“TRAJECTORIES AND ORBITS.” NASA, NASA, 22 Oct.2004, history.nasa.gov/conghand/traject.htm.United States, Congress, Arms Control, Verification,and Compliance. “Outer Space Treaty.
” Outer Space Treaty, U.S.Department of State.
www.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm.Lockie, Alex. “The Missile Defense Agency Wants aLaser-Equipped Drone That Would Be a Silver Bullet for Stopping NorthKorea.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 19 June 2017,www.
businessinsider.com/laser-drone-missile-defense-boost-phase-intercept-2017-6.Works Cited ICBM’sare cheaper and easier to obtain. Theycan and will eventually be used as leverage over us when given to proxiesacting as pawns. A grid of laser-capablesatellites will prevent all unwanted ICBM’s from being capable of striking theUnited States. We cannot predict themoves of foreign leaders enough to be 100% sure they will not act irrationallyor have a change of interest. Thisproposal will allow the United States to be free from all ICBM threats andultimately gives us the highest leverage over others who seek to harm us, asthis plan makes their threats null. Theopposition towards an outer space laser defense system holds that the OuterSpace Treaty agrees that nations will not weaponize space (Outer Space Treaty,U.
S. Department of State). It is truethat we agree not to weaponize space, however this treaty does not have ourbest interests in mind. It is preventingus from fully defending ourselves from the ICBM threat. If we drop out of the treaty, it will not bean issue, however, there is a loophole that allows us to stay in it.
Laser defense systems are not weapons, theyare defense pieces. We are not arming space in any way, we aresimply using it for defense purposes as laser defense only destroys weapons, itdoes not act as one. Whileit is true that it may not be in the best interest to launch an ICBM invasionon the United States due to our inevitable retaliation, interests change. This argument holds no power when it becomesthe interest of a leader to launch an ICBM.
If countries such as Russia and China are pushed enough—such as a WorldWar III scenario—their interests would shift to total war, and an unleashing ofICBM’s against us would be included. Ifterrorist groups hold ICBM capabilities, their interest is to cause terror, andthey know that our retaliation will not stop their ideology, so they wouldnaturally proceed to cause terror via ICBM’s because us launching a counterattackwill not stop their ideological power. This was the case with Al Qaeda’s choice with 9/11. While our Iraq and Afghanistan invasions weremassively destructive, Islamic extremism lived on, and mass terror was caused. Whatthe opposition forgets is that it is humans who hold power, and humans actirrationally. To say that since a leaderof a threatening nation is rational and thus will not act irrationally, is thesame as saying a loaded gun will not fire if the safety is on. Safeties fail. Humans act with emotion and humans actirrationally without thought in unpredictable manners.
An example of this irrational behavior waswhen Nazi Germany invaded Russia in World War II after witnessing themselvesfail at it in World War I and witnessing Napoleon fail in 1812, yet theycontinued anyways. However,others will disagree that ICBM’s are not a threat to the United States atall. Those who take this side cite thefact that anyone who holds power effectively is a ‘rational actor.’ This means that they will act only to keeptheir power. By this path, it would notmake sense to launch an ICBM attack on the United States because it would bringthe immediate destruction to whoever does. Even the most extreme nation, North Korea, would only threat the UnitedStates, but never attack as they know if they do, we will destroy them tentimes over.
The summary of the ‘rationalactor’ argument is that rational actors will not launch an ICBM attack as it isnot in their best interest of power, and that the ICBM threat is one onlyderived from the empty threats made by such actors. However, the counter argument is two-fold:humans act irrationally, and powerinterests change. Theway to destroy a satellite midflight is to strike it with a laser. These lasers use light energy toincinerate/decapacitate an ICBM. The waythis works is if an ICBM is launched, our sensors and radar will report it tothe laser satellites in outer space. Then, a laser will be shot at said ICBM while it is in its sub-orbital trajectory—andorbit that reaches out of earth’s atmosphere, but reenters it (NASA 2004)—thusdestroying it and eliminating the threat.
For this to work, we would need enough laser-satellites to be able tocover the horizon they cover while in orbit. This gives us the ability to strike down any ICBM at any time. In order to decide what is to be shot down bythe satellites, a list of approved launches will remain updated. This means that any group that wants tolaunch anything into sub or full orbit must notify an international spaceagency led by the United States. Wewould then investigate the contents of the launch and be first-hand witnessesto the launch itself. This guaranteesour ability to separate the threatening launches. If our radar detects any launch that is notapproved, it will be targeted and struck down.
In addition, if any launch we approve does not follow its flight plan,it too will be struck down. This expandsour control from the air, sea, and land to outer space. With this control, we can stop all threats ofan ICBM attack on the United States and on our allies. Thelower costs and ease of developing and obtaining ICBM’s (IntercontinentalBallistic Missiles) are on the rise.
Thelower cost comes from advanced rocket/weapon technology that makes ICBM’ssimpler and easier to make. This allowsfor poorer countries to develop what used to be advanced and expensive technology. The other issue is that China and Russia haveadvanced ICBM technology—close to ours—and could potentially give theirtechnology over to nations who are threatening to us and/or our allies. China and Russia could give ICBM technologyto proxies in order to use them as pawns to gain leverage over us.
Select nations and groups that are potentialproxies are Iran, North Korea, ISIS, Syria, Pakistan, and the State ofPalestine. ICBM’s or advanced ICBM’s inthe hands of these listed groups threaten the safety of not just us, but our closeallies. The spread of ICBM’s isinevitable, but its defeat is simple: launch a satellite program designed to destroy ICBM’s in midflight.Final Paper13 December 2017 International Studies 3700Professor Omar KeshkWilliam Foster