Saturday, November 10, 2012

American Militarization of Space Plans Moving Ahead

Beyond Bayonets and Battleships: Space Warfare and the Future of US Global Power

Thursday, 08 November 2012
By Alfred McCoyTom Dispatch | News Analysis

It’s 2025 and an American “triple canopy” of advanced surveillance and armed drones fills the heavens from the lower- to the exo-atmosphere.  A wonder of the modern age, it can deliver its weaponry anywhere on the planet with staggering speed, knock out an enemy’s satellite communications system, or follow individuals biometrically for great distances.  Along with the country’s advanced cyberwar capacity, it’s also the most sophisticated militarized information system ever created and an insurance policy for U.S. global dominion deep into the twenty-first century.  It’s the future as the Pentagon imagines it; it’s under development; and Americans know nothing about it.
They are still operating in another age.  “Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917,” complained Republican candidate Mitt Romney during the last presidential debate.

With words of withering mockery, President Obama shot back: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed... the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities.”
Obama later offered just a hint of what those capabilities might be: “What I did was work with our joint chiefs of staff to think about, what are we going to need in the future to make sure that we are safe?... We need to be thinking about cyber security. We need to be talking about space.”

Amid all the post-debate media chatter, however, not a single commentator seemed to have a clue when it came to the profound strategic changes encoded in the president’s sparse words. Yet for the past four years, working in silence and secrecy, the Obama administration has presided over a technological revolution in defense planning, moving the nation far beyond bayonets and battleships to cyberwarfare and the full-scale weaponization of space. In the face of waning economic influence, this bold new breakthrough in what’s called “information warfare” may prove significantly responsible should U.S. global dominion somehow continue far into the twenty-first century.

While the technological changes involved are nothing less than revolutionary, they have deep historical roots in a distinctive style of American global power.  It’s been evident from the moment this nation first stepped onto the world stage with its conquest of the Philippines in 1898. Over the span of a century, plunged into three Asian crucibles of counterinsurgency -- in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Afghanistan -- the U.S. military has repeatedly been pushed to the breaking point.  It has repeatedly responded by fusing the nation’s most advanced technologies into new information infrastructures of unprecedented power.

That military first created a manual information regime for Philippine pacification, then a computerized apparatus to fight communist guerrillas in Vietnam.  Finally, during its decade-plus in Afghanistan (and its years in Iraq), the Pentagon has begun to fuse biometrics, cyberwarfare, and a potential future triple canopy aerospace shield into a robotic information regime that could produce a platform of unprecedented power for the exercise of global dominion -- or for future military disaster. 

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  1. I do not know weather to be scared of this or happy. What does this mean for us as a nation? How will other countries react to our global reach?

    Austin Walker
    Counseling for Troubled Teens

  2. Austin,

    You are asking the right questions. American military spending already accounts for half of the combined military spending of all the advanced nations. There is little distinction between defensive and offensive military capability in the United States today. Our spending, combined with our plans, will clearly be viewed as an offensive threat by many other nations. But it doesn't seem to be strategic planning that is driving our military build up. It seems as if profits for military contract corporations is what drives our spending these days. This is certainly not a good thing, because once weapon systems are in place there is always an urge and an excuse to use them.


    1. PS: Counseling for troubled teens is a very, very good thing. Thanks.


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