The US Missile Defence Review pushes for space-based sensors to find and destroy incoming missiles.
The review specifies that this is crucial in combating the increase in threats by ‘rogue’ states against the United States.
The delayed plans include a laser-based defence system, capable of tracking down and destroying incoming projectiles.
The review calls for studies to be conducted before constructing such a system, which would weaponize space for the first time.
Information that surfaced before the review was made public, revealed by a classified official, claimed that space defences were absolutely essential for US missile defence. The individual however, stressed that the US government are only investigating whether the construction of such a system would be feasible.
The Defence Review comes following President Trump’s defence policy being sharply criticised. A report from the National Defence Strategy Commission claimed that defence systems had “eroded to a dangerous degree”.
It exposed fundamental weaknesses in American defence policy due to the global proliferation of modern technologies, and political ‘dysfunction’ in the US. As a result, the report claimed “America has significantly weakened its own defence”.
President Donald Trump promoted and outlined the review in a visit to the Pentagon on Thursday.
Trump’s Plans for Space
President Donald Trump had previously called for the formation of a sixth branch of the US army named the Space Operations Force, to ensure US hegemony in space. Last year, the electorate were called upon to vote on the organisations logo.
President Trump commented that it simply wasn’t enough to have a US space presence, instead it needed to dominate it. This accompanied plans to send Americans back to the moon beyond to Mars, as well as the defence system.
In his address at the Pentagon, President Trump said such technology could defence each of America’s cities.
He also stressed the importance of being a global leader and innovator. Although lofty goals, the creation of such a structure would put America generations in front of it’s adversaries.
This is not a new idea, as President Reagan had a comparable plan named the Strategic Defence Initiative in 1983. Also known as ‘Star Wars’, Reagan’s proposal outlined similar tactics for a celestial defence system. This was to combat the threat of USSR ICBMs. The system was found to be too costly and impractical and was dropped in 1993.
What are the Threats to US National Security?
Fundamental threats to US security come from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The threats take the shape of modern technologies which threaten to leave the US behind.
Examples of such technologies include Russia’s hyper-sonic missiles, tested successfully in December 2018, as well as Iran’s developing nuclear arsenal. President Putin claimed his missiles were unable to be intercepted.
As for China, The Pentagon believes the People’s Liberation Army are on the verge of possessing some of the most modern weapon and defence systems in the world. The Pentagon also claims that in some areas, China are already global leaders.
For President Trump, it is unacceptable to let Russia or China be the space pioneers of the contemporary period.