Recently SpaceNews posted an article on their website that was entitled: For Air Force Space Planners Diversity is its own Deterrent. (See below)
It was based on the short clip from the Washington Space Business Roundtable discussion on DoD’s Pivot to Commercial SATCOM that occurred a few weeks back. Two Air Force representatives were on the panel: Joe Vanderpoorten, an engineer and acquisitions professional from Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), and Mr. Winston Beauchamp, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force (Space) and the Director of the Principal DoD Space Advisor Staff-the man who runs the Air Force’s space policy shop and the staff that manages the Defense Space Council.
Unless it was said in other parts of the conversation not shown in the video, neither of those two Air Force space representatives said that “diversity is its own deterrent” The closest thing in the video was from Mr. Beauchamp when he stated something to the effect that “diversity enables resiliency”. Which can be a true statement.
Resiliency however, is not a deterrent, it is a means of survivability just as the concept of disaggregation is a means of survivability of mission, not a deterrent. Adding more targets for an adversary by using numerous commercial spacecraft, hosted payloads on commercial and civil spacecraft, and military satellites does not make them “protected” and does not provide a deterrent. If an adversary desires to make a negative impact on American and allied space capabilities, they will do so. Does it make things more challenging than relying on four satellites, yes. SATCOM is vital, but not the only system that needs “protection”.
The discussion appeared to focus more on acquisition and innovation than deterrence, strategy or policy. Mr. Beauchamp did mention the need for policy to catch up and that is what his office and others in OSD are working towards, but there needs to be an understanding of what is meant by a “deterrent”.
One of my recent articles in The Space Review gives a background on why our current “space deterrence concept” in the National Security Space Strategy is not deterrence. Enjoy.