Personal tools



Box on Kwajalan

Kwajalan is:

  1. The world's largest atoll?
  2. A former protectorate of the United States?
  3. A bulls eye for US test missiles?

The answer is d) All of the above. When ICBM intercept tests are run the defense missiles are launched from Kwajalan. This is because Kwajalan is the designated target for ICBM missile tests. Decades ago (while it was still a protectorate of the US under UN mandate) the Marshal Islanders on the atoll were moved to one small corner of less than 100 acres, where more than 12,000 people live now. It could have been worse, the Marshall Islanders who lived on Bikini and Entewetak Atolls (also given over to US protection) had to leave their homes so these atolls could become ground zero for a series of nuclear tests. Although formally in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the U.S. military's presence is secured by various leases and other arrangements for the foreseeable future. For more information contact: Pacific Concerns Resource Centre [ ]

Protests return to Vandenberg Air Force Base

In the 1980s Vandenberg Air Force Base was the target of a series of demonstrations against first strike missiles, the exploitation of Kwajalan, and the militarization of space. There were hundreds of arrests over the course of several years of protest. Now, in the face of renewed efforts to militarize space through the new Star Wars proposals, there are new protests. The M-19 Coalition [ ] is calling for a nonviolent security zone occupation on May 19, 2001.

The coalition includes: Global Exchange, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Columbia Solidarity Coalition, Direct Action Network Against Corporate Globalization/Santa Cruz, Resource Center for Nonviolence/Latin America Program, Shundahai, Vandenberg Action Coalition, and the Nevada Desert Experience.

Militarizing Space

The militarization of space and its domination by the United States has been an explicit goal of parts of the US military since the mid-1940s. Now there is a consensus at the Pentagon and it is shared by the rest of the executive branch and much of the national legislature. A Unified Space Command is in place [ ] and there is already talk of the Space Force as a new military branch to join the Air Force, Navy, and Army. (See The Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space [ ]

Gen Joseph Ashy said in 1996 that,

It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen. Some people don't want to hear this, and it sure isn't in vogue, but--absolutely--we're going to fight in space, We're going to fight from space and we're gong to fight into space. (original italics, William B. Scott, USSC Prepares for Future Combat Missions in Space, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Aug. 5, 1996, p. 51)

The Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, chaired by the soon-to-be-appointed Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has reported (January 11, 2001) that,

In the coming period the U.S. will conduct operations to, from, in and through space to support its national interests both on the earth and in space... We know from history that every medium--air, land and sea--has seen conflict. Reality indicates that space will be no different. Given this virtual certainty, the U.S. must develop the means both to deter and to defend against hostile acts in and from space. This will require superior space capabilities.

A National Missile Defense is called for in particular in order to avoid "Space Pearl Harbor" and the commission proposes a Space Corp that might grow into a department for Space within the Pentagon.

Missile defense is just part of this major refocusing of military priorities for the United States. To its supporters it seems inevitable.

It is our manifest destiny. You know we went from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States of America settling the continent and they call that manifest destiny and the next continent if you will, the next frontier, is space and it goes on forever. -- Sen. Bob Smith (R. New Hampshire), Senate Armed Services Committee (Star Wars Returns documentary, Feb. 2001 )
Archived CPSR Information
Created before October 2004

Sign up for CPSR announcements emails


International Chapters -

> Canada
> Japan
> Peru
> Spain

USA Chapters -

> Chicago, IL
> Pittsburgh, PA
> San Francisco Bay Area
> Seattle, WA
Why did you join CPSR?

I especially value the networking events listing and the CPSR annual conference when I get to attend.