The next U.S. National Defense Strategy will be about winning the strategic competition with China (and to a lesser extent, Russia). Much of this will play out short of armed conflict, in the ”gray zone” between peace and war. But trying to “win” gray zone competition is a bad idea.
The release of the next National Defense Strategy, expected in early 2022, will address the continued importance of China as a “pacing threat” even as it recognizes the “increasingly complicated and complex security landscape.” As the renewed potential for great power conflict drives strategy and plans, some have dubbed this a “new Cold War.” Letting this planning construct drive DoD’s investment program without paying attention to other kinds of potential contingencies is a bad idea.
Today, seven geographic COCOMs are responsible for integrating forces across all domains for military operations within their respective Areas of Responsibility. But in today’s increasingly complex, connected, and multipolar strategic environment, the geographic COCOM structure is an outdated and counterproductive bad idea.
In June 2018, Space Policy Directive (SPD)-3 named the Department of Commerce as the civil agency successor to the Defense Department catalog for SSA. Over three years later, the Open Architecture Data Repository (OADR)—the public civilian catalog designated to replace the military catalog—is still not developed and the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) continues to operate with a limited staff led by an acting administrator. This sends a message that SSA is not a priority for the United States, delays national security priorities for DoD, and threatens the safety of space assets.