"End of the Continental Century"
(See R. Fry, pp. 40-43, March 1999 Proceedings )
James H. Hughes—Brigadier Fry's article contains many insights into military strategy, but misses our future for the 21st century. We will fight the wars of the future increasingly in space, whether using ballistic missiles that travel through space; satellites for communication, navigation, and observation; or men in space. We need to recognize the application of military and naval strategy for space and go beyond thinking of space as simply a medium for warfare.
The Navy proudly has taken initiative in space with the Navy Theater Wide (Navy Upper Tier) and Navy Area Wide (Navy Lower Tier) modifications to its successful Aegis system, extending the capability of Aegis into space for ballistic missile defense. But we lack a strategy for using space for defense, whether deploying ballistic-missile defenses such as interceptors or high-energy lasers in space, or relying on interceptors carried by ships.
When China is building a high-energy laser to attack our satellites in space and planning for manned spaceflight to extend its warfighting dominance, we need to recognize the growing importance of space for defense and the desirability of controlling space, just as Mahan argued for control of the seas.
Whether we use space for fielding defenses against ballistic missiles or precision kinetic-energy weapons going from space to ground as Kenneth Roy advocated in a recent article ("Ship Killers from Low Earth Orbit," pp. 40-43, October 1997 Proceedings ), we need a strategy for space. Naval strategy can help fill that vacuum.