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WORLD HOT SPOTS => Around the World => Topic started by: Tyehimba on May 18, 2005, 09:16:54 AM

Title: Bush reportedly to OK space weapons order
Post by: Tyehimba on May 18, 2005, 09:16:54 AM
NEW YORK - The U.S. Air Force is seeking President Bush’s approval of a national security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, the New York Times reported Tuesday, citing White House and Air Force officials.

A senior administration official said a new presidential directive would replace a 1996 Clinton administration policy that emphasized a less aggressive use of space, involving spy satellites’ support for military operations, arms control and nonproliferation pacts, the report said.

Any deployment of space weapons would face financial, technological, political and diplomatic hurdles, as well as almost surely opposition from U.S. allies and potential enemies alike, fearing an arms race in space.

With little public debate, the Pentagon has already spent billions of dollars developing space weapons and preparing plans to deploy them, the newspaper said.

A presidential directive is expected within weeks, the senior administration official told the Times, adding that the directive is still under final review and the White House has not disclosed its details.

Air Force officials said the directive did not call for militarizing space. “The focus of the process is not putting weapons in space,” said Maj. Karen Finn, an Air Force spokeswoman. “The focus is having free access in space.”

'Cannot step back'
Everett Dolman, a professor at the Air Force’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, said he expected the White House to issue a new space policy next month that would underscore the military’s determination to protect its existing space assets and maintain dominance of outer space.

“We’ve crossed the threshold and we simply cannot step back,” Dolman, a proponent of space weapons, told Reuters at a two-day Nuclear Policy Research Institute conference.

Dolman said the critical question was not whether the United States should weapons space, but whether it could afford to allow other states to get a jump-start in this area.

He said work on several technologies — including work on microsatellites that could be launched to target enemy satellites and satellite-jamming systems — was far enough along that it could be declared operational within 18 months.

Full Article @ MSNBC News (