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Resolved: The US government should militarize/weaponize space

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/11/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,356 times Debate No: 13348
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (4)




Good luck to my future opponent. And lets have a great debate!

Resolved: The US government should militarize/weaponize space

1. Mitigates War

Militarization of space gives the US dominance over all war scenarios and thus mitigates war. Mitigating war outweighs all other negative impacts.

2. US Hegemony

Militarizing space gives the US full hegemonic power over the global community. This ensures maximum protection of the US people.

My following speeches will elaborate.


I thank my opponent for this debate and will need the luck as this is my very first debate. I chose this debate because it seems very challenging and I apologize in advance if i cannot put up a good arguement. I am here to learn an would appreciate any advice for how I can become a better debater.

1. Mitigates War
Militarization of space does in some aspects mitigate war to an extent. Your arguement for militarizing space however is pointless, as space is already used for military purposes by the U.S. and has been for quite some time. I shall replace your "Militarization of space..." with "Weaponization of space.." to give a good arguement.
Weaponization of space may give dominance to war scenarios for the time being, but would not mitigate war. It would be percieved as threatening to other countries wether the weapons are offensive or defensive as there is no immediate threat from any rival power at this time. This percieved threat may then cause possible hostile countries to deploy anti-satellite weapons that could lead to a war in space or be used to harm commercial satellites. Which would be a negative impact on commercial satellites and people who rely on that techology.

2. U.S. Hegemony
The U.S. having more satellites in orbit and making more trips into space then any other country already gives us hedgemonic power in space over the global community. We probably also use more military assets in space for terrestrial military operations then any other country. This gives us enough hegemonic power already. Any more and it will result in negative effects on the U.S. people. It would cost alot of money to Weaponize space that the taxpayers should not have to pay for if there is no immediate threat. It could also produce anti satellite weapons to be deployed by other countries leading to the destruction of tax dollar sattelites and commercial ones, showing vulnerability in space, reducing our hegemonic power and creating threat to commercial and private orginizations that we want to expand in space to give us more hegemonic power.
Debate Round No. 1


1. Mitigates War

Con: weaponizing space will be perceived a a threat to other nations which would force them to act hostile towards the US.

-> This argument is non-unique, meaning it is already happening so it has no impact. The space arms race has already begun. Our only choice is to harden our space assets. Geopolitical competition for military advantages and natural events will destroy our space control

Boston Globe, 2K7 (October 3, Protecting our future in space, Nexis, )

"So, in looking forward, we need to figure out how to protect these space assets. And to do that, we must recognize that the space environment has changed dramatically since the Soviets launched a 2-foot-wide metal ball back in October 1957. First, space is now multinational. For decades, the United States and Soviet Union dominated space, but today more than 50 countries own satellites or a share in one, and nine countries have successfully launched satellites. People in nearly every corner of the globe now depend on the services satellites provide. Many developing countries are concerned that slots won't be available when they are ready to use one. Second, space is in danger of becoming weaponized. While space has long supported military forces through reconnaissance, navigation, and communication satellites, there currently are no weapons based in space. The Bush administration, however, has been pushing to develop weapons to deny other countries the use of space; these include space-based interceptors, which could be used to attack satellites. Meanwhile, China's successful test of an antisatellite weapon last January dramatically demonstrated that satellites are already at risk. Left unchecked, the fear that controlling space may afford a decisive military advantage threatens to trigger a space arms race."

--> Russia is on the brink of sending weapons to space. Now is key to sustain US hegemony

Mowthorpe 2k4 [Matthew, ‘The Militarization and Weaponization of Space', Lexington Books, p.g 176]

"Russian views of future war are expected to be global in their aspirations and they stress that control of space will be the decisive determinant in operations concerned with controlling sections of the earth.62 The characteristic of war is deemed to have altered. Large quantities of ground troops will no longer be employed. They will be replaced with substantial strikes delivered by remotely piloted precision-guided weapons. A country will be subjugated to precision strikes and will be a battlefield in war without flanks. The distinction of front versus rear will be replaced with that of targets and nontargets, in that there will be no clearly drawn battle lines. Conventional assets will be able to achieve strategic objectives. The Russians declared the Gulf War as the first of the technological operations. The ability of advanced nonnuclear technology to accomplish missions previously earmarked to nuclear forces means that these assets will achieve the objectives envisioned in a nuclear war.63 These aims will be achieved without the collateral damage and political considerations associated with nuclear weapons. The Russian military views outer space as a potential theater of military actions. The forms of operations that will be conducted in near-earth space will incorporate the following: operations to destroy strategic weapons in flight; operations to destroy or prevent deployment of enemy satellites; operations to defeat orbital and ground space groupings and to seize and hold strategically important spheres of the near-earth space; and strikes delivered from space."

My argument about mitigating war and hegemony is warranted by the following:

American space dominance makes war structurally impossible

Dolman, 5 – Professor of Comparative Military Studies at the US Air Force's School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (Everett C, "US Military Transformation and Weapons in Space," September 14, 2005,

Indeed, it is concern for the unanticipated arrival of technology X that initially motivates my own preference for a policy advocating immediate deployment of space weapons. So long as America is the state most likely to acquire a breakthrough technology in this area, my concern is limited to the problem of letting technology take us where it will. But what if an enemy of democratic liberalism should suddenly acquire the means to place quickly and cheaply multiple weapons into orbit? The advantages gained from controlling the high ground of space would accrue to it as surely as to any liberal state, and the concomitant loss of military power from the denial of space to our already-dependent military force could cause the immediate demise of the extant international system. The longer the US dithers on its responsibilities, the more likely a potential opponent could seize low-earth orbit before America could respond. And America would respond … finally. But would another state? If America were to weaponize space today, it is unlikely that any other state or group of states would find it rational to counter in kind. The entry cost to provide the infrastructure necessary is too high; hundreds of billions of dollars, at minimum. The years of investment it would take to achieve a minimal counter-force capability—essentially from scratch—would provide more than ample time for the US to entrench itself in space, and readily counter preliminary efforts to displace it. The tremendous effort in time and resources would be worse than wasted. Most states, if not all, would opt not to counter US deployments in kind. They might oppose US interests with asymmetric balancing, depending on how aggressively America uses its new power, but the likelihood of a hemorrhaging arms race in space should the US deploy weapons there—at least for the next few years—is extremely remote. This rationality does not dispute the fact that US deployment of weapons in outer space would represent the addition of a potent new military capacity, one that would assist in extending the current period of American hegemony well into the future. This would clearly be threatening, and America must expect severe condemnation and increased competition in peripheral areas. But such an outcome is less threatening than any other state doing so. Placement of weapons in space by the United States would be perceived correctly as an attempt at continuing American hegemony. Although there is obvious opposition to the current international balance of power, the status quo, there is also a sense that it is at least tolerable to the majority of states. A continuation of it is thus minimally acceptable, even to states working towards its demise. So long as the US does not employ its power arbitrarily, the situation would be bearable initially and grudgingly accepted over time. On the other hand, an attempt by any other state to dominate space would be part of an effort to break the land-sea-air dominance of the United States in preparation for a new international order, with the weaponizing state at the top. The action would be a challenge to the status quo, not a perpetuation of it. Such an event would be disconcerting to nations that accept the current international order Without sovereignty at risk, fear of a space dominant American military will subside. The US will maintain its position of hegemony as well as its security, and the world will not be threatened by the specter of a future American empire. Seizing the initiative and securing low-Earth orbit now, while the US is unchallenged in space, would do much to stabilize the international system and prevent an arms race in space."

Underview: thus expanding US weaponization of space it necessary to

A. Mitigate the space arms race with China and Russia
B. Make war close to impossible


"Militarization of space gives the US dominance over all war scenarios and thus mitigates war. Mitigating war outweighs all other negative impacts."
"Militarizing space gives the US full hegemonic power over the global community. This ensures maximum protection of the US people."

-> Both of your opening Round 1 statements are non-unique argument's then, by your definition. If anything they help my argument's stating that space is already militarized, and that the U.S. already has hegemonic power in space.

There is no need to go any further then militarizing space by weaponizing it. Russia knows this and so does China. Both of whom you claim we need to protect ourselves from. They have both pushed for an international agreement banning space weapons, but their proposals have been rejected by the United States. The only reason that China tested an anti-satellite weapon (launched from the ground not from in space) and that Russia is also building anti-satellite technology is because of the threat from the U.S. 1985 and 2007 anti-satellite tests. Sure, if your from America you would like to arm and control space, but if your from any other country in the world you would not want to constantly feel under threat for your life and your costly technology.
I see no problem with anti-satellite weapons from the U.S. or any other country. As long as they are stationed and launched from the ground in their territory. When you start putting weapons in space it doesn't make war impossible like you state. It makes more even more possible, because your deploying weapons!

"..expanding US weaponization of space is necessary to A. Mitigate the space arms race with China and Russia", and "B. Make war close to impossible
"American space dominance makes war structurally impossible"

The U.S. are the ones creating a space arms race with China and Russia! By doing this they are making a war in space possible. China and Russia already don't want a space arms race, the U.S. are the ones disagreeing. If the U.S. wants to make war impossible they would not weaponize space, and they would sign an international agreement with the rest of the world.
U.K., (The Independent 2009)

"Geopolitical competition for military advantages and natural events will destroy our space control."

Who is to say that the U.S. is to have control of space? You want your hegemonic status of power over the global community, you have it have it already and that's a luxury. Why not leave it at that. Russia and China will not send up weapons to space if the U.S. doesn't. If your worried about smaller hostile countries doing it then ban together, make an international agreement (like they tried to do already) and see to it that these countries do not succeed in doing it by means of ground, air, and sea defence. With the help of military and commercial satellite data of course.
Debate Round No. 2


1. Non-uniqueness

--> He tries to counter by saying the position I am defending is also non-unique. This is false on the fact that the resolution sates militarize and weaponize. True militarization is non-unique but space has yet to be weaponized. Therefore, my position is not non-unique.

2. China and Russia

--> He gives no warrant about pushing for international agreements. And even if they did both have already broken the agreements but testing their own space weaponry.

--> He then states that weaponizing space would actually create more war. He doesn't respond to the analysis i give in the last speech about mitigating war which states that once the US weaponizes space first, our competitors have no incentive to threaten us. This is true on a military and economic level. All the evidence is in the card about making war structurally impossible that I posted in the past speech.

--> Operationally Responsive Space development is key to our ability to check Russia, North Korea, Iran, India, and China – they're building they're own space systems, and we need to keep up to maintain military effectiveness

Doggrell 06 (Les, Senior Project Engineer with Aerospace Corporation, Air and Space Power Journal, Summer, 2006, Operationally Responsive Space "A Vision for the Future of Military Space")

IN FUTURE CONFLICTS, military space forces will likely face challenges ranging from defending against opposing systems to dealing with rapidly changing technology and support needs. The Air Force describes its vision for responding to these challenges as operationally responsive space (ORS). Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom clearly demonstrated the force-multiplication effect of space systems on US military capabilities. Precision-guided munitions; global, high-speed communications; and enhanced situational awareness all contributed to the rapid destruction of the Iraqi military (fig. 1).1 Unfortunately, future opponents observed the United States' dependence on space systems. To win the next war, this nation must prepare to respond to opposing space and counterspace systems. Gen Lance Lord, USAF, retired, former commander of Air Force Space Command, points to ORS as one way of shaping this response.2 According to a draft study of ORS, it "will provide an affordable capability to promptly, accurately, and decisively position and operate national and military assets in and through space and near space. ORS will be fully integrated and interoperable with current and future architectures and provide space services and effects to war fighters and other users. ORS is a vision for transforming future space and near space operations, integration, and acquisition, all at a lower cost."3 During Iraqi Freedom, described as the first counterspace war, both sides executed counterspace missions. Iraq, for example, attempted to jam GPS signals using Russian- made equipment, and US forces destroyed an enemy ground-transmitting facility, disabling Iraq's ability to communicate with its forces and the outside world by using commercial satellite television.4 A more capable future opponent will find additional techniques for using space to counter the space capability of the United States. We can anticipate some responses to our space systems. Specifically, Russia, North Korea, Iran, India, and China may be capable of building a nuclear-armed antisatellite weapon system.5 Furthermore, "many countries are developing advanced satellites for remote sensing, communications, navigation, imagery, and missile warning," and Russia, China, and the European Union have developed or are developing satellite-navigation systems/

More warrants for the Pro position:

1. New threats such as terrorism, WMDs, and European counterbalancing necessitates U.S. space development

McLaughlin, 2002 (Kevin, National Defense Fellow at CSIS, MISSILE DEFENSES: NOW WHAT? Vol. 25, No. 3; Pg. 177, "Would Space-Based Defenses Improve Security?" The Washington Quarterly, Summer, lexis)

"The world is changing at an ever-increasing rate. The global war against both terrorism and WMD, the emergence of a consolidated European political entity, instability in the Middle East and in much of the Muslim world, and an uncertain global economy are just a few of the forces transforming the geopolitical landscape. Amid this backdrop, the Bush administration is poised to pursue little by little a missile defense program that will feature a role for space-based components. Even though space systems can clearly help satisfy missile defense mission requirements, fewer people agree that such a move will improve U.S. security. Yet, the radically new geopolitical framework, new threats to U.S. security, new concepts for deterrence, and the important role space can play in satisfying larger U.S. interests underpin my assessment that space systems used in support of the missile defense mission could improve U.S. national security."

2. Space Militarization is key to global US hegemony and international peace

Krepinevich 03 [Andrew F, director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. ‘The Unfinished Revolution in Military Affairs', Issues in Science and Technology,]

No state relies on space for its military and economic security more than the United States, a reliance that grows daily more precarious. The United States Air Force has been charged with protecting American and allied space assets in peace and in war, and, at the direction of civilian authority, denying access to space to adversaries in times of crisis and conflict. It is a stark reality of international politics that great power shapes the arena in which state interaction takes place, and yet the exercise of power should be neither capricious nor arbitrary. The United States should endeavor at once to establish military supremacy in space, as it has already done at sea and in the air, for the purpose of stabilizing peace and extending into the foreseeable future its ongoing period of liberal hegemony. No nation relies on space more than the United States—none is even close—and its reliance grows daily. A widespread loss of space capabilities would prove disastrous for American military security and civilian welfare.

3. Space tech is key to future combat effectiveness – it's the ultimate high ground
Harter 06 (Mark E., USAF Lt. Colonel, The Air and Space Power Jounral Summer 2006, "The Dawn of a Space Force"

Take the high ground, and hold it! —Sun Tzu, circa 500 BC Great military leaders realize the strategic, operational, and tactical advantages of controlling the high ground. From Sun Tzu's ancient Chinese warriors securing a hill, to US Civil War manned balloons, World War I aeroplane pioneers, World War II aviation heroes, and Cold War high-flying SR-71s and U-2s, the high ground provides the strategic advantages of security, situational awareness, reconnaissance, targeting, and offensive force to dominate the battlespace. The space medium is the ultimate high ground, with unparalleled speed, range, altitude, and stealth. High-ground space systems provide a conduit to channel instruments of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic) to coerce an enemy to capitulate. The twenty-first-century information age, the global information grid, information technology, and network-centric warfare all depend on real- time global collection and dissemination of information, often only possible from space systems. The informational and military instruments of national power are closely linked. Information operations, information warfare, and information-in-war likewise depend on robust space platforms and illustrate that "bullets win battles; information wins wars." Space systems are one of the main pipelines for network- centricity, po


1. Non-uniqueness

--> So in Round 2 my opponent claims my argument is non-unique. Meaning weaponizing space is already happening, so it has no impact. So in Round 3 I counter by saying, by that definition both your arguments are non-unique because space is surely already militarized if it is already weaponized in his definition. But then he counters that by saying his argument is not non-unique because space is not weaponized yet? I personally think I should win on that note.

2. China and Russia

--> Warrant from, (Russia, China Make New Push To Ban Arms in Space Over U.S. Objections
By Clare Nullis Associated Press posted: 02:50 pm ET 27 June 2002)

"GENEVA (AP) _ In a challenge to Bush administration plans for a missile defense shield, China and Russia on Thursday submitted a joint proposal to the Conference on Disarmament for a new international treaty to ban weapons in outer space _ a plan rejected by the United States.

``Outer space is faced with the danger of weaponization and an arms race,' said Chinese ambassador Hu Xiaodi, presenting the text to the 66-nation body.

It marked the first time Russia and China had made a joint initiative on the issue, which has long been a priority for Beijing because of its fears that U.S. development of a missile defense will inevitably involve outer space. "

--> I then went on to state a whole argument written in my own word not copied off a website because I thought it was self explanatory. Well here's one: (Should the United States "Weaponize" Space? Military and Commercial Implications by Charles V. Pe�a and Edward L. Hudgins, March 18, 2002)

"More to Lose Than to Gain
As important and potentially vulnerable as current U.S. space-based assets might be, deploying actual weapons (whether defensive or offensive) would likely be perceived as very threatening to the status quo. Because of this, any move to weaponize space would likely precipitate a response to counter such capability. And weapons in space would indeed be tempting targets for a preemptive attack by an adversary. To be sure, not deploying weapons in space is no guarantee that potentially hostile nations (such as China) will not develop and deploy ASATs. However, it is virtually certain that deploying U.S. weapons in space will lead to the development and deployment of ASATs
to counter such weapons. The United States should therefore not be the first to weaponize
space�€"either with defensive weapons or with offensive ASATs. But deploying defensive decoys�€"rather than weapons�€"would not inevitably lead to such an arms race. In the final analysis, any near-term moves toward weaponizing space are premature. If the U.S. government is concerned that some nations may find its military and commercial satellites tempting targets, then the United States ought to look first to its foreign policy and military posture as a factor in motivating those nations to take hostile actions toward the United States. According to Richard Betts at the Council on Foreign Relations, �€œAmerican activism to guarantee international stability is, paradoxically, the prime source of American vulnerability.�€�54 To the extent that the U.S. government is concerned that a potential enemy might try to knock out satellite provided military capability, such as GPS, it needs to also understand the consequences of such action to the attacker. If an adversary were to jam or destroy GPS satellites, it would deny such capability not only to the United States but also to itself (unless, of course, it was using the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System, or GLONASS). Furthermore, the United States can switch the encrypted military P-code back on if deemed necessary for national security reasons; it is presumably more jam resistant than the commercial C/A-code. Even in a worst-case scenario where U.S. forces might be denied GPS signals, our military personnel are sufficiently trained to be able to use a map and compass to navigate and determine their location."

--> Jonathan Pike of
Critics of such a policy shift are concerned that weaponizing space could trigger a dangerous arms race. They are quick to point out that no country currently has weapons in space and that a U.S. move to deploy weapons (either
offensive or defensive) would only provide unneeded impetus for other countries to follow
suit. Jonathan Pike of states, "It [weaponizing space] runs fundamentally against the main theme of our space policy for the last half century—to demonstrate America's power in space in a non threatening way."25 And
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Hays and Karl Mueller (both faculty at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies) argue that "it is no longer clear that the relationship between space and national security is, or should be, shaped primarily by international military competition."

3. Terrorists and Muslims. I really don't think your warrant is enough to convince me that's enough of a perceivable threat to weaponize space. They live in caves! It didn't really say anything other then terrorists and Muslims are a threat! I need facts. It even states that fewer people agree that it will increase U.S. security.

4. Space tech is key to future combat effectiveness.
--> That's the whole point, the U.S. wants to weaponize space for combat. And that's why I don't think the U.S. should weaponize space. I think they should continue to use military assets in space, and work with commercial companies to expand their assets even more. All anti-satellite stations should be kept on the earth aimed up at the sky, not the other way around.

We don't need to weaponize space. We don't need to have a war in space. Putting weapons in space is the first step.
Total domination in space by the U.S. may create U.S. hegemony for them. But this is a global issue, I am not from the U.S. and it is not in the majority of the worlds best interest for the U.S. to weaponize space. It's for their best interest. They need to show respect.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
CirK won this
Posted by PolDebat101 6 years ago
I cant vote because it ended already...but if i could heres how i voted.

1. Uq Debate
pro side wins that their case is unique because Militarization/Weaponization hasn't happened to the point in which it solves impacts...meaning...the status quo isnt trying to solve..however uq is not an affirmative voting issue if they win that alone lets look at the other issues

2. Mitigation
-Pro sides says Militarization is key to stop all these other countries from doing the same
-Neg says this would be what would start a war.
-Aff says non unique cuz other countries have already begun it. We need to improve ours to stop this.
I gave pro side risk of impact

3. Heg
-Neg is defending status quo, pro gives no reason/brink to why status quo now doesnt have heg
-I defer to Heg is in squo
Neg wins this flow..

My only choise is to vote Pro because they solve the first advantage better.

-Pro, give impact calc and say what happens in the world in which Russia/CHina/etc. take over space militarization . Say why heg is down in squo

-Con, Turn their heg argument. Say why heg is bad and say why it outweighs the other advantage. and say why theres no risk of first adv impact and give evidence.
Posted by Arya8 6 years ago
meh. I think that Pro was clearly winning, especially from a policy perspective. All con had was a case turn in the last speech (wowwwwwwww...) and a claim that the US needs to show respect, without a warrant. Hey Pro, mind if I adapt that for next year? :)
Posted by CiRrK 7 years ago
Really good debate dude. For a newcomer you were very good.
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