USA — Defense Secretary Robert Gates Statement on the National Space Policy

“Today, I’m pleased to wel­come the release of the President’s Nation­al Space Pol­i­cy. I ful­ly sup­port the vision it lays out. This pol­i­cy clear­ly artic­u­lates the right space poli­cies and pri­or­i­ties for our nation, and is also a pledge that the Unit­ed States will main­tain the lead­er­ship and capa­bil­i­ties in space imper­a­tive for our nation­al secu­ri­ty.

“Our con­tin­ued pres­ence in space is vital to our nation­al secu­ri­ty. Space-based capa­bil­i­ties are crit­i­cal to our military’s abil­i­ty to nav­i­gate accu­rate­ly, strike pre­cise­ly, and gath­er bat­tle space aware­ness effi­cient­ly. How­ev­er, changes in the space envi­ron­ment over the last decade chal­lenge our oper­a­tions. Today, space is increas­ing­ly con­test­ed as our sys­tems face threats of dis­rup­tion and attack, increas­ing­ly com­pet­i­tive as more states, pri­vate firms, and oth­ers devel­op space-based capa­bil­i­ties, and increas­ing­ly con­gest­ed with orbital debris. 

“Togeth­er with oth­er depart­ments and agen­cies, the Depart­ment of Defense will take a num­ber of steps to sup­port the new Nation­al Space Pol­i­cy, and will work with the Office of the Direc­tor of Nation­al Intel­li­gence to devel­op a strat­e­gy doc­u­ment to address spe­cif­ic nation­al secu­ri­ty require­ments for out­er space. We will look to lever­age grow­ing inter­na­tion­al and com­mer­cial exper­tise to enhance U.S. capa­bil­i­ties and reduce vulnerabilities. 

“Final­ly, we will pur­sue activ­i­ties con­sis­tent with the inher­ent right of self-defense, deep­en coop­er­a­tion with allies and friends, and work with all nations toward the respon­si­ble and peace­ful shared pres­ence in space.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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