Bowen, Bleddyn

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
Space Warfare and Spacepower Theory: The Continuation of Terran Politics by Other Means
Research Supervisor:
Dr Alistair Shepherd and Dr Kristan Stoddart
Supervising school:
Department of International Politics,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Satellites and space systems have become integral to humanity’s modern way of life. Without satellites, modern practices of international finance, logistics, weather forecasting, emergency response, and infrastructural management would fall apart. It is no less true of how the most advanced states in the world engage in warfare and their top-level planning. In fact, the Space Age came about primarily as a result of the military necessities and advantages of developing missiles for nuclear weapons delivery and reconnaissance satellites. Space capabilities have proliferated across the world, and are becoming potentially lucrative targets in war planning involving modernised and industrialised states and economies, and not just among the nuclear powers. ‘Space warfare’ is something that is being anticipated among strategic actors across Earth. But what is space warfare? What’s it all about? Can Earth-bound theories and experiences help us approach the alien environment of Earth orbit? My thesis answers these questions through an engagement of classical strategic theory and philosophies of war in order to think critically about how humanity uses outer space for strategic functions, and how to deny those functions to perceived adversaries.