Thesis Title

Developing United States Space Assets For National Defense

Date of Graduation

Summer 2000


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Jack Crouch

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Space is becoming an increasingly important part of national economies as well as central to a state's national security requirements. Commercial industries and governments are utilizing space assets to provide many new technologies and services. Improved communications, weather information, and the Global Positioning System (GPS) are just a few examples of how space assets have benefitted mankind thus far. This thesis attempts to analyse the governmental use of space for purposes of security. The opening chapters detail the impact of the Persian Gulf War and the evolving threat environment since then. The thesis argues that these are the major influences on the development of U.S. space policy today. The thesis then reviews and assesses current United States national space policy and the military policies that support it. New technologies and architectures are then discussed and analysed in the areas of (1) communication, (2) navigation, (3) meteorology, (4) surveillance and reconnaissance, (5) early warning, and (6) missile defense. Finally, the utility of space-based assets compared to terrestrial based assets is discussed along with the inevitability of nations using space in a military as well as commercial capacity. This thesis will show the importance of space programs to national security through both deterrence and warfighting capabilities, and offers recommendations for the future direction of American national space policy as it relates to U.S. national security


© Katie I Dowlen