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Space Security and Offensive and Defensive Counterspace Capabilities

The following is a baseline working definition of counterspace: 

Counterspace is a mission, like counterair, that integrates offensive and defensive operations to attain and maintain the desired control and protection in and through space.   These operations may be conducted across the tactical, operational, and strategic levels in all domains (air, space, land, maritime, and cyberspace), and are dependent on robust space situational awareness (SSA)and timely command and control (C2). Counterspace operations include both offensive counterspace (OCS) and defensive counterspace (DCS) operations.” (1)

According to th 2022 DIA Challenges to Security in Space report, “Space is being increasingly militarized. Some nations have developed, tested, and deployed various satellites and some counterspace weapons…As China’s and Russia’s space and counterspace capabilities increase, both nations are integrating space scenarios into their military exercises…the expansion of Chinese and Russian space and counterspace weapons combined with the general rise of other foreign space capabilities is driving many nations to formalize their space policies to better position themselves to secure the space domain and facilitate their own space services.”

The inaugural 2019 DIA report was released to “support a deeper public understanding of key space and counterspace issues and inform open dialogue and partner engagement on these challenges.”  A sophisticated report on the issues of Space Security and Counterspace offensive and defensive capabilities has been released this month:  the Fifth Annual Space Threat Assessment 2022 from the Center for Strategic and International Studies  – which expands on the foundational thinking provided by the 2019 and 2022 DIA reports.

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.