Category Archives: George C. Marshall Institute

An Investment Strategy for US National Security Space


In collaboration with my friend and George C. Marshall Institute boss Jeff Kueter, I authored a Special Report for the Heritage Foundation titled “An Investment Strategy for US National Security Space.”

Jeff and I wrote the report last summer, partly during when I was still working for the U.S. Air Force. For the purposes of full disclosure, when I was employed by the U.S. Air Force I wrote this report in my own spare time using my own private resources.

The report can be accessed for free, but I am posting the abstract here for those hard-pressed for time to wade through a 26 page document:

Today’s space systems fulfill five purposes: (1) environmental monitoring; (2) communications; (3) position, navigation, and timing; (4) integrated tactical warning and attack assessment; and (5) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. These missions are integral to a new American way of warfare. Direct and indirect challenges to American power in space are growing. Other nations are expanding their capabilities to interdict or deny U.S. access to space. Mounting fiscal pressures will likely necessitate changes in national “security space” force structures and acquisition approaches. This Special Report explores the implications of these challenges on U.S. national security space programs and policies. It sets the context for future decision making, providing insight into the myriad issues—from allied capability and intentions to extant arms control proposals—that will likely influence these decisions.The United States is approaching a critical juncture on its investments in national security space capabilities. This juncture is imminent due to the convergence of three forces: (1) a fundamental shift in U.S. defense and diplomatic strategy from the western to the eastern Eurasian landmass—the so-called pivot toward the Asia-Pacific; (2) a large number of the national security space capabilities upon which the United States and its allies critically rely are now legacy systems in need of upgrades and replacement; and (3) severe fiscal pressures on Department of Defense and intelligence community budgets. As the strategic context shifts, the military’s dependence on space systems becomes ever more acute. Since the 1990s, military use of space has grown exponentially, but new strategic demands, bolstered by the accumulating demands of technology, require development of entirely new national security space systems if the United States is to meet future national security challenges with plausible preparedness.

I welcome any comments on this report, and – of course – any other publications I post here.

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Filed under Arms Control, Asia-Pacific, Australia, Diplomacy, Emerging Space Powers, George C. Marshall Institute, Heritage Foundation, Israel, Japan, Jeff Kueter, NATO, Publications, School of Advanced Air & Space Studies, Shameless Self-Promotion, South Korea, Spacepower, U.S. National Security Space, United States, Vietnam

Taking North Korea’s Space Program Seriously


The George C. Marshall Institute and the revived website have published a short essay by me on the long-term implications of the recent North Korean satellite launch.

The main points:

  • North Korea’s satellites are becoming more advanced.
  • The North Korean space program has been around for a while, and is here to stay for quite some time to come.
  • The space program certainly began as a flimsy cover for Pyongyang’s ballistic missile program, but has now taken on a life of its own.
  • Nevertheless, the evolving North Korean space program will further drive the ballistic missile program.
  • Finally, North Korea has notched a propaganda victory over South Korea, who, despite its advances in every other sector, has failed to launch its own satellite despite nearly a half-billion dollars spent over the past ten years on its indigenous launch program.



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Filed under Ballistic Missiles, Emerging Space Powers, George C. Marshall Institute, Kwangmyongsong-3,, North Korea, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, South Korea, Spacepower

Sheldon speaks on Cyber, Deterrence

I shall be taking part in two events this week in Washington, DC – both hosted by the Marshall Institute.

The first event, “Examining the Role of Government in Private Sector Cyber Security,” shall be moderated by yours truly and will feature contributions from Dr. Lani Kass, just recently retired as senior adviser on cyberspace issues to Admiral Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Mr. Daniel Gallington, former DASD; and noted cyber security expert Dmitri Alperovitch. The event takes place on Tuesday, 15 November, 3pm-5pm at the Capitol Hill Club, 300 First Street, SE, Washington, DC, 20003.


The second event, “Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century,” is a roundtable featuring Dr. Bob Butterworth, Peter Marquez, Eric Sterner, and myself, where we shall all be talking about our respective chapters in the Marshall Institute publication Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century, published in August 2011. This event takes place on Wednesday, 16 November, 8am-11am, again at the Capitol Hill Club.

See you there!

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Filed under Conventional Deterrence, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Deterrence, Events, George C. Marshall Institute, Publications, Shameless Self-Promotion, Speaking Engagements

Sheldon on Deterrence: Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century

I have contributed an essay, “A Fatal Disconnect: Conventional Deterrence in a Nuclear-Armed World,” to an excellent edited volume produced by the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, DC, titled Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century.

Along with my modest contribution, there are outstanding essays by Bob Butterworth, “Nuclear Force Planning: Odin or Onan?”; Peter Marquez, “Space Deterrence: The Prêt-á-Porter Suit for the Naked Emperor;” and Eric Sterner, “Deterrence in Cyberspace: Yes, No, Maybe?”

We hope that they all contribute something useful to understanding the vitally important concept of deterrence.

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Filed under Conventional Deterrence, Cyberpower, Cyberspace, Cyberwar, Deterrence, George C. Marshall Institute, Nuclear Weapons, Shameless Self-Promotion, Spacepower, Strategic Theory, Strategy