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Defense to help Commerce create its own ability to track orbital objects

The Defense and Commerce departments yesterday signed an agreement where Defense will help Commerce create its own capability for tracking of all objects in orbit, from satellites to space junk.

The agreement, the Commerce Department said in a statement, defines how the two departments will work together to implement provisions of Space Policy Directive (SPD) 3 in 2018 that directed commerce to provide space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic management (STM) services, such as conjunction warnings, currently provided by the U.S. military.

The result of this is that the federal government is now creating a second bureaucracy to do what the military has been doing quite capably for more than a half century. Commerce intends to obtain its data by awarding contracts to private companies, who will do the actual tracking. The irony is that it is very possible the military will eventually sign similar contracts with the same companies, thus paying them twice for the same service. Meanwhile, Washington has an excuse for hiring more people.

Even more ironic, this policy directive was issued during the Trump administration. It might have intended for Commerce to replace the military, but under the Biden administration the federal bureaucracy is being allowed to interpret the policy more broadly, thus allowing both agencies to do the work.

I also guarantee that the Republicans will almost certainly do nothing to change this, should they take over Congress. For the past thirty years this so-called party of small government has done nothing to earn that title. Instead, it has simply engineered the growth of government, in a more subtle and deliberate manner.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • George C

    I am not sure this is any worse than when the military internet and civilian internet split off in 1986. The devil is in the details. The horror in the 1986 Al Gore setup was the empowerment of the NSF to enforce acceptable use policies where entities connecting to the net needed to agree to give up 1st amendment rights and agree to binding arbitration. I remember because I was involved in setting up an ISP called Centnet. Ancient history. No real business could risk using the internet for serious commerce under those conditions.

    Same suppliers but redundant equipment.

    But yes this satellite thing could be a case if same companies selling the same info multiple times. However. there are stealth satellites which can only be detected when they obscure the star died behind them so military users will have a need for a vastly different sensor network.

  • Col Beausabre

    Straight from the Department of Redundancy Department.

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