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U.S. Space Weapons: Big Intentions, Little Focus

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Under the administration of President George W. Bush, Pentagon rhetoric has increasingly articulated a more robust vision of space as a future battlefield. This analysis details some of the ongoing spending for research and development programs identified in current U.S. Air Force, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and Defense Advanced Research and Planning Agency (DARPA) planning and budget documents related to ‘‘space control’’ and ‘‘space force projection.’’ This analysis finds that current support for ‘‘space superiority’’ and ‘‘space control’’ systems remains largely rhetorical*with little actual budgetary support. Unclassified technology development programs included in the six-year Future Years Defense Plan are a decade or more away from deployment. Programs related to offensive counterspace, space-based missile defense interceptors, and space-based strike total slightly less than $300 million in FY 2006 funding. We conclude significantly higher expenditures in research and development would be required to develop and deploy killer microsatellites, space-based missile defense interceptors, and military space planes.

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