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Cross-Domain DeterrenceStrategy in an Era of Complexity$
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Eric Gartzke and Jon R. Lindsay

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190908645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190908645.001.0001

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Antisatellite Weapons and the Growing Instability of Deterrence

Antisatellite Weapons and the Growing Instability of Deterrence

Chapter:
(p.121) 6 Antisatellite Weapons and the Growing Instability of Deterrence
Source:
Cross-Domain Deterrence
Author(s):

Benjamin W. Bahney

Jonathan Pearl

Michael Markey

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190908645.003.0006

During the Cold War, satellite capabilities reinforced nuclear deterrence because the superpowers relied on them to reinforce second-strike stability for nuclear weapons. Antisatellite technology was deployed, but it was also immature. Today, the broader use of space for conventional power projection, together with more mature target discrimination and antisatellite technology, create strong incentives for both the United States and its adversaries to conduct counter-space operations. The United States’ military power projection is utterly dependent on space assets for command, control, communications, intelligence, and targeting, but satellites are increasingly vulnerable to antisatellite capabilities, including not only direct attacks on satellites but also indirect cyber and electronic warfare interference on satellites, links, and ground-based control infrastructure. Several cross-domain options are available for deterrence both by denial (the threat of effective defense) and by punishment (the threat of retaliation). Unfortunately, the lack of shared norms regarding space warfare has uncertain consequences for escalation dynamics.

Keywords:   space, space warfare, antisatellite weapons, cyber operations, U.S. military power, cross-domain deterrence

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