A Military Strategy for the New Space Environment

William J. Lynn, III
Content Type
Journal Article
The Washington Quarterly
Issue Number
Publication Date
Summer 2011
Center for Strategic and International Studies
As disaster struck Japan and revolution swept the Middle East, Americans once again watched events unfold in real time, through a network of satellites in space that have revolutionized the dissemination of information and changed how we live. For decades, we have taken this network, and the operational environment of space which supports it, for granted. But quietly, almost imperceptibly, revolutions of a less visible kind have been unfolding above us in space itself. Over the Middle East, censorship imposed by autocratic states has for the first time extended into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. The satellite-based telecommunications services of Thuraya—a regional satellite phone provider—have been disrupted, and the satellite broadcasts of Al Jazeera, the Voice of America, and the BBC rendered unintelligible. Libya and Iran are the primary offenders, but even less technologically developed countries such as Ethiopia have employed jamming technologies for political purposes.
Political Geography
America, Middle East