Advocates of a more aggressive U.S. military policy for space argue that the United States is more reliant on the use of space than is any other nation, that space systems are vulnerable to attack, and that U.S. space systems are thus an attractive candidate for a “space Pearl Harbor.” But as important and potentially vulnerable as current U.S. space‐based assets may be, deploying actual weapons (whether defensive or offensive) will likely be perceived by the rest of the world as more threatening than the status quo. Any move by the United States to introduce weapons into space will surely lead to the development and deployment of anti‐satellite weapons by potentially hostile nations. As the dominant user of space for military and civilian functions, the United States would have the most to lose from such an arms race.
Although there are legitimate (and unique) military requirements for space assets, virtually all are “dual use.” Military requirements should not necessarily dictate those other uses. In fact, commercial efforts in space often lead those of the government and the Department of Defense and usually have lower costs, due to market influences and competition.
National security must be one component of total U.S. space policy, but it must certainly not be the primary component. In the post‐Cold War environment–with no immediate threat from a rival great power and none on the horizon–the United States must not establish over‐stated and costly military requirements for space‐based resources. The military must make greater use of commercial space assets. Also, the United States should strive to foster an environment that allows commercial space activity to grow and flourish rather than use it to create a new area for costly military competition.