Space Warfare in the 21st Century : Arming the Heavens book cover
1st Edition

Space Warfare in the 21st Century
Arming the Heavens

ISBN 9781138693883
Published November 7, 2016 by Routledge
222 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the recent shift in US space policy and the forces that continually draw the US back into a space-technology security dilemma.

The dual-use nature of the vast majority of space technology, meaning of value to both civilian and military communities and being unable to differentiate offensive from defensive intent of military hardware, makes space an area particularly ripe for a security dilemma. In contrast to previous administrations, the Obama Administration has pursued a less militaristic space policy, instead employing a strategic restraint approach that stressed multilateral diplomacy to space challenges. The latter required international solutions and the United States, subsequently, even voiced support for an International Code of Conduct for Space. That policy held until the Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) test in 2013, which demonstrated expanded Chinese capabilities. This volume explores the issues arising from evolving space capabilities across the world and the security challenges this poses. It subsequently discusses the complexity of the space environment and argues that all tools of national power must be used, with some degree of balance, toward addressing space challenges and achieving space goals.

This book will be of much interest to students of space policy, defence studies, foreign policy, security studies and IR.

Table of Contents


1. Protecting Space Assets

2. Congested, Contested, and Competitive

3. Avoiding Thucydides' Trap

4. Deter, Defend, Defeat

5. Feeding the Beast

6. Space Development and Governance

7. Space at the Tipping Point

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Joan Johnson-Freese is a Professor and former Chair of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and author of several books.


'Joan Johnson-Freese has written a timely, thought-provoking, and richly researched book that should be read by everyone interested in 21st century space policy. She raises serious concerns about our current path and offers recommendations for the new U.S. administration, as well as other governments, for preventing future conflict and strengthening space cooperation.' -- James Clay Moltz, Naval Postgraduate School, USA

'Johnson-Freese’s penetrating analysis of space security as a critical component of U.S. national security makes this a must-read book for national security policymakers – especially those in the new administration. Her insight provides the context for understanding the complexities of this often underappreciated domain and why "the days of the space sanctuary are gone." In a word – compelling.' -- Marcia Smith, Editor of

'Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese makes a compelling case that even under the administration of President Barack Obama, U.S. national space policy has relied too heavily on ineffective, and often counterproductive means in pursuit of overly ambitious objectives. If the United States’ primary objective is to protect and expand its own ability to use space for a wide variety of highly beneficial economic, military, and social purposes, then the United States should ratchet down its rhetoric and development of offensive capabilities, ramping up its use of space diplomacy deterrence strategies that do not increase crisis instability. This lively book is highly recommended for anyone interested in space or national security.' -- Nancy Gallagher, University of Maryland, USA

'Joan Johnson-Freese’s excellent book questions many assumptions made by those in the space policy world as a given and contextualizes governmental decisions (both here and abroad) to allow for a more thorough understanding of the space domain. Through a solid overview of U.S. policy, political statements, and budgetary decisions, she demonstrates how the United States is at a turning point in how it views and acts on space control.' -- Victoria Samson, Secure World Foundation, USA

'Joan Johnson-Freese is an intellectual leader in the much neglected field of space security not just because of her encyclopedic knowledge of the subject but because of her willingness to swim, at times, against the policy tide. In Space Warfare in the 21st Century she has given us an overview of evolution of space policy combined with cogent recommendations for building the sort of order in the cosmos that will be necessary if our species is going to take full advantage of our growing access to space. Her target are those who believe space war is inevitable and our only course is to prepare for it. She argues - with passion tempered by pragmatism - that prudent diplomacy and enlightened self interest can ensure the economic and scientific promise of space for future generations. Readers new to the field will find this book accessible; older hands may find their assumptions challenged; but for anyone interested the future of space, this is a must read.' -- Ambassador Roger G. Harrison, former Director of the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies