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Thread: Space operations and thinking (merged thread)

  1. #1
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    Default Space operations and thinking (merged thread)

    This Week at War: Lost in Space

    Entry Excerpt:

    Can the Pentagon afford to protect its orbital interests?

    Here is the latest edition of my column at Foreign Policy:

    Topics include:

    1) Will diplomacy and soft power be enough to defend space?

    2) How many nukes does Pakistan need?

    Will diplomacy and soft power be enough to defend space?

    The U.S. Department of Defense released its first-ever National Security Space Strategy (NSSS), on Feb. 4. The document "seeks to maintain and enhance the national security benefits" the United States derives from its activities and capabilities in space. This week, Gregory Schulte, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, explained the new policy in an essay for Foreign Policy. Schulte described the benefits the United States receives from a wide variety of surveillance, communications, and navigation satellites. He also noted the increasing competition among a growing number of players who are seeking their own advantageous positions in orbit. Schulte explained some clever diplomatic and soft-power strategies that U.S. officials hope will protect the country's space interests, along with some hedges in case the soft-power strategies fail. However, growing those hedges could get very expensive for the Pentagon.

    Of greatest worry to the Pentagon is the vulnerability of its satellites to attack. In 2007, China shot down one of its old weather satellites with a direct-ascent missile, demonstrating its ability to threaten the space systems on which U.S. military forces depend. In addition to missile attack, many commercial and Defense Department satellites are also vulnerable to directed energy (laser) attack and to electronic jamming. U.S. adversaries may view attacks on U.S. satellites as a high-payoff/low-risk strategy. By attacking U.S. satellites, an adversary could hobble U.S. military forces without the usual indications of warfare, at least in the public's perception. For example, without any images of explosions, burning buildings, or wounded civilians, U.S. policymakers might find it difficult to generate political and diplomatic support for a military response.

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default MPs warn over nuclear space bombs and solar flares

    The government must take more seriously the threat of a nuclear weapon being exploded in space by a rogue state, MPs have warned.

    The Defence Select Committee said the resulting radiation pulse could disrupt power and water supplies, UK defence and satellite navigation systems.

    Its chairman, Tory MP James Arbuthnot, said an attack was "quite likely".

    The committee is urging ministers to invest in more "hardened" technology to cope with such an event.

    It looked at the threat to the UK's technological infrastructure from "electromagnetic pulse" (EMP) events in space, which could also include the eruption of solar flares.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17117836
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    That's a 30 year old scare. It was questionable in regard to the USSR and is an idiocy indicator when used in combination with terrorists or Iran etc etc

    Jason Sigger battled the scaremongers for a while:

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...p-crazies.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...l-reports.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...emp-crazy.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...to-senate.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...-of-crazy.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...iscussion.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...p-crazies.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...concerned.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...t-company.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...p-threats.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...p-effects.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...to-europe.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...es-attack.html

    http://armchairgeneralist.typepad.co...out-there.html

    and more, more, more...

    Or this
    http://dickdestiny.com/blog1/2010/06...ok-and-others/



    I own an old book from about 1982, compiled by the FAS or some other scientists organisation (didn't see the book in a while). The chapter on EMP from 1982 mentioned that 4 500 kt (or was it 1 Mt?) warheads exploding in a patter over the U.S. at hundreds of kilometres altitude would have a good, but not at all all-frying effect on electronics.
    It was a secondary concern when the USSR had thousands of nukes and operational SSBNs. It's a ridiculous concern now.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    Generally speaking, if Newt Gingrich is exercised about it, it's not worth worrying about.

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default

    Well, the article at the BBC was written by someone with only a little knowledge of nuclear weapons, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) or Coronal Mass Ejections (CME). It pretty much reduces to "something bad could happen and somebody ought to do something about it." (Which is typical of FAS scaremongering.)

    That said ...

    Nuclear weapons could be used to generate a High-altitude Electro-Magnetic Pulse (HEMP) that would destroy or degrade a lot of electrical and electronic systems. How much and how widespread depends on the design and installation of the electrical/electronic device/system and the structure of the attack. The kind of damage the good MP is concerned about would take a pretty sophisticated attack. The yields and launch systems required rule out all but the US, Russia, and China. (Possibly the UK and France could be included.) The idea that a rogue state, such as N. Korea or Iran, could do that is ... bizarre.

    CME is a serious threat, largely because the standard approaches to protecting electrical systems from everyday events, such as surges and lightening strikes, would be turned into a vulnerability. However, with sufficient warning, which we would have, the damage can be minimized by simply shutting down the power grid for a few to tens of hours. (Look up the Carrington Event, which was a CME striking the Earth.)
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Generally speaking, if Newt Gingrich is exercised about it, it's not worth worrying about.
    Haha.

    I really don't get the EMP crazies.
    Supporting "time-limited, scope limited military actions" for 20 years.

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    Default Aircraft Carriers in Space

    An interview with a real naval analyst on what science fiction gets right and wrong on space warfare: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...riers_in_space

    Michael
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-15-2018 at 07:01 PM. Reason: 6,907v when a stand alone thread

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Electromagnetic Warfare Is Here
    A briefcase-size radio weapon could wreak havoc in our networked world
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/m...arfare-is-here
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default USAF Space Chief Sees Final Frontier as Battleground

    Space, once seen as the benign final frontier, has evolved into a crowded potential battleground that the U.S. must defend as conflicts extend beyond Earth, according to the Air Force’s top military space official.

    While officials once aspired to treat space as a peaceful refuge from the strife on Earth, it’s now “congested, contested and competitive”-- and “all three of those trends are trending upward,” General John W. “Jay” Raymond, the head of the Air Force Space Command, said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

    From jamming and cyber attacks to “kinetic destruction,” there’s a “full range of threats” to U.S. early warning, Global Positioning System and communications satellites, Raymond said. Those threats come from economic and military rivals like China and Russia and include the increasing accumulation of debris orbiting the planet.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...s-battleground


    Most-Relevant pre-existing thread, now moribund.
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ighlight=space
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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default Space Operations

    Because we need to be thinking in three dimensions, a stand-alone post until it's not.

    Rhetorical question: incompetence or shenanigans?

    A U.S. spy satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to reach orbit and is assumed to be a total loss, two U.S. officials briefed on the mission said on Monday.
    The classified intelligence satellite, built by Northrop Grumman Corp, failed to separate from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and is assumed to have broken up or plunged into the sea, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
    The satellite is assumed to be "a write-off," one of the officials said.
    The presumed loss of the satellite was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/techn...als/ar-BBI8tMs

    For further reference, consult this currently locked thread
    USAF Space Chief Sees Final Frontier as Battleground
    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=26092
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    Russia and China are developing 'destructive' space weapons, US intelligence warns
    Russia and China could soon possess "destructive" space weapons that could be used against the U.S., according to American intelligence agencies.
    The two United Nations Security Council members are pursuing such "anti-satellite weapons as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness," the report said.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/14/russ...elligence.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-15-2018 at 09:29 PM. Reason: 25,554v
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