Monday, September 20, 2004
Dominating the High Frontier

Undersecretary of the US AirForce, Peter B. Teets, has argued that the United States needs to achieve dominance in space, and has set out the necessary preconditions for achieving this objective.

Mr. Teets said the United States needs strong and enduring commitments in three areas to meet that goal: developing a professional space cadre, having a strong and well-funded industrial base, and maintaining a position at the leading edge of space technology.

The speech harked back to the history of American space development and how the 'Space Race' proved a natural stimulus. The speech did not set out any specific strategic goals and can be placed in the paradigm of scientific research, economic benefits and symbolic images that have characterised space up to the present day.

The rivals in this competition were identified:

"I know certain European countries have picked up the challenge and started to invest more heavily in leading-edge technology; certainly China has shown some of the same inclinations. We need to maintain a strong and vital space system research and technology endeavor going forward. That's what will keep us on the leading edge."

The speech was backward looking and traditional. Even in such contexts, the Bush administration is indicating that the United States remains wedded to its leadership role in space, identifies its strategic rivals and hints of future developments.

(22.43, 20th September 2004)


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