Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'll be taking an 'unpaid leave of absence' from my job at the Global Network from December 15-March 15, 2020 in order to help my friend Lisa Savage on her campaign for the US Senate in Maine. She's running as a Maine Green Independent Party member and needs to gather 2,000 petition signatures of registered Greens during that period. I'll be back to GN after March 15.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

OPERATIONALLY RESPONSIVE SPACE


NASA and Pentagon militarizing space for Space Warriors: ORS-1 is the Operationally Responsive Space Office’s first operational satellite. Rapidly developing and fielding ORS-1 is an important step to demonstrate the capability to meet emerging and persistent war-fighter needs on operationally relevant timelines.


NASA has announced a launch window of June 28-July 10 at their Wallops Flight Facility (Goddard Space Flight Center, Virginia) for the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS-1) first surveillance and reconnaissance satellite.

I'd call this new space warfare system - full spectrum dominance plus 2.

Goodrich ISR Systems of Danbury, Conn., was tapped as the satellite’s prime contractor. The U.S. Air Force’s Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., is managing the program on behalf of the Pentagon's ORS Office.

One idea behind ORS appears to be speeding up the process of building and launching new warfighting satellites. The Kirtland AFB website says, "ORS-1's genesis began in October 2008 following a dialogue between U.S. Strategic Command and USCENTCOM. The latter identified a requirement for enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and requested assistance from the former. Then, USSTRATCOM turned to the ORS office to examine possible solutions. ORS-1 became the agreed upon answer. In the 30 months since its initiation, the satellite has gone from the drawing board to almost ready for launch, a remarkable milestone considering most spacecraft take 7 - 10 years to design, develop, assemble, and eventually operate in the cosmos. ORS-1 has, so far, lived up to its spelled-out name."

The Air & Space Power Journal (2006) gives us more clues to the thinking behind ORS. It's more of the same old control and domination lingo. They report:

In future conflicts, military space forces will likely face challenges ranging from defending against opposing systems to dealing with rapidly changing technology and support needs. The Air Force describes its vision for responding to these challenges as operationally responsive space (ORS). Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom clearly demonstrated the force-multiplication effect of space systems on US military capabilities. Precision-guided munitions; global, high‑speed communications; and enhanced situational awareness all contributed to the rapid destruction of the Iraqi military. Unfortunately, future opponents observed the United States’ dependence on space systems. To win the next war, this nation must prepare to respond to opposing space and counterspace systems. Gen Lance Lord, USAF, retired, former commander of Air Force Space Command, points to ORS as one way of shaping this response. According to a draft study of ORS, it “will provide an affordable capability to promptly, accurately, and decisively position and operate national and military assets in and through space and near space. ORS will be fully integrated and interoperable with current and future architectures and provide space services and effects to war fighters and other users. ORS is a vision for transforming future space and near space operations, integration, and acquisition, all at a lower cost.”

The price tag for this one satellite grew from $68 million to $162 million before all was said and done. (That doesn't include the cost of launching which doesn't come cheap.)

Democrats and Republicans alike love all this high-tech war making investment. It's virtually the only thing America does anymore. Democrats talk about supporting social programs but then keep voting along with the other war party to keep the military production lines humming along. One leading Democrat, a huge space technology booster, was at the dedication ceremony for ORS-1. “This is indeed a happy occasion for our U.S. military, which will be safer because of this program,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said. “It is a happy day for the scientific community, which has shown a new concept of faster, quicker, cheaper can be done. And it’s also a happy day for the taxpayer."

Yeah, the taxpayers are just thrilled. The truth is they know nothing about ORS-1 or its mission of enabling endless war. They know nothing about the cost of the program - either for this satellite or for those that will come after it.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn (former chief at Raytheon) is a big promoter of ORS. Needless to say, Raytheon is hugely invested in the new program and stands to make a mint from it.

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