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Wanted: Space Strategy

So says a group of civilian space experts who today urged the United States to adopt a national space strategy that would unify U.S. government efforts in the final frontier.

Aimed at reducing redundancy and guiding government agency policies and investments, the Secure World Foundation's National Space Strategy Project seeks the establishment of a space strategy taking into account the nation's military, civilian government and commercial space needs in a way that reflects the county's overall strategic goals, said the project's principal investigator Eligar Sadeh during a press conference today in Washington to unveil the project.

Within that context, the strategy would focus on addressing challenges associated with space launch, the space industrial base, space assurance and space governance, said Sadeh. All of this would make it easier for the White House and Congress to ensure the nation's various space faring agencies are working in a coordinated manner that advances the national interests with regards to space, according to Sadeh.

While the U.S. has a national space policy, that document does not provide guidance to programs on how to execute their missions in the context of the U.S.' overall space interests, said Sadeh.

"A strategy is the link between policy and programs," said Sadeh.  "We have a policy but that policy does not provide the guidance and accountability that we need for the [government's space] programs and projects and the strategy can fill that gap."

Such an effort will not only make organizing government efforts in space easier, it will help prioritize space technology investments in a tight fiscal environment, in part, by focusing on which capabilities are most urgently needed.

"The U.S. military space endeavor needs to recapitalize programs across the board, but there's not enough money to do all that," said Sadeh. "So, how do we trade off, how do we prioritize? The strategy can establish the top level guidance and accountability we need to accomplish that."

Finally, the strategy must factor in the behavior and priorities of the rapidly increasing number of nation's in space.

"We need to think of space strategy as an interdependent choice, the choices we make are going to affect others and vice versa, they're going to react in a certain way," said Sadeh. "Space is clearly a globalized endeavor with a number of space powers, a number of emerging space powers world-wide."

All of this must be done with regards to ensuring all space faring nations behave in a way that allows for the long-term use of space for all, added Sadeh. This also includes developing plans to protect U.S. space assets and capabilities from attack, noted Sadeh.

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