[ExI] Should the US Have a Military Presence in Space?

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Tue Jun 26 04:44:44 UTC 2018

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2018 9:01 PM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] Should the US Have a Military Presence in Space?

On Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 9:15 AM,  <spike at rainier66.com> wrote:
> From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf 
> Of Adrian Tymes

>>>... (Small test satellites, maybe.  Large satellites or  spacecraft, or launch vehicles, no.)  Adrian
>>... Why not?  I know they don’t now, but why not?

>...In short, because governments on average inherently suck at building useful stuff, relative to private industry...Adrian


Ja to all, Adrian, and it is a well-thought essay.

I am going in a different direction.  We have the notion of building defensive systems such as carriers and fighter planes and such, and of course those will still need traditional aerospace biggies.

But now consider information warfare, which we have been in for years now.  It has become more apparent recently, as we have come to suspect that American adversaries managed to influence US primaries to get both major parties to nominate their very worst candidate.  This is modern warfare.  America lost the first major battle.  It isn't even clear who the adversaries are, but it is clear enough that at least some of them are within our borders.

Consider that in the future, some of the most devastating weapons will be entirely software, systems that are developed by a small team of 20 to 50 perhaps, no factory necessary, but absolute secrecy is critical.  If the effectiveness of a system depends completely on absolute secrecy, then I can imagine the following characteristics: the team will need to stay small, it will likely need to be geographically isolated perhaps as much as Los Alamos was, no bids can be issued, no subcontracts, very few people briefed even in government, resulting in a system which will cause confusion and uncertainty that any weapon system was ever used.  

There will be no immediately-obvious destruction of property, no direct injuries or deaths, no projectiles, no starving refugees, just a general feeling something went really wrong, a trail of chaos, a culture-war with no apparent underlying cause (as we had in the culture war of the 1960s where we at least had a questionable war to argue over (what do we have now that is analogous to that?  (Do think carefully before answering (no election outcome can be legitimately considered analogous to a war.))))

We are seeing warfare transition dramatically, but there is an important point to my scenario: if a major offensive military subsystem like this is developed, it has all the characteristics which will require for it to be created by the military.  They can take a select group of highly-focused people, remove them to an isolated place for security reasons, take care of their mundane needs, control access, do all the stuff necessary to develop a system completely dependent on secrecy to be effective.

Einstein once commented "I don't know what weapons will be used in World War 3, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones."  I disagree.  I view the cold war between capitalism and communism as being World War 3, which pretty much just dwindled to nothing in the 1980s, and we are living in World War 4 now.


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