At present the Unites States is reliant on Russian rocket engines to launch our reconnaissance satellites.
Not only does this reliance have direct implications for our national security launch capabilities, it also means we are funding Russian space and missile technology, while we could be investing in US based jobs and the defense industrial base.
While Vladimir Putin basks in the glory of his remarkable land grab in Crimea, he laughs all the way to the bank, hand in hand with his GRU. America – and our allies – need to rethink our security strategy.
Can you believe that we continue to subsidize the Russian rocket industry (and economy) with the continued purchase of the RD 180 rocket engines – which is our primary source for launching our own reconnaissance satellites? Not only that, our taxpayer dollars go to invest in Russian missile technology – that they sell around the world.
We now have significant reasons to sever this umbilical cord. First, our national security is in jeopardy when we are dependent on Russia for satellite launches. Second, we need to stop paying for the Russian defense industry that has just annexed a part of a sovereign nation. And third, its time we return to invest here in the United States – to secure our own economy and industrial base.
The U.S. needs an innovative, resilient and economical way to assure space access, particularly for military and government launch programs.
America’s Global Positioning System, secure communications and surveillance satellites are lynchpins of the country’s armed forces. Beyond these government assets, the U.S. military already relies heavily on the private sector’s space-based capabilities. According to a 2013 Defense Business Board report, the U.S. spends about $640 million on commercial satellite services for 40% of its communications.
All of these satellites make easy targets, representing a potential and growing vulnerability.
For an adversary who seeks to rob U.S. forces of their ability to precisely target in an urban area, know the location of friendly forces or disrupt sharing of up-to-the minute intelligence gleaned during an ongoing operation, there is no better weak link than space assets.
The American Security Project is examining these key issues, educating the public and policy makers of the implications of our present approach as well as suggesting ways to further enhance our national security.
Check out our reports, blogs and events on this subject below: