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Satnews Daily
May 18th, 2016

The Secure World Foundations Asks How To ... Deal With "Contested, Congested, And Competitive" Space Environment

A meeting of the minds regarding a subject matter, Contested, Congested, And Competitive Space Environment, is certainly fodder for major discussions that will be addressed on May 31. Insiders say details are still scarce and outsiders have criticized the current approach as both too weak and too aggressive.

In 2011, the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a National Security Space Strategy (NSSS) that provided guidance to the US national security space community on how to address the challenges of what they deemed an increasingly "contested, congested, and competitive" space environment. The 2011 NSSS proposed the following set of interrelated strategic approaches for meeting US national security space objectives:

  • Promote responsible, peaceful, and safe use of space;
  • Provide improved US space capabilities;
  • Partner with responsible nations, international organizations, and commercial firms;
  • Prevent and deter aggression against space infrastructure that supports US national security; and
  • Prepare to defeat attacks and to operate in a degraded environment

In the five years since, the debate over the US approach to meeting the challenges of the future space environment has only intensified. Within the national security space community, there has been a significant amount of effort put into fleshing out the concepts to implement the 2011 NSSS, culminating in the publication in 2015 of a white paper outlining a taxonomy for Space Domain Mission Assurance and elements of the FY2016 budget request.

But details are still scarce, and both the overall approach outlined in the 2011 NSSS and its implementation have attracted significant criticism and critique. Congress has signaled its concern by mandating a study on "Alternative Defense and Deterrence Strategies in Response to Foreign Counterspace Capabilities" in the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Outsiders have criticized the current approach as both too weak and too aggressive. This luncheon panel discussion will provide a range of perspectives on both implementing the 2011 NSSS as well as alternative approaches to addressing the challenges of the current and future trends in space.  

An Examination of the US National Security Space Strategy will take place on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 12:00 PM- 2:00 PM at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington D.C.


  • Dr. Joan-Johnson Freese, Professor for National Security Affairs, US Naval War College
  • Mr. Todd Harrison, Director for Defense Budget Analysis and Senior Fellow with the International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Dr. Peter Hays, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
  • Dr. John Sheldon, Chairman and President, ThorGroup GmbH
  • Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation
  • Moderator: Ms. Victoria Samson, SWF Washington Office Director

For further information, please contact SWF Washington Office Director. Victoria Samson