Date of Graduation

Spring 2016


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


space, cyberspace, deterrence, space control, effects based operations

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Space and cyber operations have changed national security for both nations and non-state actors worldwide. The low barriers to entry have allowed less sophisticated nations and actors to have an impact on the U.S. and near-peer nations. The lack of attribution and the ability to obfuscate the source of the space or cyber weapon will make the case for wartime retaliation difficult. The highly proactive antisatellite weapons test conducted by China in 2007 and the alleged employment of Stuxnet against Iran's nuclear program by the United States and Israel illustrates the potentially destabilizing effects to high priority national programs. If a hostile country were to remove the technological advantage, especially concerning space platforms, it could neutralize the conventional weapons advantage of the United States in future conflicts. This thesis will explore the key components of both the space and cyberspace domains. The threat of weapons employment, the unique deterrence characteristics of the space and cyberspace domains, and some case studies where these weapons have been employed. Ultimately, this paper investigates under what conditions deterrence is possible with regard to space and cyberspace technologies. In addition, answers the key question, of whether future enemies can be deterred from attacking U.S. space systems.


© Stephan Dwayne Bjerring Powers

Open Access