Guest: Christopher (Chris) Stone; Topics: U.S. National Security space policy, CNN War In Space documentary. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Chris Stone back to the show to conduct a 2016 national security space policy review for Space Show listeners. During the first segment of our 90 minute program, Chris focused on the recent CNN documentary, "War in Space." If you have not seen it, you can watch it here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-ZBLFhb_lg. I urge you to see this special CNN program, not just because it provides background for this Space Show program but because it raises some very important national security questions and challenges that our new president and his administration will have to deal with over his term of office. Chris and I spent a good part of the first segment dissecting the challenges and issues brought up in this special CNN program. I wanted to know that, if from the perspective of Chris, if CNN was overstating the risks, understating the risks, or describing them accurately. Most of what CNN talked about was accurate though Chris said several points made by CNN that were inaccurate, especially in terms of US deployed weapons systems which were not operational nor were they deployed. He said similar things for some of the foreign space weapons systems described in the special. Watch the CNN program and then hear what Chris had to say about it and national space security. Both together will be an eye opener for most of you.
Other issues discussed included our present policy of transparency and confidence building measures for sustainable restraint as opposed to a more active deterrent approach suggested by Chris as well as those interviewed by CNN for their program. I did bring up other perspectives including those expressed by the Atlantic Council. This organization produced a June 2016 report titled "Toward a New National Security Space Strategy: Time for a Strategic Rebalancing." This research paper was written by Theresa Hitchens and Joan Johnson-Freese. Both authors have been guests on The Space Show in previous years. The report is available at www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/AC_StrategyPapers_No5_Space_WEB1.pdf. You can read a short review of it at www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/reports/toward-a-new-national-security-space-strategy-time-for-a-strategic-rebalancing. For those interested in another perspective than the one Chris presented, I urge you to review the Atlantic Council documents per the above URLs as there are significant differences with what both CNN and Chris talked about as compared to the Atlantic Council study report.
Before the first segment ended, Chris got a question about potential involvement of the private sector in national security space policy. For the most part our guest said this was welcome but one should not rely on the private sector to do what government is required to do. That said, the two sectors working together for better and a more credible national security policy and implementation makes sense.
In the second segment, we talked about the potential national security space policy in the incoming Trump administration. Also discussed was the Trump transition landing team. Chris went over the members of the space landing team and their experience and described the function of a transition landing team. Don't miss what he said about specific transition and landing team members.
Chris talked about the contribution to national security from both cargo and commercial crew programs. He also talked about the continued need to build on what was already developing in our space policy and programming.
Listener Harry sent in an email asking about the future of international partnerships for space exploration. Chris said that he believed the new administration wanted the U.S. to lead in policy and projects so while there might be some international partnerships, look for US leadership. Jim from Idaho sent in a question asking about cyberspace warfare, the Air Force, and hacking, especially in light of all the news stories claiming Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election. Chris said cyber was a big deal, especially for ground resources. He talked about adversary capabilities and the willingness to do just about everything and anything but we are constrained. He thought cyber for space resources was also a big deal but for now not at the same level as they are for ground infrastructure. He also talked about what measures were reversible what was not reversible. Don't miss what our guest said about the cyber warfare issues per the question asked by Harry.
Based on the cyber discussion, John asked about the new satellite constellation being developed, One Webb. He wanted to know if satellite wifi would be secure from hacking and interference. Chris thought the bigger issues for a constellation like One Webb might be both frequency and debris issues.
Another topic we discussed focused on ways concerned citizens could make their views known to their representatives and the administration. Chris mentioned a few ways to do this so if you are interested, don't miss his comments. Another listener wanted to know more about the government handling security as opposed to private companies handling their own security.
In winding up our discussion, I asked Chris what he had to say going for ward for 2017. He said we wanted a policy that would as much as possible provide for sustainable, long lasting, safe, and as resilient as possible national security and cyberwarfare safety. He said we should check to see who gets appointed to leadership positions with the National Space Council, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), NASA, and the Air Force. In this context, Chris also talked about not necessarily selecting congressional committee members for some of these positions as they might needed in their congressional leadership position to get his administration policies through congress.
Before the program ended, I asked about the leadership role of the Air Force in these matters along with the role of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Army, Navy and Marines. I even threw in the Coast Guard but Chris was not familiar with any Coast Guard role. One last question came in from George in Miami who wanted Chris to speculate on who might be the next NASA administrator.
Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog which is part of this program's archive on TSS website. Chris has many articles on national security space policy in Space News and The Space Review. Please note this article in Space News from July, 18, 2016, "A not-so-new strategy" at www.spacenewsmag.com/commentary/a-not-so-new-strategy. Check out his blog at https://realspacestrategy.wordpress.com.