Excerpt from SPACECAST 2020 (US Air Force Air University, 1994)
"... to envision to possibilities, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to exploit the space high ground in pursuit of national security objectives..."
Counterforce operations are those space or transatmospheric activities aimed at opposing or defending against threatening force anywhere on the planet or in space ....
Recent years have witnessed an expansion of research and discovery of objects from space that potentially may strike the Earth. New and more refined observation techniques shed additional data on the size, nature, and orbit [sic] of these objects. These objects vary in size from 10 feet to 6-10 miles. It is postulated that 65 million years ago the age of the dinosaurs was brought to an end by the impact of an asteroid that measured upwards of 12 miles in diameter. Collisions with objects larger than a few hundred meters in diameter could threaten global civilization and as such the means to mitigate them are worth considering. To have the vision and ability to prepare to defend the planet from natural danger and not to do so may be viewed as irresponsible by our own citizens.
Preparing for Planetary Defense: Detection and Interception of Asteroids on Collision Course With Earth develops its theme by initially defining the threat and discussing the surveillance of potential impactors and their orbits. It then examines ways to counter the threat through various mitigation techniques. Finally, it discusses the benefits of a Department of Defense role in an international effort and provides some specific recommendations. Although not a traditional "enemy," the asteroids are nonetheless a threat that the DoD should evaluate and prepare to defend against. The role of the military has traditionally been to operate in and expand the frontier of space. This role will remain constant as humankind stretches to new frontiers. Provisions for defense of the planet, as far away from the planet as possible, need to begin.