High Ground or High Fantasy: Defense Utility of Cislunar Space

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In 2020, the U.S. State Department and NASA launched the Artemis Accords, a set of principles designed to guide civil space exploration and use of the Moon, cislunar space, and other celestial bodies. This heightened interest in the Moon has triggered debates about the military utility of the celestial body and the area around it. The following two essays offer contrasting views on the military importance of the Moon and cislunar space. One view argues the U.S. Space Force should incorporate the Moon into its doctrinal and operational thinking. The opposing view recommends that Space Force avoid letting the Moon and cislunar space distract the service from threats and risks posed by other states to spacecraft in Earth’s orbit.

Authors: Namrata Goswami, Bleddyn Bowen, and Sam Wilson

This paper is part of a new series the Center for Space Policy and Strategy is publishing called “The Debate Series.” Each of these papers includes two essays written by analysts and pundits external to The Aerospace Corporation that hold different positions from one another. After having written their essay, the external authors had the opportunity to review the opposing essay and offer a rebuttal. Although these essays do not necessarily reflect views of the Center for Space Policy and Strategy, the Center is publishing these essays to clarify debates on national security space issues and to try to make them accessible to a broader audience.