The United States Space Force and the Future of American Space Policy

Legal and Policy Implications


The creation of the U.S. Space Force triggered an outpouring of responses ranging from ridicule and derision, to applause and relief, to fear and concern. It also raised questions about the future of conflict in outer space. Through an exploration of the legal context of military space activities, the history of American military space policy, and Great Power space interactions during and after the Cold War, The United States Space Force and the Future of American Space Policy ultimately concludes that the U.S. Space Force is a natural outgrowth of American space policy, but is no more likely to threaten space security than previous activity in the space domain.

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Jeremy Grunert, Major (US Air Force), is an Assistant Professor of Law at the US Air Force Academy, where he teaches space law and other courses. He has published a number of law review and other articles on the subjects of space law and space security policy.



2Outer Space Law and the Concept of “Peaceful Purposes”
 1 Introduction

 2 Outer Space Law: The Legal and Treaty Regime
 2.1 The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and Declaration of Legal Principles

 2.2 The Outer Space Treaty: “Hard” Law for a New Domain

 3 “Peaceful Purposes” Under the Outer Space Treaty
 3.1 “Peaceful Purposes” as “Non-military” Use: A Fading, or Inapplicable, Interpretation?

 3.2 “Peaceful Purposes” as “Non-aggressive” Use: The US (and Modern) Approach

 4 Conclusions for United States’ Military Space Policy

3American Space Security Policy: US Space Policies & Military Involvement from President Eisenhower to President Biden
 1 Introduction

 2 The Early Years: Military Missile Development and Sputnik i 

 3 Official United States Outer Space Policy and Law
 3.1 President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953–1961)

 3.2 President John F. Kennedy (1961–1963) and President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969)

 3.3 President Richard Nixon (1969–1973) and President Gerald Ford (1973–1977)

 3.4 President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter (1977–1981)

 3.5 President Ronald Reagan (1981–1989) and President George H.W. Bush (1989–1993)

 3.6 President William J. “Bill” Clinton (1993–2001)

 3.7 President George W. Bush (2001–2009)

 3.8 President Barack Obama (2009–2017)

 3.9 President Donald Trump (2017–2021)

 3.10 President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (2021–Present)

 3.11 US Domestic Space Legislation in the Security Context: A Brief Note

 4 Conclusion

4The United States Space Force: Organization, Mission, and Legal Implications
 1 Introduction

 2 Space Policy Directive-4 and the 2020 ndaa : Creating the Space Force
 2.1 Space Policy Directive-4: Directing the Creation of the Space Force

 2.2  ndaa 2020: The Official Birth of the Space Force

 3 Making It So: The US Space Force’s Organization
 3.1 Personnel and Organization

 3.2 Basing

 4 Semper Supra: The US Space Force’s Doctrine

 5 Conclusion and Legal Implications

5Outer Space Policy and the “Security Dilemma”: Is America Destined for Space Conflict?
 1 Introduction

 2 The Security Dilemma in International Relations Theory

 3 American Space Security Policy and the International Community
 3.1 True Security Dilemma?

 3.2 Cold War Era American Space Security Policy
 3.2.1 International Anarchy

 3.2.2 Uncertainty, Fear, and Power Accumulation

 3.2.3 Conclusions Related to American Cold War Space Policy

 3.3 Post-cold War Era American Space Security Policy
 3.3.1 International Anarchy

 3.3.2 Fear, Uncertainty, and Power Accumulation

 3.3.3 Conclusions Related to Post-cold War American Space Policy

 4 Conclusion: The United States Space Force & the “Security Dilemma”

6Conclusion: The Future of American Space Policy and Legal Development in a Post- ussf  World
 1 Introduction

 2 Outer Space Law and the United States Space Force

 3 The Future of United States Space Security Policy

Appendix ATreaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies

Appendix BText of Space Policy Directive-4, “Establishment of the United States Space Force” (President Donald J. Trump, February 19, 2019)

Appendix CPublications Examining the Organization of Space Forces or the Creation of a Space-Oriented Military Service Branch (1994–2018)

Appendix DPortions of 2020 National Defense Authorization Act Pertaining to the Creation of the United States Space Force



Institutes, specialists, legal academics, and practitioners in field of space law, academic libraries, students in space law, international law, security studies, space policy, or similar disciplines
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