Pentagon Revises Space Policy

The Defense Department recently—and without fanfare—updated its space policy for the first time since 1999. Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter signed Directive 3100.10 on Oct. 18 instituting the new policy, which “addresses comprehensively the challenges posed in an increasingly congested, contested, and competitive space domain.” “Space capabilities have long provided strategic national security advantages for the United States,” said Carter in a Pentagon release. “This updated space policy,” he continued, “institutionalizes the changes the department has made in an increasingly constrained budget environment to address the complex set of space-related opportunities and challenges.” The revised policy reiterates three US objectives: strengthen safety, sustainability, stability, and security in space; maintain and enhance the national security advantages afforded by the use of space; and energize the space industrial base that supports US national security. Among its key elements, the document declares that “purposeful interference” with US space systems “is irresponsible in peacetime and may be escalatory in a crisis.” It also promotes international cooperation and commercial partnerships and recognizes space situational awareness as a foundation for safe and effective space operations. (Includes AFPS report by Cheryl Pellerin) (Space policy fact sheet)