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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Space assets have provided the U.S. military a demonstrable edge against adversaries since the 1990–1991 Gulf War. Most space technology is dual-use, meaning it has both civil and military applications; this creates an ambiguity to know whether military applications are intended as offensive or defensive. This chapter examines four schools of thought on how to preserve U.S. space dominance, and what that realistically means, discussed within the context of issues related to dual-use technology, sustaining the space environment, and international law within which the schools have developed. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 celebrated its fifty-year anniversary in 2017, making those legal considerations especially appropriate. Whether further legal, even ‘soft law” approaches to optimizing the U.S. use of space, or whether preparing for what some consider “inevitable” space war should prevail in guiding future U.S. space security policy is the question planners and analysts must address.

Keywords: space, GPS, dual-use technology, space security, space weapons, Air Force, space dominance, space control, global commons, Outer Space Treaty

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