The views and opinions expressed or implied in WBY are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents.

The Tortoise and the Hare: Defense Strategists Must be Fast and Bold for Their “New Vision” of Space

Wild Blue Yonder --

Most children have heard of Aesop’s timeless fable of the slow but diligent tortoise triumphing over the speedy yet haughty hare.1 It is a classic story that evokes the familiar adage: “slow and steady wins the race.” Yet there are times when neither slow nor steady can ensure victory.2 For today’s defense strategists, nowhere is this paradox more applicable than in outer space.

In his first major speech, Defense Secretary Austin called for the development of a “new vision” of American defense in light of emerging space threats.3 Specifically, he argued for the need to create new networks to secure what many have labeled the ultimate high ground.4 Unfortunately, integrating space power into the full elements of national power has historically been a challenge.5 Now that the US Space Force (USSF) is operational, however, it is time for defense leaders to unleash space's full potential and “advance a foreign policy that employs all of our instruments of national power.”6

The strategic imperative for this change cannot be understated. As the world becomes more interconnected, security threats are increasingly merging at the intersection of diplomatic, informational, military, and economic affairs, especially in space. Moreover, the capabilities of some space assets will be so advanced, and the barrier to attaining them so low, that the ability to undermine American interests, as outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), could soon become available to a variety of states, companies, and even individuals.7 Without significant change, it may only be a matter of time before the United States loses its strategic edge. Yet it is important to note that good foresight and smart decisions could promote those interests by mitigating a range of wicked problems such as food and water insecurity, environmental unsustainability, and economic disparity.8

However, the high ground is not a right. Adversaries could just as easily seize it for themselves and turn opportunities into vulnerabilities. Thus, for this “new vision,” leaders must move with speed and audacity.9 Capitalizing on the new space rush could lead to immense benefits; failure to adapt may spell relative decline.10 To better integrate space into the full elements of national power and promote a more effective NDS, the United States and its allies should focus on the following issue areas.11

Diplomatic

A key component of the NDS was to work with allies to generate “the stability that promotes economic growth.”12 Unfortunately, there seems to have been a severe lack of imagination on how space could best promote this objective. In 2018, for example, the State Department, Department of Defense (DOD), and USAID jointly defined ‘political stabilization’ and set to reimagine practices to best achieve this condition.13 Yet their 2018 Stabilization Assistance Review did not even mention the word “space,” and the new administration has yet to make any updates, missing out on significant opportunities.14

One consideration should be food assistance and agriculture—the largest source of food and employment in the world.15 Half of all human calories come from just three crops: rice, corn, and wheat.16 Production can also be extremely inefficient. Malnutrition is the leading cause of death in the world, but one-third of all crops are lost prior to human consumption.17 Meanwhile, by 2050, the global population is projected to reach 10 billion.18 In order to meet rising demand, the World Bank estimates food production must increase by 70 percent.19 Yet, natural disasters, environmental challenges, and rising inequality hinder this aim. Unresolved, the European Commission estimates cross-border conflicts could increase by up to 95 percent.20 A 2015 National Intelligence Council Report even identified global food insecurity to be a critical national security concern for the US military.21

New space capabilities offer promising solutions. With access to global satellite sensing imaging (SSI), farmers can now track and optimize their produce through a process known as precision agriculture (PA).22 If just 15-25 percent of farms adopted PA, global yields could increase by 4 percent; if 70-90 percent of farms in developing nations had access to SSI, yields could increase 6 percent and food waste decrease 5 percent.23 Another study found the average farm would reduce energy requirements by $13 per acre and water requirements by 8 percent if it adopted PA.24 These statistics should not be ignored as growth in agriculture has been shown to be two to four times more effective in raising incomes, and improved food security tends to significantly promote peace-building.25 Several commercial firms have already entered this market.26 Considering the historic effectiveness of food assistance programs, defense leaders should prioritize the integration of these capabilities across all diplomatic operations.27

However, they must move quickly as the same assets that could promote American security could just as easily undermine it. As the access to PA becomes more widespread, malicious actors could notably gain the ability to use PA for products other than food—including narcotics. Such a scenario could significantly undermine defense interests. From 2010 to 2015, NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM spent over $2.8 billion in counter-narcotic operations, and the Taliban clung to power due to its control of opium.28 For the sake of building a more economically efficient and effective force, decision-makers must keep the aforementioned risks and opportunities for consideration.29

Informational

The NDS was correct in arguing, “[n]ew commercial technolog[ies] will change society and, ultimately, the character of war.” While leaders have recognized space’s informational capabilities as critical force multipliers, insufficient appreciation has been shown to just how radically new commercial technologies could impact national security.30 Two specific areas worthy of scrutiny are internet expansion and advanced Earth-observation (EO).

The expansion of the internet is already creating a range of new vulnerabilities. Further integration and connectivity will inevitably mean more exposure to cyber-attacks, information warfare, and propaganda from a range of new actors, which could affect the homeland through unconventional means.31 Since 2015, the annual cost of cyber-attacks has quadrupled; Chinese propaganda outlets fueled disinformation of COVID-19, Russian ‘hybrid-wars’ have undermined democracies, and the rise of misinformation has fueled an unprecedented rise in domestic instability.32 Even non-state actors continue to demonstrate their abilities to threaten the homeland.

Regarding advanced E00O, while there have been EO capabilities for decades, they were mainly multi-million-dollar assets limited to capturing low-resolution images. Now, commercial satellites the size of shoeboxes can capture images at 50cm resolution for a fraction of the cost.33 Soon, a wide range of actors may be able to capture high-resolution images in every part of the world—making the US military more vulnerable. In recent war games where adversaries could locate American carrier groups, the ships became floating coffins.34 Even US nuclear submarines, cruxes to deterrence policy, may become susceptible to commercial surveillance as satellites have already begun to successfully map the ocean floor.35 Commercial companies have already demonstrated their abilities to accidentally expose American military operations.36 To remediate this vulnerability, defense leaders must establish new relationships with the private sector to ensure that it can better integrate and protect itself against such capabilities.

At the same time, it is important to note that access to the internet has been shown to mitigate violent conflicts, increase educational opportunities, and empower peacebuilding opportunities around the world.37 Regarding advanced EO, critical operations such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and even PA would be impossible without EO. Thus, defense strategists should not ignore the potential benefits and work to make access to these space-based capabilities the norm rather than the exception.38 While it may seem overly ambitious, the US Air Force already demonstrated the ability to implement global initiatives with GPS in 1995.39 As defense leaders prepare for a new era of competition, fast, deliberate actions aimed at creating new strategic policies and global initiatives should be the priority. With smart, bold decisions, the United States could confidently compete in a world where information will play an ever-increasing role in national defense.40 Inaction, on the other hand, could soon render the US’ most strategic assets to have little efficacy.

Military

The NDS’ final priority was to initiate reforms for “greater performance and affordability” within the DOD.41 Just as the Industrial Revolution enabled the British Navy to dominate the Nineteenth Century, the new space rush presents a similar inflection point for modern militaries but through different mediums. One that has received insufficient attention is space-based energy.

First demonstrated at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, space-based solar power (SBSP) holds the potential to revolutionize or diminish US military readiness.42 The United States spends $81 billion annually defending oil supply chains—energy insecurity underlies most American alliances—and although the Pentagon recognizes climate change as an existential national security threat, the DOD is still the leading institutional emitter of greenhouse gasses.43 Furthermore, supplying fuel to bases has historically required dangerous supply routes. In Afghanistan, convoys correlated heavily with casualties (one in every 24 resupplies) as transports became easy targets.44 Moreover, in recent war games, the US Air Force’s reliance on vulnerable tankers has consistently left it unable to defeat Chinese and Russian attacks.45 Soon, however, this could be a relic of the past, as by 2024, the Air Force Research Laboratory aims to supply expeditionary forces with energy beamed from space.46

The potential ramifications cannot be overstated as SBSPs could feasibly propel the world into a clean-energy revolution. Today, energy insecurity is another leading source of conflict; over 1.2 billion people (16 percent of the global population) lack access to electricity, and 10,000 people die every day due to pollution from fossil fuels.47 Furthermore, nonrenewables supply 84 percent of the world’s energy, which allows resource rich-nations such as Russia to strong-arm neighbors, spelling significant geopolitical repercussions.48 Recognizing its energy value, both China and Russia have made claims to the Arctic, opening up a new front for potential military conflict.49

At the same time, numerous commercial firms, as well as the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, and China, are all vying to develop their own spaced-based energy sectors.50 China specifically intends to send a functioning prototype into space by 2022 and plans to make it commercially viable by 2050, which may soon require defense strategists to deal with the fact that an increasing list of adversaries may have the technical capabilities to access limitless energy.51 To ensure that the US military will be prepared to compete in this scenario, leaders must prioritize bold investments in both research and the next generation of leaders across executive-level departments. Specifically, they could create mandates to reduce the military’s reliance on nonrenewables and set timelines to achieve this goal. Failure to act could mean a less-resilient armed forces.52

Economic

Finally, no strategic discussion of space would be complete without discussing the main driving force behind the new space rush: economics. The space economy is valued at over $420 billion and is expected to double by 2040.53 The combination of falling launch costs, insatiable demand for and production of data, and an untapped global market for high-speed internet are stoking fierce competition to grab a share of half of the world’s population who remain unconnected to the internet.54 Eventually, there may one day be upwards of 100,000 satellites in orbit.55

Considering such trends, defense strategists must consider the possibilities of one economic tool: cryptocurrencies promulgated by space assets. Rapidly growing broadband constellations will give upwards of four billion people access to digital currencies. Many of them live in poverty, a critical factor in creating armed conflicts.56 Through cryptocurrency-based capital, the United States could advance NDS’ goal to ‘attract new partners’ by linking billions of people to previously unattainable capital, which could unleash unprecedented levels of innovation, educational opportunities, and regional stability.57

Yet cryptocurrencies may also pose competitive challenges to US security. Not only are adversaries, including the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), deploying a digital yuan, China recently launched its Blockchain-based Service Network.58 This network complements its cryptocurrency, in which the data travels, is held, and processed via space facilitated assets. Furthermore, new financial opportunities will inevitably attract nefarious activities by both low-level actors and well-established nation-states.59 The “new vision” must lend itself to thinking big and must utilize foresight to envision how the emerging space-based broadband infrastructure and digital currencies could impact national security through novel uses.60

Consider how space may affect something as simple as a nut through economics:

Pecans first went to space on the Apollo 16 mission as a fresh food source that provided multiple nutritional benefits.61 While Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas provide pecans to astronauts, they also supply a significant share of the world’s pecan crop to adversaries including China.62 The Chinese are taking advantage of pecan’s health benefits—space engineers are advancing Chinese space ambitions and the CCP developed a digital yuan with the hope that it will compete with the dollar or even become the preeminent global currency.63 In the near future, billions of new global consumers could have access to the digital yuan using “StarNet,” China’s 10,000 satellite broadband constellation.64 While US pecan farmers have traditionally used the dollar to trade with China, it is plausible that China will demand trade using their new digital yuan once promulgated through space, strong-arming US pecan farmers by driving down pecan prices, increasing inflation, and undermining global financial institutions.65

Considering the US military’s reliance on delicate supply chains, the rise of cryptocurrencies could pose a critical risk in the future of building a more effective and affordable defense apparatus by undermining certain acquisition policies.66

Moving Forward

As the new space rush heats up, the US government’s action—or inaction—in space will determine whether it will be prepared for a new era of space-promoted conflict. With smart decisions and good leadership, the United States could not only ensure that its interests are secured, but it could also promote a more effective, holistic defense doctrine that could minimize some of the world’s most wicked problems. How it will respond, however, is still to be determined. Moving forward, the following should serve as guiding lights for defense strategists:

  1. Establish cross-institutional opportunities in the space defense apparatus so that the USSF can build a culture of cooperation across executive departments, small and large companies, and other space-faring nations67
  2. Expand Schriever War Gaming opportunities within the DOD and welcome commercial and ‘grey-zone’ participants to better identify blind spots68
  3. Reform current defense doctrine to better prioritize whole-of-government, cross-sectional strategies69
  4. Establish a space-specific acquisition fund that will be used to invest in space innovations for national power70
  5. Call for the creation of an international space alliance, based on shared interests, values, and priorities in the next NDS71

The “new vision” must recognize the vast opportunities and risks associated with the new space rush. With proper foresight and change, the United States can secure the high ground for a range of threats both new and old. Adversaries, however, are rushing to seize it for themselves. Thus, fast, proactive, reasoned debate, paired with bold action and vision aimed at creating networks across all rungs of the executive hierarchy must be the policy.72 For the upcoming decade “slow and steady” must be replaced with “fast and bold.”73

Lieutenant Colonel Christopher P. Mulder, USAF
Lt Col Mulder is a Senior Military Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he is a command pilot and interested in leadership and national security issues.

Lieutenant Inkoo S. Kang, UASF
LT Kang is a Research Consultant at the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center. A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is a Program Advisor for Air University and will be serving as an intelligence officer.

Notes

1 The Library of Congress, “The Hare and the Tortoise,” in The Aesop for Children, accessed 26 May 2021, http://read.gov/.

2 Eric K. Clemons and Jason A. Santamaria, “Maneuver Warfare: Can Modern Military Strategy Lead You to Victory?” Harvard Business Publishing, April 2002, https://hbr.org/.

3 Secretary of Defense, “Secretary of Defense Remarks for the U.S. INDOPACOM Change of Command,” US Department of Defense, 30 April 2021, https://www.defense.gov/; David Vergun, “Space Challenges Prompt DOD Response, Space Superiority,” US Department of Defense, 21 August 2020, https://www.defense.gov/.

4 Benjamin S. Lambeth, “Mastering the Ultimate High Ground: Next Steps in the Military Uses of Space,” RAND, 2003, https://www.rand.org/.

5 Peter Garretson, “Space Force’s Jupiter-Sized Culture Problem,” War on the Rocks, 11 July 2019, https://warontherocks.com/.

6 Thomas D. Taverney, “Unleashing the Potential of the US Space Force,” Air Force Magazine, 13 April 2021, https://www.airforcemag.com/; Secretary of Defense, “Secretary of Defense Remarks for the U.S. INDOPACOM Change of Command.

7 DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: Sharpening the American Military’s Competitive Edge, 2018, https://dod.defense.gov/; “Fast Thinking: Mars, with Chinese Characteristics,” Atlantic Council, 17 May 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

8 “Space for Agriculture Development and Food Security: Use of Space Technology within the United Nations System,” United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, December 2015, https://www.unoosa.org/; “Satellites Key to Addressing Water Scarcity,” the European Space Agency, 22 March 2019, https://www.esa.int/; “Space and Climate Change,” United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, 16 September 2015, https://www.unoosa.org/Monica Eaton-Cardone, “Greater Access to Banking Could Help Millions Living in Poverty,” Forbes, 4 September 2020, https://www.forbes.com/.

9 “#41: Prioritize The Need for Speed in Great-Power Competition,” Atlantic Council, 1 March 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/; Brigadier Mandeep Singh, “Audacity in Warfare: A Perspective,” The University Service Institution of India, July–September 2016, https://usiofindia.org/.

10 Hoss Cartwright and Deborah Lee James, “The Space Rush: New US Strategy Must Bring Order, Regulation,” Breaking Defense, 26 March 2021, https://breakingdefense.com/; Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., “Accelerate Change or Lose,” United States Air Force, August 2020, https://www.af.mil/; Michèle A. Flournoy, “America’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge: How to Transform the Pentagon for a Competitive Era,” Foreign Affairs, May–June 2021, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/.

11 “Seizing the advantage: The next US National Defense Strategy,” Atlantic Council, September 2019, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

12 DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America.

13 A Framework for Maximizing the Effectiveness of U.S. Government Efforts to Stabilize Conflict affected Areas Stabilization Assistance Review, January 2018, https://media.defense.gov/.

14 A Framework for Maximizing the Effectiveness of U.S. Government Efforts to Stabilize Conflict affected Areas.

15 “Agriculture and Food,” The World Bank, 30 September 2020, https://www.worldbank.org/.

16 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Nearly Half Our Calories Come From Just 3 Crops. This Needs to Change,” World Economic Forum, 4 October 2018, https://www.weforum.org/.

17 “Avoidable Risk Factors Take an Increasing Toll on Health Worldwide,” IHME, 10 September 2015, http://www.healthdata.org/; “Addressing Food Loss and Waste: A Global Problem with Local Solutions,” World Bank, 28 September 2020, https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/.

18 “How to Feed 10 Billion People,” UN Environment Programme, 13 July 2020, https://www.unep.org/.

19 “Water in Agriculture,” The World Bank, 24 June 2021, https://www.worldbank.org/.

20 “Global Hotspots for Potential Water Disputes,” European Commission, 16 October 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/.

21 “Global Food Security Intelligence Community Assessment,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 14 October 2015, https://www.dni.gov/.

22 Remi Schmaltz, “What Is Precision Agriculture?” AFN, 24 April 2017, https://agfundernews.com/.

23 Sarita Nayyar, Sean de Cleene, and Lisa Dreier, “Innovation with a Purpose: The Role of Technology Innovation in Accelerating Food Systems Transformation,” World Economic Forum, January 2018, http://www3.weforum.org/.

24 Nayyar, de Cleene, and Dreier, “Innovation with a Purpose.

25 Robert Townsend, “Ending Poverty and Hunger by 2030: An Agenda for the Global Food System,” The World Bank, Report: 95768, 16 April 2015, https://documents.worldbank.org/; “Peace Conflict and Food Security: What Do We Know About the Linkages?” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2016, https://reliefweb.int/.

26 Guest Writer, “10 Precision Agriculture Companies That Are Changing the Farming Industry,” Pinduoduo, 27 January 2021, https://stories.pinduoduo-global.com/.

27 George Ingram, “What Every American Should Know about Us Foreign Aid,” Policy 2020 Brookings, 15 October 2019, https://www.brookings.edu/.

28 “Counternarcotics: Overview of U.S. Efforts in the Western Hemisphere,” GAO Highlights, October 2017, https://www.gao.gov/; Craig Whitlock, “Overwhelmed by Opium: The U.S. War on Drugs in Afghanistan Has Imploded at Nearly Every Turn,” The Washington Post, 9 December 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/; “Opium Poppy Production in Afghanistan: From 9/11 to the Long War,” ESRI, 2016, https://www.arcgis.com/.

29 DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America.

30 Terri Moon Cronk, “U.S. Access to Space Is a Vital National Interest,” DOD News, 25 February 2021, https://www.defense.gov/; “Report of the Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data,” Atlantic Council, May 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

31 “Report of the Commission on the Geopolitical Impacts of New Technologies and Data,”; Inkoo Kang, “Event Recap | Information Warfare: An All-Domain Military and Civil Deception, from Today to 2030,” Atlantic Council, 23 February 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

32 “The Growing Threat of Cyberattacks,” The Heritage Foundation, accessed 26 May 2021, https://www.heritage.org/; Kathy Gilsinan, “How China Is Planning to Win Back the World,” The Atlantic, 28 May 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/; Suniti Singh, COVID-19: The Disinformation Tactics Used by China, BBC News video, 2:52 min., 8 April 2021, https://www.bbc.com/; Stanisław Żaryn, “Russia’s Hybrid Warfare Toolkit Has More to Offer than Propaganda,” Defense News, 9 August 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/;  “Disinformation, Domestic Extremism, and the Threat to Democracy,” Atlantic Council, 28 January 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

33 Mike Wall, “Rocket Lab Launches 10 Earth-Observation Satellites into Orbit,” Space, 28 October 2020, https://www.space.com/; “Planet Announces More Spectral Bands, 50 CM Resolution, Global Analytics, and Change Detection,” Planet News, 15 October 2019, https://www.planet.com/.

34 Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., “Us ‘Gets Its Ass Handed to It’ in Wargames: Here’s a $24 Billion Fix,” Breaking Defense, 7 March 2019, https://breakingdefense.com/.

35 Joseph Trevithick and Tyler Rogoway, “Ohio Guided Missile Submarines Were Designed to Be Drone-Carrying Clandestine Command Centers,” The Warzone, 21 November 2019, https://www.thedrive.com/; Jonathan Amos, “One-Fifth of Earth’s Ocean Floor Is Now Mapped,” BBC News, 21 June 2020, https://www.bbc.com/.

36 Byron Tau, “The Ease of Tracking Mobile Phones of U.S. Soldiers in Hot Spots,” The Wall Street Journal, 25 April 2021, https://www.wsj.com/.

37 Laura Ralston, “Can the Internet Solve Conflict?” World Economic Forum, 9 October 2014, https://www.weforum.org/; Saif Khalid, “The Voices of Peace Opposing War in India and Pakistan,” Aljazeera, 23 October 2016, https://www.aljazeera.com/.

38 Yair Amichai-Hamburger, “How We Can Use the Internet to Resolve Intergroup Conflict,” Oxford University Press’s Blog, 13 March 2013, https://blog.oup.com/.

39 Tech. Sgt. Mike Slater, “GPS: A Generation of Service to the World,” US Air Force, 25 June 2015, https://www.af.mil/.

40 Harry I. Hannah, “How the Us and EU Can Counter Digital Threats Together,” Atlantic Council, 3 May 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

41 DOD, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America.

42 US Department of Energy, “Space-based Solar Power,” Breaking Energy, 10 March 2014, https://breakingenergy.com/.

43 Neta C. Crawford, “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War,” Watson Institute Brown University, 13 November 2019, https://watson.brown.edu/; Julijus Grubliauskas and Michael Rühle, “Energy Security: A Critical Concern for Allies and Partners,” NATO Review, 26 July 2018, https://www.nato.int/; “Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense,” Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, January 2019, https://climateandsecurity.org/; Luke Darby, “How the U.S. Military Churns Out More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Entire Countries,” GQ, 13 September 2019, https://www.gq.com/.

44 David S. Eady et al., Sustain the Mission Project: Casualty Factors for Fuel and Water Resupply Convoys, National Defense Center for Energy and Environment, 17 September 2009, https://apps.dtic.mil/.

45 James Kitfield, “‘We’re Going to Lose Fast’: U.S. Air Force Held a War Game That Started With a Chinese Biological Attack,” Yahoo! News, 10 March 2021, https://www.yahoo.com/; Valerie Insinna, “A Us Air Force War Game Shows What the Service Needs to Hold Off — Or Win Against — China in 2030,” Defense News, 12 April 2021, https://www.defensenews.com/; Ryan Pickrell, “Us Has Been Losing Simulated War Games against Russia & China,” Business Insider, 29 April 2020, https://www.wearethemighty.com/.

46 Mike Wall, “The US Air Force Wants to Beam Solar Power to Earth from Space (Video),” Space, 25 April 2021, https://www.space.com/; Christopher T. Rodenbeck et al., “Microwave and Millimeter Wave Power Beaming,” IEEE Journal of Microwaves, 7 January 2021, https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/.

47 Michael T. Klare, “Twenty-First Century Energy Wars: How Oil and Gas Are Fuelling Global Conflicts,” Energy Post, 15 July 2014, https://energypost.eu/; Nick Routley, “Mapped: The 1.2 Billion People Without Access to Electricity,” Visual Capitalist, 27 November 2019, https://www.visualcapitalist.com/Roger Pielke, “Every Day 10,000 People Die Due to Air Pollution from Fossil Fuels,” Forbes, 10 March 2020, https://www.forbes.com/.

48 Robert Rapier, “Fossil Fuels Still Supply 84 Percent of World Energy — and Other Eye Openers from BP’s Annual Review,” Forbes, 20 June 2020, https://www.forbes.com/; “Gazprom as a Geopolitical Instrument,” Atlantic Council, 6 May 2019, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

49 Sarah Zheng, “China Targets Energy Security as Risks from US Rivalry Grow,” South China Morning Post, 9 March 2021, https://www.scmp.com/; Eugene Rumer, Richard Sokolsky, and Paul Stronski, “Russia in the Arctic—A Critical Examination,” Carnegie, 29 March 2021, https://carnegieendowment.org/.

50 Eric Rosenbaum and Donovan Russo, “China Plans a Solar Power Play in Space That NASA Abandoned Decades Ago,” CNBC, 17 March 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/; “Space-Based Solar Power: Seeking Ideas to Make It a Reality,” the European Space Agency, 23 September 2020, https://www.esa.int/; UK Space Agency and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, “UK Government Commissions Space Solar Power Stations Research,” Gov.uk, 14 November 2020, https://www.gov.uk/; Susumu Sasaki, “How Japan Plans to Build an Orbital Solar Farm,” IEEE Spectrum, 24 April 2014, https://spectrum.ieee.org/; Ariel Cohen, “How Space Lasers Could Soon Beam Clean Power Down to Earth,” Forbes, 29 March 2021, https://www.forbes.com/; Ray Kwong, “China Is Winning the Solar Space Race,” Foreign Policy, 16 June 2019, https://foreignpolicy.com/.

51 GlobalData Energy, “Here Comes the Sun: Space-Based Solar Power Is on the Horizon,” Power Technology, 28 January 2021, https://www.power-technology.com/; Scott Snowden, “Solar Power Stations in Space Could Supply the World with Limitless Energy,” Forbes, 12 March 2019, https://www.forbes.com/.

52 Neta C. Crawford, “The Pentagon Is the World’s Biggest Consumer of Oil, but It’s Trying to Change That,” Insider, 12 June 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/.

53 Michael Sheetz, “The Space Economy Has Grown to over $420 Billion and Is ‘Weathering’ the Current Crisis, Report Says,” CNBC, 30 July 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/; “Space: Investing in the Final Frontier,” Morgan Stanley, 24 July 2020, https://www.morganstanley.com/.

54 “How is Big Data Generated?” Bridged.co, 1 February 2019, https://medium.com/; Jeff Desjardins, “How Much Data Is Generated Each Day?” World Economic Forum, 17 April 2019, https://www.weforum.org/; Emily Dreyfuss, “Global Internet Access Is Even Worse than Dire Reports Suggest,” Wired, 23 October 2018, https://www.wired.com/; Cartwright and James, “The Space Rush,”; “Understanding the Unconnected,” Partners, January 2019, https://stlpartners.com/.

55 Loren Grush, “A Future with Tens of Thousands of New Satellites Could ‘Fundamentally Change’ Astronomy: Report,” The Verge, 26 August 2020, https://www.theverge.com/.

56 “Poverty,” The World Bank, 15 April 2021, https://www.worldbank.org/; Patricia Justino, “War and Poverty,” IDS Working Paper Vol 2012, no. 391, April 2012, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/.

57 Zoe Marks, “Poverty and conflict,” GSDRC, October 2016, https://gsdrc.org/.

58 James T. Areddy, “Beijing Tries to Put Its Imprint on Blockchain,” The Wall Street Journal, 11 May 2021, https://www.wsj.com/.

59 Carey Kuebeler Mott, “Digital Currencies: A Building Bloc for Chinese Regional Power?” The National Interest, 12 May 2021, https://nationalinterest.org/.

60 MacKenzie Sigalos, “Dogecoin Plunges Nearly 30% during Elon Musk’s SNL Appearance,” CNBC, 9 May 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/; Jeff Greason, James C. Bennett, “The Economics of Space: An Industry Ready to Launch,” Reason Foundation, 5 June 2019, https://reason.org/.

61 “Space Food, Pecans, Apollo 16 (White),” Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 1986, https://airandspace.si.edu/; “News,” aboutnuts, accessed 26 May 2021, https://www.aboutnuts.com/.

62 Christopher Freeburn, “The Chinese Are Going Nuts for U.S. Pecans,” Investor Place, 31 January 2013, https://investorplace.com/.

63 Joe McDonald and Victoria Milko, “China’s Space Ambitions Include a Robot on Mars and a Human on the Moon,” PBS News Hour, 2 December 2020, https://www.pbs.org/; Arjun Kharpal, “China Has Given Away Millions in Its Digital Yuan Trials. This Is How It Works,” CNBC, 4 March 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/; Danny Vincent, “‘One Day Everyone Will Use China’s Digital Currency,’” BBC News, 25 September 2020, https://www.bbc.com/.

64 Margaret H. McGill, “China’s on a Mission to Dominate Space Internet,” Axios, 16 March 2021, https://www.axios.com/.

65 David Chao, “How China’s Digital Currency Push Can Boost Fintech and the Yuan’s Global Presence,” China Macro Economy, 7 April 2021, https://www.scmp.com/; Dave Michaels and Paul Vigna, “The Coming Currency War: Digital Money vs. the Dollar,” The Wall Street Journal, 22 September 2019, https://www.wsj.com/.

66 The Interagency Task Force, Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, September 2018, https://s3.amazonaws.com/.

67 Jim Garamone, “Officials Explain U.S. Space Force Need, Culture,” US Department of Defense, 1 March 2019, https://www.defense.gov/.

68 1st Lt. Tyler Whiting, “Schriever Wargame: Critical Space Event Concludes,” United States Space Command, 4 November 2020, https://www.spacecom.mil/; Shane Bilsborough, “More Space Wargames, Please,” War on the Rocks, 17 November 2020, https://warontherocks.com/.

69 David Vergun, “Great Power Competition Can Involve Conflict below Threshold of War,” US Department of Defense, 2 October 2020, https://www.defense.gov/.

70 Bruce Cahan, J.D. and Dr. Mir Sadat, “US Space Policies for the New Space Age: Competing on the Final Economic Frontier,” NewSpace New Mexico, 6 January 2021, https://www.newspacenm.org/.

71  Clementine G. Starling et al., “The Future of Security in Space: A Thirty-Year US Strategy,” Atlantic Council Strategy Papers, April 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/; Christopher P. Mulder and Julia Siegel, “Making Space for the Next National Defense Strategy... In Space,” The National Interest, 29 March 2021, https://nationalinterest.org/.

72 Christopher P. Mulder et al., “#93: Adopt a Long-Term Space Strategy,” Atlantic Council, 22 April 2021, https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/.

73 Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., “Accelerate Change or Lose.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Wild Blue Yonder Home