When the Defense Department released its first-ever national security strategy for space last month, that was just the beginning of exploring the final frontier, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn said this week at a forum on space policy.
“Space is no longer the private preserve of the U.S. and Soviet Union,” Lynn said at a Center for Strategic and International Security discussion Wednesday.
In fact, 25 years ago, the United States controlled more than 65 percent of the space market, he explained. Now, the U.S. presence is just below 40 percent, he said.
Because of that, the United States needed a new strategy to “protect space itself,” and “to protect the space industrial base, said Lynn, who was joined by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E. Cartwright and Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley.
“We need to improve our capacity to understand what’s going on in space,” Donley said. For example, the United States has developed a “space fence” over parts of the country’s air space to catch space debris. Also, the Air Force last year launched the first space-based surveillance system.
Lynn first laid out the Pentagon’s vision of space in November, saying once the preserve of the globe’s superpowers, space had become increasingly congested, contested and competitive.