Economic interests in space continue to rise. In 2016 the global space economy represented $329 billion, and 76 percent of the total was produced through commercial efforts. With some of the most lucrative endeavors like asteroid mining, space tourism, micro satellites, and space colonies still in the early stages of development and application, it’s no wonder economic projections estimate the space sector will grow by $2.7 billion over the next three decades.
Nations’ militaries will continue to protect vital economic interests, and outer space will be no exception. But how will it happen? Will the United States see peer competitor militaries expand more aggressively into outer space? The answer lies in gray zone tactics and space militias.
The operational complexities of the space environment coupled with poorly defined international norms and laws will likely encourage U.S. adversaries to use gray zone tactics. Chinese maritime militias provide a likely model.
Maritime militias are merchant and commercial vessels that, when called upon, support roles similar to those found in law enforcement, disaster relief, and the military. Maritime militias are rather common around the world and often serve useful missions. There are also maritime militias, however, that do more than serve peacefully.
Read the full commentary in Space News.
More from CNAS
CommentaryA Divided Washington Is (Sort of) United on China
The two parties might be divided on almost everything else, but their legislative agendas for China have a lot in common....
By Jordan Schneider & Coby Goldberg
VideoJoshua Fitt Discusses U.S.-China Relations on i24 News
On November 8, 2020, Joshua Fitt, a Research Associate with the CNAS Asia-Pacific Security Program, appeared on i24 News to discuss the potential implications of the 2020 pres...
By Joshua Fitt
CommentaryHow Should the US Respond to China’s New Five-Year Plan?
China’s evolving strategy requires a fresh American policy response....
By Emily Jin & Coby Goldberg
CommentaryAssessing the Impact of Dialectical Materialism on Xi Jinping’s Strategic Thinking
Xi Jinping has made his views rather plain to Party members....
By Coby Goldberg