Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer
The United States Requirements for an Antisatellite
This article examines the United States policy towards acquiring
anti-satellite weapons. It seeks to examine why the United States
deemed it necessary to develop antisatellite weapons and indeed
poses the question is the United States nearer to acquiring
an ASAT now. Initially it analyses the philosophy which believed
that ASAT weapons had a destabilising effect on the United States'
relationship with the Soviet Union. The article then addresses
the successive administration's policies towards ASAT weapons
and discusses the technological systems. Towards the latter
period of the Cold War in the late 1970s ASAT arms control measures
began to be debated. It is beyond the scope of the article to
address all of the ASAT negotiations, so the focus of this section
is on the period when ASAT limitations were at their closest.
With the end of the Cold War the ASAT issue has not gone away,
indeed the issue has risen to the fore, especially in the light
of the US policy which seeks to control space. The final section
addresses the US approach to this. This is the salience for
ASAT discussions to date, in that appears that the development
of a space control policy is driving the requirement for an
ASAT capability and such a capability could be closer now than
at any time before.