Volume 10 Issue 1 (Spring 2017)
Editor’s Note Vol. 10 No. 1
This issue of Space & Defense continues our effort to apply analytical tools from the field of political economy to emergent questions of defense policy. Many of the decision points relate to earth orbit as befits our heritage. Others expand the definition of space to include frontiers of conflict where new technology or novel actors present unresolved challenges for the United States and allied national security establishments.
We believe contributions for this issue on Russia’s space sector; a prospective asteroid mining enterprise; criminalized power structures in fragile states; hypersonic weapons development; and the physics of financial markets are diverse manifestations of a single ethos. What unites them is our educated hunch that national security competition in new spaces will involve mixed actors—states, international organizations, sub-state agencies, and non-state entities; mixed motives encompassing geopolitical rivalry and global public goods attained through cooperation; and mixed domains as competitors bring assets to bear across land, sea, air, space, and cyber.
Dealing with this complexity, many of our analyses in Space & Defense run across four geopolitical chessboards—trade, finance, global security, and science & technology—reflecting late British political economist Susan Strange’s four structures of power. Insightful contributions for our journal probe the multidimensional international security environment for patterns of political behavior that tie action and consequences across these chessboards. Doing so in coherent ways helps policy makers tackle problems of deterrence and international organization for the 21st century at the frontiers of defense policy. It also fulfills the charter of the U.S. Air force Academy’s Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies, which posits an inherent connection between strengthening intellectual foundations of the space policy community and fostering learning across communities—within the U.S. Government and beyond—interested in achieving a world more peaceful, prosperous, and just.
Our journal applauds several organizations within the U.S. Department of Defense that are acting upon a similar hunch about security challenges in new spaces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) among others are expanding their communities of interest (COI), initiating strategic multi-layer assessments (SMA), and in general finding creative ways to bridge the gap, a pernicious vacuum separating their policy responsibilities from historical scholarship and social science research.
Space & Defense, consistent with the goals of the Eisenhower Center, encourages participants in these burgeoning transnational communities of interest to try their hand at one or more of the important questions generated by these processes. This particular set of problems is growing as it becomes more refined, right at the nexus of policy-relevant scholarship.
Damon Coletta, USAFA