We cannot deal with the military mission in space without considering: What is the military mission as a whole
This is a question difficult to answer. I will try to answer it in a brief, oversimplified way and say that the military mission is, first, to deter war and, second, to support our national policy.
I know that there is much more to it than that, but again I. think that basic answer serves to at least partially set the stage. We realize that the Soviets respect only strength; therefore, we must be and remain militarily strong.
We must have the strength to deter aggression. For the past decade the long-range bombers and nuclear weapons of the Strategic Air Command have been our principal deterrent and they have maintained the peace. For the next decade they and our long-range missiles again will be our principal deterrent.
Now, how about the more distant future of the next decade
Certainly, our principal deterrent will space. I would like to mention some obvious s missions.
First, offensive systems, strategic systems to deter or deal with all-out war. First, missiles, next Dyna-Soar, and next—it is hard to know exactly what, but certainly something. Even the tactical mission may have a place in space or, rather, space may have a place in the tactical mission—where we deter or deal with limited wars and certainly must have smaller and more selective weapons to do the job.
Second, defensive systems to minimize the enemy’s offensive capability by protecting ourselves from it.
Third, reconnaissance systems.
Fourth, navigational systems.
Fifth, meteorological systems.
Sixth, communications systems.
The last three—navigation, meteorological, and communications systems—all have important civil applications. In fact, almost every device that is developed for military purposes has a direct or indirect civil application.
The communications satellite in particular will provide more reliable, more secure, and more economical global communications.
We hope that improved communications will help create better understanding between nations.
The Soviet objective is to communize and dominate the world. They have a long-range, consistent, and flexible plan, aimed at that objective. Certainly, we cannot deal only with all-out war. We must consider other methods of Soviet conflict and how they may be dealt with in space.
The question that people, particularly those of us who have been in the military, are most often asked is this:
What is the likelihood of an all-out nuclear conflict with the Soviets
My opinion is that the likelihood is remote, provided we remain militarily strong. Should we become weak enough so that they felt that they could achieve their objective of world communization and world domination through a military coup without unacceptable damage to themselves, I think war would then become very likely.
In other words, military strength deters war. Weakness on our part would surely lead to all-out war, but it is not enough, as I said, to deter war. Deterring all-out war is our first obligation, but we have additional obligations.
First, we must deal with local wars. We must deter them with mobility on land, sea, and air, with weapons that are small, powerful, and economical.
Next, we must prohibit infiltration and subversion.
Next, we must counter exploitation. The tendency of the Soviet is to foment discord, promote strife, and then fill the vacuum. Certainly, we must use propaganda that will help us woo the uncommitted nations and the weakly committed nations.
The Soviet Union is doing a good job of propaganda and they have chosen space as the arena in which to do so. Certainly, propaganda has serious military, political, and economic implications.
Next, we must face up to the technological conflict. We must have an adequate educational system, which I do not believe we presently have. We must improve or increase our stockpile of fundamental knowledge. We must do more basic research. We must excel in science if we are to lead in technology.
Last, the economic conflict. The Soviets are getting their house in order in order to win the economic conflict. They are developing their heavy industry, power, and communications.
I was in Russia last year and at Yalta I saw a sign which showed a Russian with a hammer and an American capitalist with a diamond in his navel. The caption was, “By 1965 the Soviet bloc will produce more than half of the total production of the world.”
In other words, their objective, which I am sure they will not achieve, is for the Soviet bloc to produce within five years more than the rest of the world put together.
They are improving their standard of living, getting better housing, getting some consumer goods. You may recall that Khrushchev has stated that within ten years, by 1970, the Communist citizen will be the most contented citizen in the world.
This, I am satisfied they will not achieve. But we certainly have to see that they do not, and it will take a certain effort on our part.
They are entering world trade and they will be tough. They can break any market and they will certainly carry out the economic conflict to the end.
It may seem that I have gone far afield. I do not feel that I have, because I feel that it is not adequate in this day and age to deal simply with deterrent power. Our military power must be tied to our economic power, and all must be tied to our moral power and to our willingness to win and to work if we are properly to exploit the space potential.
One of America’s leading airmen, General Doolittle has had distinguished careers in military and civil aviation. Holder of a doctorate of science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee, and board chairman of Space Technologies Laboratories, Inc.