We are certainly living in strange times. The U.S. Space Force (USSF) has just published a 64-page military doctrine called 'Spacepower', showing it is extending its particular brand of foreign policy and colonialism to space.
No, we don't mean the U.S. is about to colonize alien civilizations. It will, however, stamp its own self-interest over future space exploration and, if this doctrine is anything to go by, turn its back on a decades-long global effort to maintain space as an un-militarized domain.
Will 'preservation of freedom' lead to sci-fi dystopia?
It's official: space now falls under military jurisdiction, as is made abundantly clear in 'Spacepower', described as the U.S.'s "first articulation of spacepower as a separate and distinct form of military power," in a USSF press release.
Now, some might argue that space always has been militarized — what with astronauts being hand-picked out of the best military personnel and the Space Race's close connection to the Cold War.
However, those hoping that colonization of Mars will lead to a new world order will no doubt see the U.S.'s extension of their foreign policy into space as a penny for their thoughts — perhaps an Alien-like dystopia in which corporations value military assets over human life awaits us after all.
As the new document details, space is both a "source and conduit through which a nation can generate and apply diplomatic, informational, military and economic power,” and thus, the U.S. “must cultivate, develop, and advance spacepower in order to ensure national prosperity and security."
World powers escalating the militarization of space
The doctrine highlights three key areas of responsibility for the USSF: to preserve freedom of action in space, to enable "joint lethality and effectiveness," and to "provide independent options" for U.S. leaders to achieve national objectives.
All of this essentially comes to the same thing and is arguably a suitably vague way of stating that the USSF will assert military dominance in space.
The 'Spacepower' doctrine states that the U.S.'s "adversaries’ actions have significantly increased the likelihood of warfare in the space domain." This is, no doubt, a reference to China and Russia: China has the capability to shoot down missiles in space, and Russia is working on a method for shooting down satellites using laser beams.
Frankly, though, this smells a little of the U.S. passing on the blame for military escalation of space — they started it, not us.
All of this, while not constituting a direct breach, does go against the spirit of the Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1967, which states that no country can own a celestial body, and no nuclear warheads can be deployed from space. The Moon might have a U.S. flag on it, but it most definitely does not belong to any nation. Let's keep it that way.