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State Department defends national space policy
Posted: Thu, Dec 14, 2006, 7:55 AM ET (1255 GMT)
In the first public comments by a Bush Administration official since the release of the new national space policy two months ago, a State Department undersecretary said that the policy is not evidence that the US wants to weaponize space, but that the nation will do whatever is required to defend its space assets. Robert Joseph, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security at the State Department, said in a speech Wednesday that the policy is intended to emphasize the importance of space to US commercial and government interests, and that the US must therefore take seriously unspecified threats to them by both nations and "non-state actors". Joseph said that the policy did not mean that the US planned to put weapons in space, adding that the there is no evidence of an "arms race in space", but that the policy did not rule that step out, and that there was no need for a treaty banning space weaponization. The policy had come under criticism since its low-key release in early October, with some people interpreting the document to mean that the US would act unilaterally to attack other countries' satellites or deny them access to space.
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