Jeremy Grunert’s book, “The United States Space Force and the Future of American Space Policy” is one of the first of its kind to discuss both the legal and policy considerations associated with the U.S. having a Space Force. It is a concise, informative work of legal and strategic scholarship.
Also, Grunert’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the U.S.’s future relationship with outer space. It assesses the rapid growth associated with the sociopolitical and socioeconomic endeavors allied with the commercial and scientific endeavors in outer space.
US Space Force Operations Are Currently Governed by Various Legal Documents
The book begins by explaining the legal foundation upon which the U.S. Space Force will operate. Currently, that foundation involves myriad treaties, United Nations Resolutions according to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, international regulations and “soft law.” All of this legislation emphasizes that outer space should be used for peaceful purposes only, as espoused by the Outer Space Treaty.
US Space Policy Has Evolved Over the Years
Grunert then delves into space policy from President Eisenhower to President Biden. Originally, this space policy was centered around attempts to win “a military and ideological race with the Soviets” during World War II and the Cold War.
Now, the U.S. is focused on streamlining resolutions on the commercial use of outer space and endeavoring to establish accountable behavior in outer space. In addition, the U.S. is emphasizing its peace-minded power against other nations trying to utilize outer space as a “warfighting domain.”
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The Purpose and Function of the Space Force
After that, Grunert presents a useful survey of the purpose and function of the U.S. Space Force. This chapter teaches readers about the basis for the Space Force, which is to primarily:
- Protect the U.S.’s interest in space and its “unfettered” use of outer space
- Deter aggression
- Integrate space capacity amongst all “United States Combatant Commands”
- Protect the peaceful use of space for “all responsible space actors”
I found that Chapter 5 was most interesting because it posed some very thought-provoking food for thought: “Is America destined for a significant conflict in outer space? Or will the creation of the Space Force create, in addition to aggressively protecting U.S. national security in outer space, more transparency “responsible behavior” in outer space and international cooperation between and amongst U.S. allies and partners?”
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Grunert’s Book Is an Excellent Resource for Readers Interested in Space Law, Space Policy or the Space Force
Grunert ends the book with the idea that the U.S. Space Force does and will have a significant impact on outer space security, use, access, and behavior. However, if current U.S. leaders and future leaders stabilize political tensions with other countries, the creation of the Space Force may help establish an aspirational framework based on “cooperation, international partnership and international law enshrined in the Outer Space Treaty.”
This book is an essential part of the toolkit of professionals in the fields of space law and space policy. It can be used as a textbook in introducing courses about space law and policy or as a “go to” source for anyone interested in the U.S. Space Force.
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