war, not for war) can, through TCBMs or other agreements, be prevented.

This is a topic in and of itself, yet some high-level observations can be made. Foremost is that any agreement must preserve the United States’ national security interests and capability to protect its space assets – including, if needed, through retaliation. This is, of course, spelled out in the 2010 National Space Policy. To that end – any agreements, be them through international forums such as the United Nations Conference on Disarmament or on a state-to-state basis, need to be transparent, verifiable, enforceable, and genuinely allow for protection of space assets from destructive attack. Current proposals toward that end, such as the Chinese/Russian proposal to ban anti-satellite weapons is, are lacking in enforceability and verifiability – as frequently noted by American national security leaders. So long as other countries have counter-space capabilities beyond kinetic hit-to-kill vehicles, the United States cannot afford to tie its hand in protecting its space assets. That said, some approaches may work; for example, the United States could pursue agreements on preventing use of weapons, be them kinetic or not, that would create undue amounts of space debris during an attack. A cooperative agreement of this sort would still allow for some level of protective retaliation in the event of an attack, while having the added benefit of protecting the space environment should conflict erupt in space.

In the meantime, the United States can continue to consider or pursue scientific or exploratory cooperation with potential adversaries in space in order to build mutual trust, reinforce norms of good behavior, and open channels for space dialogue and understanding – which may mitigate the possibility of unintended miscalculations and military escalation in the space domain should a crisis on Earth break out.

 On Cooperation with China

This leads into oft-debated subject in the field of space cooperation – that of potential partnerships between the United States and China. At present, NASA is forbidden by law from cooperating with the Chinese in space; any potential partnership in the future would first require a change in that statute. Is the utility of space cooperation with China, compared to the drawbacks, strong enough to warrant that?

First, a look the drawbacks: the most frequently cited is the national security risk that cooperation with the Chinese could entail. It stands to reason that, as international partnerships in space involve the exposure and sharing of U.S. technology and information, China would acquire and benefit from American technology. As space technology often carries “dual-use” benefit, cooperating with the Chinese risks sacrificing the United States’ technological advantage and thereby compromises its national security – an important consideration, given that China, to many in the national security field, represents the United States’ greatest space threat. Next, does China have anything to offer to a project that would equitably match and benefit the United States’ contribution? For more sophisticated projects such as human spaceflight, there is a presumption that the United States’ competencies are far greater than China’s; as such, the United States would likely contribute more money or greater capabilities to a project. If this is the case, the relative benefits of cooperating are much greater for China than for the United States. Unless there is substantial diplomatic utility to the project, cooperation on most high-profile projects wouldn’t seem to advance the United States’ competitive advantage in space and therefore isn’t reasonable.

What of the diplomatic utility, though? As noted, working with the Chinese in Space would present the United States with an opportunity to learn their standard operating procedures and decision-making processes. This would be valuable toward limiting misunderstanding or miscalculation among American policymakers, as it would allow them to more accurately determine and decipher China’s intended use of dual-use space technologies. Space cooperation between the two countries would also signal – and, over time, establish – growing trust and confidence between them. During a time of tension on Earth, coming from a perspective of presumed good intention would better mitigate miscalculation or escalation in space than the current status-quo.

To that end: a cooperative venture with China need not be expensive or high-profile; joint efforts of scientific value, such as monitoring climate change or space weather, could benefit both countries both diplomatically and in the pursuit of the goal of a secure space environment. These could come in the form of programmatic cooperation, such as flying instruments on each other’s satellites, or in the sharing of already collected data. With both countries interested in lunar activity, sharing data about lunar conditions and lunar surface composition could help create meaningful patterns of interaction that lower barriers to information exchange – and which may pave the way to further cooperation.

Of course, engagement will need to be strongly conditioned on transparency, limited in expectations, and involve consultation with the United States’ current allies. Ultimately, as Listner and Johnson-Freese point out, “[w]hether outer space cooperation with China will… become a reality will be a political decision, and that decision must be made by considering both the globalist and geopolitical viewpoint when weighing the pros and cons.”[7]

Concluding Suggestions

This piece has provided a high-level review and assessment of the utility and drawbacks of space cooperation and competition, along with their general implications for the United States’ broad space policy. While specific decisions on whether to pursue partnerships in space, and on what programs and issue areas, will be made on a case-by-case basis weighing utility versus drawbacks, several general conclusions about space cooperation and competition can be drawn:

  • At its best, programmatic space cooperation provides each partner with capabilities they themselves do not have, minimizes their individual cost burdens, and equitably advances their policy goals. Depending on the partnership’s arrangement, however, countries may become beholden to – and responsible for – others’ struggles with schedule or cost.
  • Space cooperation pursued for diplomatic purposes should support foreign policy objectives. While cooperation in space may not drive relations on Earth, it is a valuable tool for establishing channels of dialogue and building mutual understanding.
  • Cooperation, especially in the form of TCBMs, multilateral agreements, and norm-building, can be used to support benign competition (such as enabling opportunities for commercial activity) and temper malignant competition (such as in-space use of hostile force).
  • As the commercial sector becomes more vibrant, policymakers will need to weigh the utility of cooperation with the international community against the utility of cooperation with the private sector. Both offer different – occasionally disparate – benefits; depending on the policy objectives of a program, the utility of one will outweigh the utility of another.

To close, the author, drawing from this assessment, would like to provide a short- to mid-term programmatic proposal – pursuing, in conjunction with the Deep Space Gateway, the “Moon Village” concept laid out by the European Space Agency. The Moon Village is envisioned as an open collaborative effort on a lunar base which could support a mix of civil and commercial research, tourism, and economic activity such as mining and be a springing board for deeper human exploration of the solar system.

European contributions to the DSG could be solicited as supporting the Moon Village (through capabilities such as tele-robotics terminals, human-rated lunar landers, or modules to store supplies for the lunar surface), while NASA focuses on the “critical path” – developing DSG’s primary habitation and power modules and furnishing launch. Commercial operators could be given the role of resupplying the DSG, with partners developing redundant capability for their own use if needed. In leveraging the “gateway” aspect of DSG, the station could be used as a platform to travel to and from the Moon. At the Moon Village, commercial operators could perform a host of functions to support research goals, such as landing instruments and running experiments for the space agencies, while also carrying out their own activities such as lunar mining. If in-situ resource extraction becomes practical, over time the Moon Village could be used to produce fuel and a fuel depot to store it could be attached to the DSG. As the Moon Village is envisioned as openly collaborative, China, which has lunar interests of its own, could be invited to participate, carrying out its own research and activities while making use of – and contributing to – the Moon Village’s supporting infrastructure.

The arrangement of this proposal seeks to maximize the value of international cooperation, minimize its drawbacks, and balance between all potential partners. By having NASA focus on the DSG’s critical path, it minimizes the risk of schedule slippage on the actual hardware; European contributions would be ancillary to core DSG functions. However, as the Moon Village would be deeply integrated into the cis-lunar program, European contributions would still be critical to the overall endeavor. The Moon Village, meanwhile, would present robust opportunity for commercial activity. By having commercial operators conduct lunar mining there, in addition to supporting government needs, normative buy-in could be secured on the principles of space mining and resource extracting. Moreover, if it becomes a facility for in-space fuel production and a facility to practice and experiment with long term on-surface operations, it would be a lasting launching point for eventual missions to Mars. And finally, by providing opportunity for constructive Chinese participation, meaningful channels of dialogue could be established along with mutual confidence-building in the responsible use of the lunar surface.

Whether an arrangement akin to this will be considered or pursued remains to be seen. Yet what is certain is that cooperation – and competition – will continue to define the activities of states in outer space for years to come. Policymakers will need to be smart in the challenging tasks of balancing between potential partners, in maximizing the utility of partnerships, and in pursuing the projects that best advance their national interest – but ultimately, doing so will be far preferable than going it in space alone.


Anatoly Zak, “NASA, international partners consider solar sail for Deep Space Gateway,” Planetary Society, September 25, 2017. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2017/20170925-solar-sail-dsg.html

Brian Weeden, “US space policy, organizational incentives, and orbital debris removal,” The Space Review, October 30, 2017. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3361/1

Christopher Johnson, “Policy and Law Aspects of International Cooperation in Space,” American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2001. https://swfound.org/media/169354/policy_law_aspects_international_cooperation_space.pdf

D.A Broniatowski, G. Ryan Faith, & Vincent G. Sabathier, “The Case for Managed International Cooperation in Space Exploration,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2006. https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/media/csis/pubs/060918_managed_international_cooperation.pdf

Dennis Chang, “U.S.-China Space Cooperation: More Costs Than Benefits,” The Heritage Foundation, October 30, 2009. http://www.heritage.org/space-policy/report/us-china-space-cooperation-more-costs-benefits

Dennis Chang, “Prospects for U.S.-China Space Cooperation,” The Heritage Foundation, April 9, 2014. http://www.heritage.org/testimony/prospects-us-china-space-cooperation

Eligar Sadeh, James P. Lester & Willy Sadeh, “Modeling International Cooperation for Space Exploration,” Space Policy 3 (1996), pgs. 207 – 223.

“Fact Sheet: National Security Space Strategy,” 2011. http://archive.defense.gov/home/features/2011/0111_nsss/docs/2011_01_19_NSSS_Fact_Sheet_FINAL.pdf

Frank A. Rose, “Using Diplomacy to Advance the Long-Term Sustainability and Security of the Outer Space Environment,” March 3 2016. https://geneva.usmission.gov/2016/03/07/using-diplomacy-to-advance-the-long-term-sustainability-and-security-of-the-outer-space-environment/

James Clay Moltz, “Preventing Conflict in Space: Cooperative Engagement As a Possible U.S. Strategy,” Astropolitics 2 (2006), pgs. 121 – 129.

Jeff Foust, “Japan has plans to land astronauts on the moon by 2030 -with a little help from the United States,” SpaceNews, June 29, 2017. http://spacenews.com/mda-establishes-company-to-commercialize-satellite-servicing-technology/

Jeff Foust, “The Role of International Cooperation in China’s Space Station Plans,” SpaceNews, October 14 2014. http://spacenews.com/42183sn-blog-the-role-of-international-cooperation-in-chinas-space-station-plans/

Jesper Poulssen, “Rivals and Cooperation in Outer Space,” Leiden University, September 2016. https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/43365/Rivals%20and%20Cooperation%20in%20Outer%20Space.pdf?sequence=1

Kenneth S Pedersen, “International Cooperation and Competition in Space: A Current Perspective”, 11 J. Space Law 21 (1983).

Leonard David, “Europe Aiming for International ‘Moon Village’,” Space.com, April 26 2016. https://www.space.com/32695-moon-colony-european-space-agency.html

Michael Listner & Joan Johnson-Freese, “Two Perspectives on U.S.-China Space Cooperation,” SpaceNews. July 14, 2014. http://spacenews.com/41256two-perspectives-on-us-china-space-cooperation/

NASA Policy Directive 1360.2B, “Initiation and Development of International Cooperation in Space and Aeronautics Programs,” August 2014. https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayDir.cfm?t=NPD&c=1360&s=2B

“National Space Policy of the United States of America,” June 28 2010. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10.pdf

Robert Pfaltzgraff, “International Relations Theory and Spacepower,” National Defense University, May 2013. https://www.ethz.ch/content/specialinterest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/en/services/digital-library/articles/article.html/163232

“Russia proposes Lunar Mission Support Module for Deep Space Gateway,” Russian Space Web, November 2017. http://www.russianspaceweb.com/imp-lmsm.html

Scott Pace, “Align U.S. Space Policy with National Interests,” SpaceNews, March 2015. http://spacenews.com/op-ed-align-u-s-space-policy-with-national-interests/

Stephen Krasner, eds. International Regimes (Ithaca, 1983).

Stephen Whiting, “Space and Diplomacy: A New Tool for Leverage,” Astropolitics 1 (2003), pgs. 54 – 77.

Tereza Pultarova, “European space officials outline desired contribution to Deep Space Gateway,” SpaceNews, October 26, 2017. http://spacenews.com/european-space-officials-outline-desired-contribution-to-deep-space-gateway/

Works Cited

[1] “National Space Policy of the United States of America,” June 28 2010. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/national_space_policy_6-28-10.pdf, pg. 2.

[2] Ibid, pg. 3.

[3] Scott Pace, “Align U.S. Space Policy with National Interests,” SpaceNews, March 2015. http://spacenews.com/op-ed-align-u-s-space-policy-with-national-interests/

[4] Kenneth S Pedersen, “International Cooperation and Competition in Space: A Current Perspective”, 11 J. Space Law 21 (1983).

[5] NASA Policy Directive 1360.2B, “Initiation and Development of International Cooperation in Space and Aeronautics Programs,” August 2014. https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/displayDir.cfm?t=NPD&c=1360&s=2B

[6] Brian Weeden, “US space policy, organizational incentives, and orbital debris removal,” The Space Review, October 30, 2017. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3361/1

[7] Michael Listner & Joan Johnson-Freese, “Two Perspectives on U.S.-China Space Cooperation,” SpaceNews. July 14, 2014. http://spacenews.com/41256two-perspectives-on-us-china-space-cooperation/

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