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Guest: Aaron Bateman; Topics: National security space policy, strategic restraint, space kinetic weapons, the Cold War, space agreements and treaties, contested space, and more.
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We welcomed Aaron Bateman to the program for a 66 minute discussion about national security space policy, strategic restraint as a policy and objective, the weaponization of space including space kinetic weapons, historical comparisons for today's space policy, China, Russia, and the old USSR. Please read Aaron's article which has a link on our blog, "Restraint, Not Superiority, In Space" from March 4, 2021. In his article, our guest put forth a strong argument for a policy of strategic restraint so the first part of our program was devoted to this concept.
Mr. Bateman provided historical context for the strategic restraint policy starting with Eisenhower, then going forward. He provided us with a short, concise, but full time line history of key dates and events supporting the idea of strategic restraint rather than superiority. Don't miss how Aaron explained what strategic response was and what it is not. We even talked about it from the perspective of China and Russia as listeners wanted to know why it should be pursued if it were not pursued by China or Russia. Strategic restraint was discussed throughout our entire conversation.
Space weaponry was brought up and our guest was asked if knew of any countries with weapons station in space. Aaron talked at length about ASAT weapons but also made it clear that when he was talking about space weapons he was referring to space kinetic weapons. Aaron explained in detail what a space kinetic weapon was but he also said it was too costly to make such a weapon operational. A listener asked our guest about pursuing strategic restraint if China and Russia were not doing the same, suggesting it reminded him of a type of policy similar to appeasement. Don't miss how Aaron responded to this question. In addition, don't miss his articulate presentation of the need for more hardened, redundant, and protected space hardware and infrastructure. He made a very strong caste for putting the emphasis on survivability. Listener Jack in Phoenix sent in a note suggesting this was similar to the concept of responsive space, i.e. being able to quickly replace space assets taken out by an adversary. In discussing these concepts, our guest provided us with historical context and a reference timeline so we could see how the ideas and policies have evolved up to today.
Listener Jill in Chicago asked our guest if cyber security was part of the space national security discussion. Aaron said it was a critical part given the growth of foreign actors having some sort of space capability. Our cyber security space discussion was extensive so don't miss it. This part of the discussion prompted Marshall to call in with our first call. Marshall expressed concern about the potential lack of security with the SpaceX Starlink network. After the call with Marshall, our guest added in international space traffic management along with docking and rendezvous plus orbital debris clearance as key space national security issues needing more attention from international space nations. Much of this discussion centered on possible ways to secure verification regarding weapons and other mutual agreements, for example those dealing with not doing anything new in space that would contribute to orbital debris problems in the future. This prompted an email from Cheryl in New York pointing out that with the aggressiveness displayed by China, how would it possible to discuss strategic retreat policies as she would see them being totally one sided. Following the response to Cheryl by our guest, Robert sent in a note asking about grid protection as part of national space security. Aaron did include it in the mix, then we had quite a discussion about grid protection, current status, possible space attacks on the grid such as EMPs and the seemingly lack of concern for beefing up the grid by various elected officials. While our guest made sure we understood he was not a grid expert, he offered us very important and interesting commentary on the subjects raised by our recent email listeners.
Ft. Worth John called to talk about national security for microchips which are heavily used in space. Listen to John and Aaron discuss this interesting history. Following John's call, Bill in Memphis asked about space national security issues stemming from the recent declassified UAP report given to congress the end of June. Aaron had interesting things to say about known drone security problems but could not comment on the unidentified UAPs in the report mentioned by Bill. He did talk about launch pad security and related topics so be sure to listen not only to John's call but the add on with the question offered up by Bill.
Please post your comments/questions for Aaron Bateman on this blog. You can reach Mr. Bateman through me or through Twitter which he provided at the end of his article which is linked on our blog.