Doctrines and ambitions of nation states

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Security and defence are inconceivable in the 21st century without appropriate, reliable space based capabilities.- Assembly of the Western European Union

1. It was during the Cold War that both sides assumed a nuclear war can be fought out. It was the technology, particularly space technology that seems to make it possible. There were two schools of doctrine. One was based on doctrine of conventional bombing with long range aircraft. It was based on the critical importance of the 'first blow', as a war winning formula. Such strikes would have used a large amount of bombs and therefore the nuclear bombs were found suitable to cause maximum destruction with minimum sorties or bombs dropped. The purpose was primarily to break enemy's morale and will to fight both at political and civilian level. The other doctrine aimed at making warfare remote and automatic by rockets and long range bombers to deliver nuclear weapons. These two concepts are still being employed in some form or other. They stem out of the concept of 'massive retaliation' and 'assured destruction' philosophies which the two cold war countries professed. The massive retaliation was a response to enemy's aggression. The theory of assured destruction was in response to second strike capability, so as to inflict unacceptable damage to the aggressor. The two doctrines evolved under different circumstances. The major fact to be noted in these was that, neither of the two doctrines emphasised on accuracy and precision bombing, the way it is available today. In a way we could safely assume that the technology limited the war i.e. nuclear war, in those early doctrines. It was due to such inaccuracies in the weapons that so many nuclear weapons were developed to cause a so called devastating effect on the enemy. The doctrines of a few nation states as they developed along would be discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.

2. With the improvement of ICBMs wherein they became more and more accurate the capabilities of the nation to utilise these weapons increased effectively. With the improved reached the varying nations realised the futility of these Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrines. Thus it can be said that the advent of technology especially space technology which led to the improvement of these systems was responsible for reducing the arms race and starting the peace initiative. It was in this period that the space technology developed globally, high quality communications, reconnaissance to verify arms control agreements, and nuclear test blast detection monitor: all to contribute towards safety and stability.

Space Doctrine of the United States

3. The US war doctrine and especially the nuclear doctrine has developed and evolved largely independently of technology. Space technology has a role to play in the later part of the evolution, when the accuracy of weapons made both sides realise the futility of MAD. It was at this time that the US doctrine changed from an all out war to readiness to fight small scale nuclear exchanges to demonstrate power or to respond as 'retaliatory force'. The relevance of precision bombing developed, which resulted in detailed target designation to achieve the end result with minimum possible nuclear assault. The most vulnerable to all these was the political land military leadership and along with that the command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) systems. This was the Schlesinger's counterforce doctrine focussed on more likely contingencies such as a Soviet attack using only one or two nuclear weapons. With this war fighting doctrine the military was required to be ready with a range of nuclear responses and the global military C3I systems are hardened against nuclear blast effects. In a way the new nuclear doctrine proposes to use space technology the way balloons were used in the nineteenth century, to follow the course of battle from the highest possible ground.

4. The history of space activity for and by humans has been relatively short but by nature complicated. There are a few contributing capabilities of this dimension. Firstly, adding the capabilities of space assets to conventional military hardware can significantly increase the overall capability of the hardware, making space assets known as force multipliers. Adding global navigation technology to missiles can dramatically increase precision. This use turns a space hardware into a tactical military assets. Secondly, the focus on US on the value of space for military power, as the rest of the world realised the key role that space technology played in the national economic development. Much of the benefits accrued are directly linked to a knowledge based society reaped from the information technology, enhanced connectivity and more visibility of own and other nations area of interest. The US view regarding national security here is based on the benefits that space can provide to the military. It was the during the Bush administration that in a 2001 space commission report chaired by Rumsfeld, that the space will inevitably join air, land and sea as the 'fourth battlespace'. Space assets for the US are viewed as essential to its national security not only as force multipliers but to provide 'space control'. It has defined it as combat and combat support operations to ensure freedom of action in space for the United States and its allies and when directed deny an adversary freedom of action in space. These have been well stated in the US Joint Space Operations doctrine. Whether the space control also extends to force application - a more blatant path to space weapons - has been left ambiguous. However, this fact is becoming a reality, as there is no technical difference between offensive and defensive weapons.

5. The present American vision for space is to achieve space supremacy. Even though they have superiority in many aspects of capability, they still don't have space dominance leave alone space supremacy. The present philosophy apart from what has been discussed in previous paragraphs is not simply to fight and win wars, it is also to prevent wars. To do so they find ways to influence the decision makers of potential adversaries, to deter them not only from existing weapons, but to the extent possible to try dissuade them from building dangerous new capabilities in the first place. On the other hand US itself professes own development of new capabilities that with their possession it would dissuade the adversaries from trying to compete. Hardening of US space based assets and building capabilities to defend space based assets is a small step in this direction wherein it would dissuade potential adversaries from developing small "killer satellites" to attack and cripple US satellite network.

6. There is another aspect of US space based doctrine. This is to work in conjunction with other countries in the world. This it gives a two pronged advantage. Firstly, it gives US an insight into the development of new technologies others are following, so that it can incorporate into its own programs. Secondly, it help US keep the core technologies to itself and it only supplies the finished product. This prevents the research work to develop in that key technology in that country or group of country and maintains the decisive technological edge with the US, as per its doctrine. If there is any viable plan by any third country US encourages it to be pursued as it gives it a chance to examine and develop new technologies. The development and the sharing of the GPS with even the civil users in good example of delaying or depriving technological development in space based navigation system.

Space Doctrine of China

China is by no means exploring the space for civil peaceful purpose. This is amply clear from the recent launches it has undertaken for space. The space doctrine for China clearly states the following: "The Chinese government attaches great importance to the significant role of space activities in implementing the strategy of revitalising the country with science and education and that of sustainable development, as well as in economic construction, national security , science and technology development and social progress. The development of space activities is encouraged and supported by the government as an integral part of the state's comprehensive development strategy." China recognises the importance of manned spaceflight. Even though it is costly, it also yields multiple returns. The technology developed or improved through manned missions can spill into other areas, many of which are associated with development for peaceful and military use. With the launch of Shenzhou V on October 15, 2003 China has established as a technically capable country in space exploration and development. But China did not send men into space because one of their leaders had a brain wave or was eager to explore the heavens. It was a programme with a calculated risk to maintain Domestic pride, international prestige, dual-use technology development, economic development including skilled jobs and expanded science and space education. The improvement in technology and manpower base to achieve space related task would definitely help China in the dual-technology usage.

7. China is a silent and a giant dragon. The military doctrine though not well known to the rest of the world, but its actions and feverish military development is clear indication regarding the intent of the country. This it seems is to use to achieve its most strong of all doctrines i.e. 'to teach a lesson to its adversary'. The country is spending nearly ten percent of its GDP on military to improve its forces. It is fast changing from a manpower intensive to a mobile and technologically savvy force. New acquisitions and own development has spurned a total change in the Chinese military concept of operations. Top priority has been given to infrastructure development for military use, near the areas of their adversaries. This includes around Taiwan and in Tibet area around Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh regions of India. In recent years, Chinese war fighting doctrine has aligned to become somewhat like the US doctrine. This doctrine is away from a comprehensive war with large platforms to smaller wars under modern, high-tech conditions. Wars of future are envisioned in Chinese doctrine to be limited i.e. not nuclear and shorter; more destructive; still decisive; fought on land, air and sea; war for electromagnetic spectrum and in space (related to information technology). They are also giving stress on jointmanship and inter service cooperation. Furthermore, China expects to fight a technologically sophisticated opponent. Observing from US success it seems that China understands that to conduct such a war effectively, it must become a space power. In fact China feels that through space weaponization, the United States seeks to neutralize China's nuclear deterrence capabilities. Many in China worry that this would free the United States to intervene in China's affairs and to undermine efforts at reunification with Taiwan. These concerns have prompted China to clearly express-with sufficient frequency to merit an acronym-that the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) is an urgent and realistic objective. A 2004 white paper on China's national defense emphasized, "Outer space is the common property of mankind. China hopes that the international community would take action as soon as possible to conclude an international legal instrument on preventing the weaponization of and arms race in outer space through negotiations, to ensure the peaceful use of outer space". China is in no illusion that it can control the space at all the time, nor does it feel it has to. It needs o nly to buy the time it needs to accomplish its goals by interfering with its opponents capabilities. Its doctrines state the thwarting capabilities of opponents can be achieved through 'soft kill' activity i.e. interfering with information systems and ground stations by various means, including electromagnetic pulses, or passive counterspace, such as camouflage, flares and deception. Enhanced communication capabilities for command and control, and imagery and gathering information from space are all on the agenda of People's Liberation Army (PLA). It seems that the presence US presence in space is making China more uncomfortable than presence of other countries.

8. At least five strategic objectives of the Chinese space program can be identified:

(a) Improve the accuracy of ICBM guidance systems.

(b) Enhance the command, control, and communications (C3) of Chinese strategic forces.

(c) Improve intelligence-gathering capabilities.

(d) Provide early warning for Chinese civil and air defence.

(e) Lay the foundation for possible future capabilities in strategic defence.

Space Doctrine of European Union

9. Since the early days of American-Soviet space race, European countries had been concerned about being left behind in the race, not only to develop technology to get to the moon, but to spur industrialisation and thus ensure economic growth. France and Germany developed their own relatively robust space programs. However, the European countries soon realised that all put together they did not have the required resources or the knowhow to establish themselves as independent space players. Soon, they were interacting with the US to help themselves reach the required heights. They however, soon realised that the US through NASA was not giving them much as they wanted and thus the requirement of continuing their own research. They also formed the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1971. Headquartered in Paris, the ESA has seventeen member states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic participate in some projects under cooperation agreements. The ESA had two types of programs, mandatory and optional. The mandatory programs include basic science activities and general budget expenses. Members contribute according to their gross national product (GNP). Optional programs like Ariane and Spacelab, to which members contribute according to their interests.

10. Gulf war's changed the way EU countries viewed space based assets. They began an era of dual use technology such as imagery especially for the military. Great Britain enjoyed the special access to US imagery and was less interested than other countries in development of autonomous capabilities. Germany, built a series of radar observation satellites. France launched military spy satellites, Helios. It was to be able to spot textbook size objects anywhere on earth and was equipped with infra-red sensors, allowing it to gather information at night as well as during day. The EU also felt a need of a space based navigation system which would be free of US intervention and thus started the project 'Galileo'. It also started the Global Monitoring and Environmental Security (GMES) system, an autonomous European dual use satellite monitoring capability. Its primary motive was autonomous capabilities in space ranging from environmental protection to internal security. It coined the word 'collective security' for protection all the EU nations, in the space program, from both military and non military origin. Another reason for EU to develop its own space research was the brain drain it was facing to the US with regards to the manpower utilisation. Thus there was a need to create job opportunities in Europe to get the maximum from its own internal resources and not be dependent on US. It also regarded the utilisation of space based assets for civilian utilisation at the highest level, especially with regards to coordinating airline traffic; rail and road traffic, and integrate and execute policies domestically, regionally and globally. It also found use to monitor agricultural yields and help identify areas of land with high ground water and weather broadcasts to remote areas. Even with all this civilian effort and jointmanship amongst various EU nations, their military space programs remained strictly national. The mission of ESA clearly states that its missions will strictly for peaceful purposes, but using space to 'help secure peace and defend stability' is considered to be compatible with the non- aggressive use of dual use technology. It has taken longer for the hang-together or hang-separately approach that had strengthened European abilities in the civilian space arena to take hold in defence.

Space Doctrine of Russia

11. Since the launch of Sputnik, Russia has built and maintained a sophisticated civil and military space program, and, as noted, in the past has pursued ASAT capabilities. From 1968 to 1971, the then-Soviet Union successfully tested a radar-guided co-orbital ASAT system. Another set of tests took place between 1976 and 1982, when Moscow unilaterally suspended testing - despite the failure of negotiations with the United States on an ASAT ban. Like the United States, Russia maintains a full spectrum of military-dedicated satellite systems for early warning, communications, navigation, optical reconnaissance and signals intelligence. Its GLONASS navigation system is the only other in the world besides the U.S. GPS. The Russian space industry is large, well entrenched and technically capable. Thus, Russia would certainly have the technical capability to pursue space weapons if it so chose. In particular, Russia is researching and development microsat technology and has also worked with Surrey, with many Surrey satellites launched on Russian rockets. Russia also has a long history of work on laser programs. However, the Russian military space program is currently suffering from disarray, both in its management and in the fact that it is being starved of funding. None of its military programs are functioning at full operational level - for example, GLONASS is supposed to comprise a network of 24 satellites but at the moment only eight are operational. Several other programs are thought to be practically non- functional, and others are being phased out.

12. Officially, the Russians, like the Chinese, want a space weapons ban. The two countries have jointly introduced draft treaty to the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The 2001-2002 Jane's Space Directory characterizes the Russian ASAT program as "inactive." The Russians have warned that the international community "should be on guard regarding the American policy of the military utilization of outer space" - citing in particular U.S. doctrine "reserving the right to employ force to conduct military operations in space, through space and from space." Thus it seems logical to assume that while Russia would not welcome a space arms race that would further tax their struggling space program. The Russians might feel the need to purse space weaponry if other nations did so - and given enough funding, such a Russian program would be technically feasible.

Space Doctrine of India

13. India, too, has a sophisticated space program, building and launching its own satellites since 1980, now in both LEO and GEO orbits. Primarily, India is focused on using satellites for communications and remote sensing - but has said it is considering planetary exploration and possibly even a manned mission to the moon. In addition, India hopes to sell its launch services to other nations. India is an active proponent of the rights of developing countries to use space, with keen interest in things like telemedicine. India is also officially a proponent of a space weapons ban and active in pushing for such negotiations. India too needs to have research options for disrupting or destroying enemy satellites in wartime. India was planning a new aerospace force command that would eventually develop space weapons. Indian Air Force seems to have "started work on conceptualizing such weapon systems and its operational command system," an argument based on the fact that this was necessary because "advanced countries are already moving toward laser weapon platforms in space and killer satellites." India also has been working on laser technologies for military applications since the mid-1990s. A recent story in Bharatvarsha 1947 maintains that India's chiefs of staff have asked for a feasibility study of space-based lasers, and that the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO, is already doing research on a system called Durga (directionally unrestricted ray-gun array) as well as on a "kinetic attack loitering interceptor" known as Kali. India is a proponent of 'no first use' (NFU) regarding nuclear weapons, however is building up its second strike capability to be able to hit hard to its adversary in case attacked upon or in case of any misadventure by any rogue nation.

War Doctrines, Space and Nuclear Weapons

14. The advent of nuclear weapons has posed a dilemma for military doctrines. On one hand it is the most powerful weapon and on the other hand it is too powerful to use. There have been varied approaches to integrate nuclear weapons into war fighting doctrines. The first way is to use it like conventional weapons, which will result in wide spread destruction similar to what happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The second is in limited nuclear war with scales limited only to areas where it was required. However, either case the scale of destruction can be high, depending on the type of bomb and retaliation by the adversary.

15. Satellites and Nuclear War Planning. Satellites in space help in repeated scanning and monitoring. This enables precision attacks possible and can help in the doctrine of limited nuclear war. This is made possible due to navigational satellites, reconnaissance satellites, Geodetic satellites which help in precise guidance to the target.

16. Satellite in Outbreak of Nuclear War. Early warning satellites give early warning regarding the ballistic missiles launched towards a nation. It gives time enough to alert the ground based interceptors whether by aircraft or other missile systems. Also, gives enough time to activate the second strike capability and gives precious time to take rational decisions.

17. Satellites in Conduct of War. A protracted nuclear war doctrine requires strategic connectivity i.e. to be able to have dialogue with the remote area and give instructions for new targets, a survivable warning system and system of continuous target reconnaissance. The tactical warning and attack assessment systems borne as a result of need for information for management of forces during pre-, trans- and post- attack periods, including escalation control, orderly and controlled termination of conflict, and management of residual and reserve force.

Deborah Shapley, 'Strategic Doctrine, the Militarisation and the 'semi-militarisation' of Space', Paper 2, pg 57; 'Space Weapons- The Arms Control Dilemma'; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1984, Edited by Bhupendra Jasani.

Rakesh Gupta, 'Militarisation of Outer Space- A Case of US Policy', Patriot Publishers, New Delhi 1985, pg 73-75.

US Joint Publications 3-14; 'Space Operations' Jan 2009, US Joint Chief of Staff.

Joan Johnson-Freese, 'Space as a Strategic Asset', Columbia University Press, New York 2007, Chapter 8, pg 197.

Information Office of the PRC State Council, "White Paper on China's National Defense in 2004," December 27, 2004,

Hui Zhang, 'Chinese Perspectives on Space Weapon', pdf file http://www.fmprc. gov.cn /eng, chapter 2, accessed on 30 Sep 09.

Joan Johnson-Freese, 'Space as a Strategic Asset', Columbia University Press, New York 2007, Chapter 7, pg169.

'Space Weapons-The Arms Control Dilemma', Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Taylor & Francis London, 1984; Edited by Bhupendra Jasani, Chapter 5.

Lt. Col. Peter L. Hays, USAF, "United States Military Space Into the Twenty-First Century," INSS Occasional Paper 42, Institute for National Security Studies, U.S. Air Force Academy, Col., September 2002, pp. 103-104

R. Prasannan, "Fast forward Defence: India enters the cruise missile race; hyperplane Avatar reaches planning stage," Bharatvarsha 1947, Sep. 15, 2009, http://www.geocities.com/bharatvarsha1947/Sep_2009/avatar.htm




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