While space has long been utilized to assist military operations, it has not been weaponized. A new report by the Stimson Center–Space Assurance or Space Dominance? The Case Against Weaponizing Space–argues that the surest way for the United States to lose the military advantages now enjoyed in space is to turn the heavens into a shooting gallery.
The Stimson report concludes that US military and economic security is best served by avoiding the flight-testing and deployment of space weaponry. The pursuit of space dominance could impair global commerce, produce long-lasting, environmental debris in space, and harm alliance ties as well as relations between the United States and Russia and China, the two countries whose help is most needed to stop and reverse proliferation. The quest to dominate space could prompt low-cost, low-tech countermeasures in the form of space mines and other anti-satellite devices. Potential adversaries in space would be faced with the dilemma of shooting first or risk being shot. The quest to secure dominion over space would therefore elevate into the heavens the hair-trigger postures that plagued US and Soviet officials during the Cold War.