Through support of technological advancements that reduce
the cost of space access, like the Falcon 9 rocket (above),
NASA is also strengthening national security. (credit: J. Foust)

NASA is essential for national security

A world that benefits from space will strive to deter aggression and conflict in space

by Gary Oleson, Bob Silsby, and Darin Skelly
Monday, December 31, 2012

For the United States, maintaining a leadership role in space is an essential component of national security, providing the US and our allies “unprecedented advantages in national decision-making, military operations, and homeland security,” in the words of the National Security Space Strategy. National security in this sense includes US foreign relations and protection of broad national interests, in addition to national defense. NASA is essential for national security, not only because of its role in developing new space capabilities and technologies, but also because it is explicitly excluded from military activity by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. Simply stated, NASA is uniquely positioned to facilitate international collaboration on peaceful uses of space in ways the military cannot.

This essay explores the important roles of international cooperation, cost-reducing technology development and game-changing innovation, as well as NASA’s role supporting a strong commercial space industry. NASA can improve its national space security posture even during times of budget austerity.

Read more: The Space Review: NASA is essential for national security.

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