He who controls space, rules the world by xprophecy

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									He who controls space, controls the world.

Welcome to Missile Defense

`In the long term, BMD is about one thing: space.' ~ STRATFOR (18 Jun 2007)

The Wrong Debate Over Missile Defense
STRATOR May 14, 2001 | 0500 GMT By George Friedman

The Bush administration's recent announcement that it plans to accelerate the development of both national and theater missile defenses has ignited both sides of a 30-year-old debate.

But this time supporters and opponents of the plan are arguing points that are no longer relevant. And they are missing the most salient point: The key issue is no longer stability between opposing nuclear arsenals but the growing vulnerability of satellite communications and sensor systems to missile attack.

It's about space, stupid.
The United States fully depends on space for intelligence and communications capabilities as well as for wider civilian communications. Those assets are very vulnerable.

The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is not nearly as important as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, signed by the United States and the Soviet Union, that bans the deployment or use of weapons of mass destruction in Earth's orbit or deep space.

Meanwhile, the wrong issue is being debated. Both sides are ignoring profound new realities. They remain obsessed with the standoff between masses of intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads, but the potential from such a standoff, for all practical reasons, ended nearly a decade ago.

The roots of the missile defense debate lie in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Soviets, who had fallen far behind the United States in quantities of strategic nuclear weapons, undertook a massive buildup. By the early 1970s, they had achieved numerical parity with the United States.

Once both sides had reached numerical parity, the U.S.-Soviet relationship turned toward maintaining the nuclear balance and the presumed international stability it would reinforce. The dominant theory became strategic deterrence, the doctrine, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

For the last two decades of the Cold War, MAD essentially marginalized the strategic nuclear option, allowing the United States and Soviet Union to compete intensely by other, less dangerous means.

But over time maintaining strategic deterrence became fiendishly expensive. As MAD endured, it motivated both sides to negotiate treaties to manage both the balance and soaring costs of the nuclear arms race.

The ABM Treaty came about because under the MAD scenario, a missile defense system would destabilize the entire structure of strategic deterrence. A nation with missile defense capabilities might no longer be deterred from retaliating and might even consider offensive nuclear operations in a crisis.

To avoid this scenario, the United States and Soviet Union agreed to ban missile defense systems. So when former President Reagan launched his Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983, most of the players in the arms control and diplomatic communities went berserk. The Soviet Union launched a massive, global political campaign against it. Allies of the United States, frightened of destabilizing MAD, also condemned the initiative.

The Soviets, for their part, did not want the United States even to try to construct such a system. They were not nearly as convinced as American critics that a system was technologically impossible, but they had no confidence in their own ability to either design or finance such a system.

In fact, the United States at first was not sure American science could construct a system. But missile defense adherents had a twofold view that kept them from abandoning the effort.

First, they believed MAD was an untenable doctrine over the long run. Second, even if the system didn't work, forcing the Soviets into a technological arms race built around defensive rather than offensive weapons would place additional pressure on the Soviet economy.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 rendered the SDI concept moot. Although Russia and the other former Soviet republics still held nuclear missiles, they no longer had a political reason to employ them, and MAD became irrelevant.

Meanwhile, a new threat has emerged: missile-armed rogue nations. This threat has in turn raised the prospect of smaller-scale missile defense systems to protect against attacks by an opponent armed with a handful of missiles.

The arguments of today's supporters of missile defense, however, in pre-supposing that a layered defense system costing hundreds of billions of dollars is the only effective strategy, fail the test of


And opponents are echoing the old assertions that no system will work and that the real threat today is not from incoming missiles but from “suitcase” bombs.

The most effective and cost-effective approach would be for the United States simply to announce that it has the right to conduct pre-emptive, unilateral military operations against ICBM missile sites that pose a threat to its overseas-based military units or the U.S. homeland.

The threat from rogue states can be addressed by subsonic Tomahawk or ALCM cruise missiles rather than by resorting to nuclear weapons or even space-based X-ray lasers, the development and deployment costs of which could swallow the entire Pentagon procurement budget.

If Washington can succeed politically in revising or even abandoning the ABM Treaty soon, the Bush administration will have successfully set a precedent for the revision of the 1967 treaty barring weapons in space.

Thus, domestic opponents of missile defense simply are missing the point, in the same sense that its supporters are sidestepping the real issue.


Laser weapon blasts jeep from the air
Short Sharp Science | Oct 2, 2009 5:32 PM | Tom Simonite, technology editor

Defence giant Boeing has released video of its Advanced Tactical Laser being fired from an aircraft at a (stationary) vehicle. You can download three videos of the event or watch two of them on youtube. It may sound exciting, but the videos are actually a little underwhelming. The infrared laser beam is invisible, so what you see is a small fire igniting, apparently spontaneously, on a jeep's bonnet. But their unspectacular nature is a plus point for some: US air force officials have recently praised laser weapons for their "plausible deniability".

Even so, the videos may not do much to win over those who are sceptical about laser weapons. PopSci points out that the US air force's own scientific advisory board said in 2008 that "the Advanced Tactical Laser testbed has no operational utility" - while The Register's correspondent suggests that a C-130 with conventional weapons, or a helicopter sniper "would be more useful. And a lot cheaper."

Like another laser weapon funded by the US, dubbed the Airborne Laser, not even the air force, which is evaluating the technology, is convinced it is a good investment.

Video of Airborne Tactical Laser Hitting a Ground Target Is Not Very Satisfying

GIZMODO -- You might remember that the U.S. Air Force and Boeing have equipped a C-130 plane with an Advanced Tactical Laser for initial air-to-air tests. In September, it finally hit something successfully: A truck. Cool enough, but don't expect any explosions.

The parked truck's hood and engine gets burned through like butter, and as you can see, the accuracy is pretty amazing. If this was a missile, it would have exploded in the air. The laser can produce between 100-300 kW of power, and the next step is to trial it on moving targets.

Even though the Air Force has scaled back the ambitious program's funding, perhaps we may still see the laser make it to battlefields. Maybe on the 250-Foot Long Hybrid Airship that will spy over Afghanistan in 2011? [Boeing via PopSci]

US boasts of laser weapon's 'plausible deniability'
15:45 12 Aug 2008 | David Hambling | New Scientist

An airborne laser weapon dubbed the "long-range blowtorch" has the added benefit that the US could convincingly deny any involvement with the destruction it causes, say senior officials of the US Air Force (USAF). The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) is to be mounted on a Hercules military transport plane. Boeing announced the first test firing of the laser, from a plane on the ground, earlier this summer. Cynthia Kaiser, chief engineer of the US Air Force Research Laboratory's Directed Energy Directorate, used the phrase "plausible deniability" to describe the weapon's benefits in a briefing (powerpoint format) on laser weapons to the New Mexico Optics Industry Association in June.

Plausibly deniable
John Corley, director of USAF's Capabilities Integration Directorate, used the same phrase to describe the weapon's benefits at an Air Armament Symposium in Florida in October 2007 (see page 15, pdf format). As the term suggests, "plausible deniability" is used to describe situations where those responsible for an event could plausibly claim to have had no involvement in it.

Corley and Kaiser did not respond to requests from New Scientist to expand on their comments. But John Pike, analyst with defence think-tank Global Security, based in Virginia, says the implications are clear.

"The target would never know what hit them," says Pike. "Further, there would be no munition fragments that could be used to identify the source of the strike."

Silent strike
A laser beam is silent and invisible. An ATL can deliver the heat of a blowtorch with a range of 20 kilometres, depending on conditions. That range is great enough that the aircraft carrying it might not be seen, especially at night.

With no previous examples for comparison, it may be difficult to discern whether damage to a vehicle or person was the result of a laser strike.

The 5.5-tonne ATL combines chlorine and hydrogen peroxide molecules to release energy, which is used in turn to stimulate iodine into releasing intense infra-red light.

The US uses Hercules aircraft for accurate cannon strikes on moving vehicles. The ATL is touted as bringing a new level of accuracy to such attacks, for example being able to pinpoint a vehicle's tyres to disable it safely.

A second, larger version of the laser is also nearing initial testing. The much larger Airborne Laser is intended for missile defence and will be carried by a Boeing 747.


Airborne laser ready for flight tests
11 Sep 2009 | Jeff Hecht | issue 2725 | New Scientist

IT SHOULD be the moment of truth for the Airborne Laser (ABL). In the coming months, the multibillion-dollar laser built into a customised Boeing 747 will try to shoot a ballistic missile as it rises above the clouds.

Don't expect instant reports of success, though. Instead, if all goes to plan, we're likely to hear about a series of incremental improvements.

Developed by the US Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the ABL aims to focus a beam of laser energy in the megawatt range for several seconds onto a missile at a "militarily significant distance" - more than 100 kilometres.

So far, the laser has only operated at near full power on the ground. On 18 August it was fired successfully from the air, but at reduced power. That, however, was no mean feat: aircraft vibrations play havoc with the precisely aligned optical components needed to generate a laser beam.

Firing at full power poses other challenges too. At powers high enough to destroy missiles, any surface contamination or tiny flaw in the laser optics can absorb so much heat that they crack or shatter.

High-power laser beams also heat the air they pass through, creating perturbations that can disperse or divert the beam. To counteract those effects, the ABL uses an adaptive system that senses atmospheric changes along its path and makes optical adjustments to compensate.

To test that system, the MDA plans a series of increasingly powerful shots at modified ballistic missiles loaded with sensors to measure the distribution of laser power on the target. Engineers will assess each shot's performance and use the results to fine-tune the adaptive optics. Once this is done, the MDA will test the laser again in varying conditions, and attempt to destroy actual missiles. The first of these tests is planned to take place late this year, with two more to follow in early 2010, according to an MDA spokeswoman.

A sister project, the Advanced Tactical Laser, which aims to use an airborne high-powered laser to hit targets on the ground, recently completed its first successful test. With future funding dependent upon the success of these tests, the pressure is on the ABL team to prove its efficacy.

Airborne Laser lets rip on first target
15 Dec 2008 | Paul Marks | issue 2686 | New Scientist | Mirror

IMAGINE swarms of aircraft patrolling the skies, zapping missiles, aircraft or even satellites in low Earth orbit with invisible, ultrapowerful laser beams. Such laser battles in the sky may not be such a long way off, after a megawatt laser weapon was fired from an aircraft for the first time. Although the Airborne Laser (ABL) was fired from a stationary plane at a target on the ground just a few metres away, the test marked a milestone for the weapon, developed by aerospace firms Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The laser was 12 years in the making and cost $4.3 billion, putting it vastly over budget. The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) calls it the answer to "rogue states" or terror groups who equip themselves with intercontinental ballistic missiles, such as Scuds. Yet the ABL may soon be used to shoot down a much wider range of devices - including aircraft and is just one of a number of laser weapons now being readied for military use. The idea behind the ABL programme is that at times of international tension, the airborne weapons will patrol the skies within hundreds of kilometres of the missile silos or launchers of a region of interest. Then, if the heat signature of a rocket launch is detected via satellite or an early warning aircraft, the ABL will track it and fire its laser at the missile while the latter is still getting off the ground and beginning to accelerate. In theory, the heat from what Boeing calls the "megawatt class" laser beam - the precise power level is classified - should cause the pressurised part of the missile to warp, bend and buckle, resulting in the missile's complete disintegration. The beam should cause a missile to warp, bend and disintegrate above its launch site

That's a tall order by any standards, and many sceptics have questioned whether the weapon will ever get off the ground at all. But over the last few years, various aspects of the ABL's operation have been proven to work. For instance, both the twin low-power target-tracking lasers and the main laser beam's control optics have been successfully tested, while the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) weapon has produced a beam in the lab. But until the test on 24 November at Edwards Air Force Base in California, the laser had not been fired from inside a Boeing 747. That was a challenge because the COIL's six chemical modules - which rely on the reaction between oxygen molecules in an excited state and iodine to produce a light-emitting gas - are each the size of a large sports utility vehicle and collectively take up the rear half of the plane. The beam-forming and fire control system takes up the front half. This system ensures that the laser beam is accurately aligned so it does not damage or destroy the plane, and that it shoots where the target-tracker tells it to. In two test firings, a laser beam was fired at a target for 1 second. The team now plan to test fire laser beams for longer, before preparing the aircraft for flight tests next year. "We remain on track to complete a lethal demonstration in 2009," says Rinn. "There's nothing like flaming missile wreckage to show the world the system is viable and that it works." Until now the weapon had been pitched by the Pentagon, the MDA and its contractors as a defensive device, for destroying incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). But it now appears the laser is being readied for other uses. "The ABL is not just for missile defense," says Rinn. "We're optimised for ballistic missiles but there are modifications that could be made that would give us capabilities for countering aircraft, surface-to-air missiles and cruise missiles." The ABL's contractors have already begun simulation work to show how modifications would allow the weapon to be used to shoot down aircraft, raising the possibility that dogfights of the future could be laser battles. Military analysts have also pointed out that the ABL's laser could be used as an anti-satellite weapon - it is thought to have a range of hundreds of kilometres. It could either heat a satellite's fuel tanks to destruction or simply blind orbiting spy cameras. Rinn says the team is not

investigating this at the moment: "The design of our sensors and our particular system is for bright [heat-emitting] ballistic missiles, so we haven't looked at that one yet."

Further Reading
U.S. Space Command: The Military Arm of Corporate Globalization
Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator and co-founder of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, a long time activist, author and film maker. He organized the largest peace protest in Florida history in 1987 at the first test flight of the Trident II nuclear missile. 10 years later he organized the Cancel Cassini Campaign. Project Censored has twice named his stories among the most censored of the year (1999 and 2005). In 2005 his book Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire was published. Gagnon's work has been published in Earth Island Journal, National Catholic Reporter, CounterPunch, Z Magazine, Space News, and many others, nationally and internationally. He is a member of the National Writers Union and a former farm workers union organizer. His videos include 2003's Arsenal of Hypocrisy and The Battle for America's Soul (2005) which have been shown extensively on Free Speech TV www.freespreech.org . Gagnon also hosts a local cable show and publishes a newsletter." video: http://xprophecy.ning.com/video/us-space-command-the-military-1 For more information: www.space4peace.org

CDI Center for Defense Information

U.S.-Sino "Grand Bargain" in Space
August 1, 2008 Recent events have made Sino-U.S. competition, and even conflict, in space seems increasingly likely. In an article co-authored with David Chen, CDI Director Theresa Hitchens presents the incoming U.S. administration with a bargaining strategy aimed at achieving improved security for U.S. space systems and forestalling an anti-satellite arms race with China. | Forging a Sino-US

‘‘grand bargain’’ in space. http://www.cdi.org/pdfs/HitchensGrandBargain.pdf

Excerpt: `"Cooperation on civil space traditionally has been seen in the USA as a tool of soft power and a method of dampening tensions between potential adversaries, dating back to the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Enabling, for example, a multi-nation cooperative program in lunar exploration would again be a `prestige' incentive for China, which wants very badly to be seen as a world-class space power. Arguably such broad international cooperation on space exploration would also benefit USA directly by allowing NASA to more widely share nontrivial cost burdens at a time when budgetary pressure on the US government is growing rapidly."'

Militarization and Weaponization of Outer Space
by Anup Shah Last Updated Sunday, January 21, 2007 The exploration and use of outer space … shall be for peaceful purposes and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interest of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development. … [The] prevention of an arms race in outer space would avert a grave danger for international peace and security

Prevention of an arms race in outer space, United Nations General Assembly Resolution, A/RES/55/32, January 2001.

Acting Against the Weaponization of Space
Union of Concerned Scientists presentation given by Ambassador (ret.) Jonathan Dean at the United Nations on May 19, 2005. E x c e r p t: `The basic law governing space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The Outer Space Treaty was concluded at a time of mounting U.S.-Soviet nuclear confrontation, when the two governments feared the consequences of extending their nuclear rivalry into space. They joined other UN member states in deciding that space must be used for peaceful purposes only. These worries about the dangers of weapons competition in space are equally valid today. Article IV of the Outer Space Treaty prohibits the orbiting of weapons of mass destruction in space. It also prohibits the testing or deployment of any kind of weapon on the moon or other celestial bodies. The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 prohibits nuclear tests or any other nuclear explosion underwater, in the atmosphere, or in outer space, so nuclear weapons can neither be stationed, orbited or tested in outer space. As we know, the Outer Space Treaty does not prohibit weapons other than weapons of mass destruction, and people have been trying to fill that gap ever since.' http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_weapons_and_global_security/space_weapons/policy_issue s/acting-against-the.html

SourceWatch: Weaponization of Space

Options for Preventing the Weaponization of Space
By Sarah Estabrooks `The Vision for 2020 document http://www.docstoc.com/docs/830101/US-Space-CommandVision-20-20 published by US Space Command in 1997 was the first post-Cold War indication of US intentions for space weaponization.' http://archive.peacemagazine.org/v19n3p10.htm

Debate intensifies over weapons in space: Administration wants to protect military satellites
Edward Epstein | San Francisco Chronicle Saturday, May 21, 2005

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi? file=/c/a/2005/05/21/MNGAVCSQB91.DTL#ixzz0UGrGsAVQ

Space War: Your World at War

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