Broadcast 3385 Chris Stone

The Space Foundation Conference

06 Oct 2019 Christopher Stone
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Guest:  Christopher (Chris) Stone;  Topics:  US National Security Space policy, deterrence, concerns, creating a space force, space weaponization, China, Russia, deterrence and more.

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We welcomed back to the show Chris Stone for a one segment 1 hour 48 minute national security space discussion.  We covered multiple topics with multiple callers on this program.  In addition, many of the topics were discussed several times during our conversation, often with a different caller or listener via email or from a different perspective.  A partial list of the discussed topics includes creating a space force, what the space force would look like and do, space force leadership, congress and the space force, the Air Force and a space force, space weaponization, China and Russia space activities and weapons development, US deterrence, what does deterrence mean, cultural differences in deterrence and even winning, the need for educating citizens to the reality of space risks, EMP risks, challenges and the lack of preparation for such an EMP attack, nuclear weapons and deterrence, the possible development of a new US National Space Policy, the National Space Council, Outer Space Treaty applicability, commercial space needs, rescue, property rights and believe it or not, a few more topics. 

As to be expected, Marshall was our first caller.  He wanted to address the risk of an EMP attack, what we were doing about it if anything, and he used the Carrington Effect of 1859 to support his concerns.  This prompted a somewhat detailed response from Chris followed by comments from Marshall and then later myself.  We talked about the likelihood of an EMP attack on the US, what type of weaponry could do it, what nations might do it, and the level of our national preparation to defend against it or deal with it should it happen.  Our guest said that President Trump had issued an Executive Order to address an EMP attack but so far there have been minimal efforts to address EMP concerns.  Don't miss this important discussion.  Post your thoughts on the risks and challenges of an EMP attack and what it might mean for all of us should it happen.  Remember, an effective EMP attack could take out power systems over a large area, possibly even the US for months at a time with catastrophic results.  Note that as Marshall was ending his call, I suggested he right to his Oklahoma Public Utilities execs to find out what their prep was for such an attack that would impact the Oklahoma grid.  Marshall just laughed.  I suggest each of you write a similar letter to your PUC officials and see where your state and local officials stand in preparing for a possible adversarial EMP attack.  On a future Open Lines show it might be both fun and interesting to record for everyone the responses all of you got when sending in such a letter to your state utility executives.

Our next caller was Ft. Worth John.  He was interested in knowing about Chinese activity being reported in the inner Mongolia area regarding Chinese ICBM development.  This led to Chris talking about both China and Russia pursuing an extended mobile ICBM threat against the west.  You can read about some of this here:  https://fas.org/blogs/security/2019/05/chinareport2019.  Chris then talked about Defense Intelligence Agency Chinese and Russian reports on mobile ICBM work plus he talked about the nuclear scale with China, Russia, and the US.  Don't miss the analysis Chris provided us on this topic. 

After more topic discussion per above, we took a call from space attorney Michael Listner.  Michael pointed out the issues and variations in the definition of deterrence, noting that deterrence means different things to different countries and cultures.  He zeroed in on China and Russia but of course the difference are more widespread than just with those two nations and the U.S.   Both Michael and Chris talked about the importance in the choice of specific words.  Both Michael and Chris then talked about how victory in warfighting means different things to the combatants.  This led to a discussion about war in space with the US usually saying there would be no winners but both the Chinese and Russian suggest just the opposite.  Before Michael finished his call, I asked him for the remedy to this type of problem, especially when many people don't fully grasp the facts or the real intentions of various international actors, including possible bad actors.  Both Michael and Chris said education was the remedy plus understanding the use of language.  I asked where such education would come from, i.e. for example public schools (I used the California Public School system as an example given California ranks 40 out of 50 states - see www.mercurynews.com/2017/01/05/california-schools-earn-c-in-national-ranking).  Once again, don't miss how our caller and guest handled this part of the conversation.

Several additional topics were discussed prior to the end of the program.  Cislunar space development, space settlement and how a space force would enable settlement and commercial space development, plus the probability of our getting a new National Space Policy anytime soon.  Before we ended, Chris was asked by a Vancouver listener if we would soon see a cabinet level Department of Space.  Our guest offered closing comments and a summary of today's discussion.  He repeated that we should know more about the direction and timeline for a space force by the end of October.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show.  You can reach Chris Stone through me.

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