"THE MILITARIZATION OF SPACE" by Richard L. Garwin IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center P.O. Box 218 Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 (914) 945-2555 (also Adjunct Professor of Physics Columbia University) Presented in Washington at Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings on Militarization of Space September 20, 1982 264:MOS 092082.MOS 09/20/82 I am Richard Garwin. I'm speaking for myself alone at the invitation of the Committee but from a background of thirty-two years of involvement in defense and intelligence matters as a consultant to the United States government. I agree with, one hundred percent of Ambassador Buchheim's presentation and 90-95% of the statement by Drs. Rostow and DeLauer. But I think my differences from them are significant. In global summary I agree that we are at an important juncture as to whether space will be used for war or whether war on earth will start in space; but the evidence is not in the magnitude of the budget nor in the formal plans, but in the urgings and expectations of individuals or groups. First, I personally support the military use of space for military support activities. My involvement began in 1958 when I was a member of the US delegation to the Surprise Attack Conference in Geneva, for which I helped to devise communications satellites specialized for the enforcement of any possible treaty, deployment verification, prevention of surprise attack, and so on. All of these activities would be dubbed "military space," although they do not involve the deployment of arms in space, the attack on weapons, or anything like that. So that's why I say that it is not the overall military space budget which has anything to do with the arms race in space. By now there are great civilian benefits from space-- from communication satellites, weather satellites, navigation satellites (such as Transit, which has been operational probably for twenty years) some land observation satellites, and the conduct of important scientific investigations in space. We have mature military satellites (COMSATs, weather satellites, reconnaissance satellites for treaty verification and for intelligence gathering); and the Soviet Union of course has a full complex of these as well, including some which we do not appear to have-- for instance, the radar ocean reconnaissance satellite series (one of which fell in Canada some years ago). In the future, military (or so-called military) satellites will include the Navstar global positioning system with its 30-foot accuracy in 3 dimensions anywhere in the world, which will contribute to our capability to bomb, the ability to launch missiles with high accuracy, but at the same time to low-cost navigation of ships, aircraft, and even perhaps to the surveillance cooperative surveillance of aircraft for air traffic control. That (Navstar) system, as has been announced by the Administration, will carry the Integrated Operational Nuclear Detection System, which will help in fighting nuclear wars by determining the location of both our nuclear weapon explosions and those of any other country. That will provide a feedback which will allow fewer nuclear weapons to exert the same amount of damage. In the future we will have durable, decoyed, duplicate communication satellites for survivable command and control communications; and Dr. DeLauer mentioned the MILLSTAR system which will be the primary high-performance military communication satellite system for all purposes in the future. I feel in general that space should be used economically, both for civilian and for military purposes; if it is better and cheaper to do something via space then that's how it ought to be done. And parenthetically the shuttle is not in this line of economic use; it costs more in the early years and will probably cost more so far as I can see for a long time than expendable boosters. But it is a national decision and we'll be using the shuttle to the degree that it can be used in competition with foreign-provided expendable launch. Now what are the threats in space? Well, going back to ancient history in the 1960s, the United States had operational an anti-satellite system which figured in the annual reports of Secretary of Defense McNamara. We had two systems in fact, one of which was based on Johnson Island (I believe was some Jupiter missiles with nuclear warheads). Any minimal ABM system can be used as an anti-satellite system. And we have considered, at times, using what remains of the Safeguard system for ABM purposes. The Soviet Union for many years has tested (with not very good reliability indicated in the press) an orbital intercepter mounted on a large ICBM-like missile which goes into orbit and attacks, thus far, only Soviet test satellites, but presumably that system (believed by many to be operational) will not in its actual operation destroy Soviet satellites. For the future one can imagine ground-based lasers for damaging satellites; or could have space-based lasers; or space mines can be placed in orbit next to particularly valuable satellites and detonated by remote control-- the space mines would follow the space battle stations around just as Soviet intelligence-gathering ships follow our naval task forces. Once again, many of the US satellites most important for SALT verification (in that role) have no real utility in the actual conduct of war, so it is not at all clear that they would be high priority targets at the outbreak of war. I agree with Ambassador Buchheim that in looking toward policy determination we ought to consider alternative worlds and ask what are the possibilities? What would be the likely results? I, for one, in a homely example, would rather drive around in civilian autos and rely on specialized defense forces to keep the enemy away than to have everyone drive all the time in armored tanks which have less space, less performance, higher cost, require vastly different roads, use more fuel, and so on. And the same thing is true of space. I believe that we can, for a long time, have satellites which are very fragile, which do their job in the best way possible at the lowest cost, without hardening them very much to allow them to participate in a war in space. At least that's what I prefer. So we have to look ahead and judge the outcome of different courses of action. We have to decide whether we will emphasize our ability to destroy and protect satellites in space or whether we should emphasize programs which would allow us and other nations (and international organizations as well) to benefit from space. I emphasize that space wars are not an alternative to war on earth. In my view they are a prelude to war on earth. And some of my friends who suggest that space would be a dandy location for war because the United States has much better capability, higher technology than the Soviet Union, I think miss this point; that war in space will not be decoupled from war on earth. We cannot have it both ways. We can't derive the maximum civil and military benefits from space and at the same time deny the Soviet Union the ability to attempt to derive those same benefits including observing the locations of our ships and so on. But there are analogous questions on earth. If someone looks into the window of your house or office and you would prefer that they didn't, you are allowed to pull the shades, but not to blind him or her. Ambassador Buchheim indicated that there are ways of hiding your activities and those are perfectly legal except under certain circumstances where a specific obligation is undertaken not to hide those activities (as in the case of the ABM treaty and the SALT I limited offensive agreement). One can also minimize the temptation which would be felt by the Soviet Union to destroy our military space assets which would be supporting even theater non-nuclear war. We can reduce this temptation by providing low-investment, high-expenditure theater backups. Not more satellites to be launched-- which would provide capability worldwide-- but short duration rockets, balloons, aircraft, ground-based systems which would use the same signal format in many cases as the satellite system and which would fully-- in fact more capably-- provide the same information or capability in the theater, so there would be no benefit to the Soviet Union for destruction of those satellites. There's a cost imputed to us for having these backups. Now one can have cooperative measures and I will come to some-- most importantly a treaty. There are some other things which can be done. For instance, if one believes that high-energy lasers are a possible threat to the survival of space assets, one could arrange the development of high energy lasers to be done jointly (or at least openly) between the Soviet Union and the United States. To further deter Soviet attacks on our satellites, I believe we should develop (but not test in space) the direct ascent F-15 aircraft-based anti-satellite weapon. This is a satellite killer; it's not a killer satellite simply because it doesn't go into orbit. It goes up and comes down intercepting its quarry on a direct flight. To demonstrate the futility of deployment by the Soviet Union of large and costly weapon platforms such as space based lasers or the like, the US should explore (but not test in space) space mines-- small, cheap, slowly maneuverable, satellites carrying small, conventional shotgun-like warheads which can be fired by secure and unjammable command. These would of course, if deployed, violate any anti-satellite treaty that we would want to negotiate. And we would, therefore, neither deploy nor test them. But most importantly we should immediately enter negotiations with the Soviet Union toward an early achievement of a treaty banning the destruction or damaging of satellites or the emplacement of weapons in space. The Soviet draft treaty of August 1981 banning weapons in space seems a suitable beginning. It bans deployment or test or any weapons in space. The response to an imperfect draft is to re-draft; I think that we should provide (if not from the government, at least from independent circles) a draft in treaty language, so that this process can proceed. The negotiations should consider the interest of all nations so that the resulting treaty could be thrown open to accession by other states. I think a problem was indicated by the previous witnesses in the difficulty of arriving at a policy without knowing what the technical future holds. Or in knowing what the technical future holds without having defense programs or exploratory programs which are directed by a policy which itself doesn't exist. The solution to this is to be less directive. Years ago I joined with others (Alton Frye, in particular) in urging an Institute of the Congress which would (presented with such questions which require answers at a certain time) independently, in language which can be of use to the Congress for legislation or treaties, provide not a single product but alternative products. So I leave you with that. We are on the verge of war in space not because of the billions of dollars of investment in communication satellites or navigation satellites or reconnaissance or military support activities but because the Soviet Union has tested and we have in the past deployed anti-satellite weapons; because we see the prospect for destroying their space assets and worry that they will destroy ours; and because we are not taking sufficiently seriously the prospect of limiting that threat by negotiation and treaty while at the same time protecting our national security by having deterrence against the violation of a treaty which might be negotiated between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thank you. QUESTIONS VOICE: ...5 lines of text)-- RLG: I am located principally at the IBM Research Center. However, I'm speaking for myself and not for any other people. VOICE: ...(5 lines of text)-- RLG: Anybody else in the world who tries to do business or live a life, they don't want war. And they certainly don't want the communications satellites or the broadcasting satellites or the navigation satellites interfered with or destroyed. So I have no doubt that anybody involved in the peaceful exploitation of space has those views. VOICE: ...(8 lines of text)-- RLG: I believe we are at the beginning of a major arms race. It's not that the Pentagon wants it that way or plans it that way, but the Administration (and the Congress, I must say) don't have the courage or the competence to resist the technological fantasies which are pushed by many in the public and in the Congress itself. And so when the Pentagon comes in with a measured response-- a study of space-based laser prospects-- they are chastised by important members of the Congress for not having done their job, not being sufficiently aggressive and not spending enough money to protect the national security. In a political system like ours, one can fight such actions only so long and then the better part of valor is to spend the money even if it is regarded as useless simply because there are supporters out there who want it. Now I remind you in 1974 of an excess of candor by that great Secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, who came in and asked for $5 billion more; he explained in his candor that he didn't really need it. He wouldn't be there asking for $5 billion for the Defense budget if there weren't a need for that amount of fiscal stimulus to the economy, and the Defense Department was the only organization which had that kind of contingency planning (essentially by edict of OMB the others are not allowed to have it). So defense spending is not entirely oriented toward national security. I think the Pentagon wishes it were and many of the rest of us wish it were. But many of us believe that jobs for our districts or (if one could be pardoned for mentioning it), reelection prospects, are as important in the short term as national security. So that's why I believe we are at the beginning of an arms race and the Soviet Union cannot stand idle when they see the arguments here nor we when we see some publicity from them. But I should turn this over to my colleagues. VOICE: **Long interruption** VOICE: **Long response** VOICE: ...(6 lines of text)-- VOICE: **long response** RLG: I think Dr. Steinbruner has explained what's going on in the normal academic community. At IBM I have to confess it's just I alone. I published a paper in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in May 1981, titled "Weapons in Space" where I gave most of these same views. Now, verification is always somewhat of a problem, but not so much in my opinion, as has been imagined. The techniques of verification which are suitable for counting the numbers of fixed large ICBMs are not really those that would be used for verifying the that a country is in fact fulfilling its undertaking in regard to an ASAT activity. The kind of verification that would be required is perhaps an on-challenge explanation of the utility or some features of things that have been launched into space. Unilateral capability in some cases for inspecting space objects, because it is very difficult to hide through thick shielding and so on the interior of space objects. So if we were very much interested in protecting our own space resources we could in good time develop a capability for inspecting what has been deployed in orbit by others (or we could not). That's an option we would decide as to whether it was worth the cost. few words lost in change of tape). we do not have to have the ultimate in order to have the early agreement. The undertaking though should be firm and the verification capabilities (if not what is written into the treaty) will expand as each side finds it in its interest to have more ability to verify. VOICE: Thank you very much. **Long interruption** RLG: Well, I have looked at what is required to defend satellites against intercepters and I think that the advantage is all on the side of the person who wants to destroy satellites. VOICE: **Short interjection** RLG: wants to destroy satellites. So when you express your willingness to fight a war in space, and by attacking Soviet assets in space gain leverage in some other theater, you have to confess that your own space assets are going to be destroyed as well. You may end up winning the war in space, but there will be very little left in space to fight for. "Winning" would have to be defined as when we send up an intercepter they cannot destroy it as easily as we can destroy theirs. But all of the productive satellites, military or civilian, are much more readily destroyed than these single-day-lifetime anti-satellite weapons. So I disagree totally that we would have an exploitable advantage in military activities (that is the actual use of weapons in space). We do have a very great advantage (which I want to preserve) in the use of space to support military activities, just as we have an advantage at present in the civilian exploitation of space. Several VOICES off and on: **Long interruption** CLOSE of meeting.