Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and a China watcher, finds the Washington space policy-making apparatus deeply fractured along military, civilian and commercial lines and paralyzed by too many agency-centric studies. While Beijing is not engaged in a Cold War space race, the U.S. must consider China’s ambitions in the field as it forges a new global strategic path, she told the forum.
“Leaders look to the future. If we are seen as ceding leadership [in space] to other countries, it will have larger strategic implications,” cautioned Johnson-Freese, who pointed to a formulation of larger U.S. strategic interests as offering the “biggest opportunity” for the space community to articulate its relevance as part of a larger national agenda.