International Order & Conflict

Space and National Security

Featured speaker:
Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global and
Strategic Affairs
Michael Krepon, Stimson Co-founder/Senior Associate and Director of the Space Security program

Space and National Security

Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Global and Strategic Affairs Madelyn Creedon joined Michael Krepon to discuss space and national security. At the event, Stimson
launched its new monograph, Anti-satellite
Weapons, Deterrence and Sino-American Space Relations

Creedon spoke at length
about the parallels and dissimilarities between space and nuclear deterrence.
She argued that many of the principles of nuclear deterrence can be applied to
outer space, stating “deterrence is deterrence.” She defined the three primary
factors of deterrence as: to deny benefit, to impose cost, and to encourage

She addressed current
Department of Defense policies and actions regarding deterrence in space,
outlining four pillars: internationalizing norms, building coalitions and
consensus, increasing the resiliency of space architecture, and preparing to be
able to respond to an attack on space architecture – though not necessarily in
space. She noted that it is in the U.S. interest to reserve the ambiguity to respond
when, where, and how, and that bolstering these four pillars not only
strengthens deterrence, but also serves as preparation to be able to operate
through and respond to any attack on U.S. space architecture.

Creedon stated that the U.S.
approach to space deterrence aims to balance the desire to preserve space as a
peaceful global commons with the need to ensure that U.S. space assets can
overcome any disruption. She emphasized the need to dissuade attacks on U.S.
satellites by varied means. The United
States will regard any attack on a space-based asset as an attack on its
physical territory.

Creedon highlighted efforts
to internationalize norms and build coalitions, supporting efforts to do so in
the Group of Governmental Experts that recently reached consensus on the need
for transparency and confidence-building measures in space. She noted in particular Russia’s leadership
in the GGE effort, and China’s acceptance, in principle, of an international
code of conduct for responsible space-faring nations. She also supported
efforts by the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of
Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) to develop norms for space-faring

Creedon argued that
partnerships in space enhance deterrence. Two specific examples she offered
were the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) communication and Polar Communication and
Weather (PCW) meteorological satellite constellations.

Creedon commended the
Stimson Center for conceptualizing and taking the lead in pursuing an
international code of conduct for responsible space-faring nations.

To read Ms. Creedon’s remarks, click here.


Madelyn Creedon was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs on August 2, 2011.
In this capacity she supports the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in
overseeing policy development and execution in the areas of countering Weapons
of Mass Destruction, U.S. nuclear forces and missile defense, and DOD cyber
security and space issues.
Prior to her confirmation, Creedon was counsel for the Democratic staff on the
Senate Committee on Armed Services and was responsible for the Subcommittee on
Strategic Forces as well as threat reduction and nuclear nonproliferation
In 2000, she left the Armed Services Committee to become the Deputy
Administrator for Defense Programs at the National Nuclear Security
Administration, Department of Energy (DOE), and returned to the Committee in
January 2001. 

Creedon is a graduate of St. Louis University School of Law, where she was
captain of the moot court team. Her undergraduate degree is in political
science from the University of Evansville, Evansville,

For more information please contact Julia Thompson
at [email protected]


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