Robert Butterworth's Articles

Dr. Robert Butterworth is the President of Aries Analytics, a company which provides market analyses and program development services to government, commercial and non-profit clients concerning space and space-related research and development. He has served as Chief for Strategic Planning, Policy and Doctrine in the Air Force Space Command, on the staff of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and at the Department of Defense. He was also responsible for the review and oversight activities, budget support and program analyses for selected space and intelligence activities.

Limit Military Command Of Spy Satellites: Butterworth

When Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work unveiled what we are now, unfortunately, calling the JICSPOC, there were many many questions and few answers. Among the most important questions was: if spy and military satellites are being flown and monitored from the same place and a satellite appears to be under attack, who will command — the Intelligence […]

Affirming Extended Deterrence

Sixty-­‐nine years ago, Bernard Brodie published his famous precept about the consequences of the atomic bomb: “Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars.  From now on its chief purpose must be to avert them. It can have almost no other useful purpose.”1 Brodie was well ahead of his […]

A Second Chance on Nuclear Modernization

Test of a Navy Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile. The DC debate on the Navy’s new nuclear missile submarines has been about how we can possibly pay for them. In this op-ed, however, frequent Breaking Defense contributor Bob Butterworth takes a step back to look at a much bigger picture. The Navy’s recent admission that […]

How To Fix Our Broken Nuclear Weapons Enterprise; DoD Must Take Over

Why is America’s nuclear weapons enterprise — the vast array of national laboratories and other facilities that make, build and maintain our nuclear warheads — so problem-ridden? Is it because the big weapons laboratories (Los Alamos, Livermore, and Sandia) have too much autonomy, or because they have too little? Is it because the Department of Energy (DOE) […]

Change How We Test, Care, Feed Air Force ICBM Crews

Outrage and worry greeted the news that some of the Air Force officers who would launch nuclear missiles were being investigated for drug use. More outrage and worry greeted the news that a substantial number of the crews who would launch nuclear missiles cheated on the written tests they must regularly take. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee […]

Time To Talk Plainly And Clearly About Nuclear Weapons

Bob Butterworth knows nuclear weapons. He know cyber weapons. He knows space. He knows intelligence. And Butterworth cares enough to take public risks, to speak plainly in hopes others will do the same and thus help the country find the best answers to tough problems. While the American public has little idea it’s happening, a […]

Robert Butterworth: Statement for Joint Committee Hearing Subcommittees on Strategic Forces and Seapower and Projection Forces

On January 28, 2014, Institute Director Dr. Robert Butterworth testified before a Joint Hearing on the People’s Republic of China Counterspace Program and the Implications for U.S. National Security, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces & Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. His testimony is attached as a PDF document.

Congress, Obama Admin ‘Duck & Cover’ On Nuclear Modernization

When talking about nuclear policies and programs, defense leaders often emphasize that “the Cold War is over.” But given a chance to explain what is strategically different and how policies and programs need to be changed, they duck and cover.

Global Zero and New Paradigms for Nuclear Deterrence

On July 25, 2013, Dr. Robert Butterworth and Dr. Barry Blechman addressed a large audience as part of the 2013 AFA, ROA and NDIA Huessy Congressional Seminar Series on Nuclear Deterrence, Missile Defense, Arms Control and Defense Policy,. This event was made possible by the support of the Marshall Institute and its President, Jeff Kueter. In April 2013, Marshall Institute Director Dr. Robert Butterworth published […]

Slouching Towards Zero: Considering U.S. Nuclear Weapons Programs and Policy

Since the 1960s the United States has operationally deployed nearly all its strategic nuclear forces in a Triad of delivery systems comprising land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs); submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs); and bombs and cruise missiles delivered by aircraft. In 2010, coincident with the New START negotiations, the Obama administration presented a plan to modernize each component […]

Space Policy Needs A Reset Too

OSD recently appointed a new acting deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for space policy, and, assuming he keeps the job beyond January, he (or his replacement) might consider shifting his attention to some of the very difficult challenges facing space programs in the Defense Department. First among those would be efforts to build military space systems […]

QUILL – The First Radar Imaging Satellite

QUILL was an experimental Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, based on the Corona satellite and available SAR hardware, which flew one time in 1964. Because of diplomatic and security concerns the brief mission imaged only selected targets with the United States. Those targets could be inspected on the ground to validate the intelligence value of […]

In Space, Doing More With Less Much Scarier Than Budget Cuts

The scariest part of the projected budget for national security space is not the cuts. It is the ensuing proposals that promise ways to do more with less. Adopting them without close and careful analysis can easily bring on far more damage to national security space capabilities than the cuts ever will. We’ve seen this […]

Space and the Joint Fight

T he world first saw the power of space to transform warfare in the 1991 Gulf War. In the years since, the U.S. military has come to depend heavily on space throughout its peacetime and combat operations. Satellites acquired by the Department of Defense (DOD) principally provide protected communications; data for position and timing, terrestrial […]

Returning to Fundamentals: Deterrence and U.S. National Security in the 21st Century

Is deterrence a “one-size fits all” strategic concept? Can it be applied equally effectively to security challenges as diverse as nuclear weapons and cyberspace? Or do the emerging domains of outer space and cyberspace require their own deterrence strategies? These and related questions are the subject of a collection of essays recently published by the […]

Conduct of the Code

The European Union wants other governments to adopt its draft “Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.”  The administration of U.S. president Barack Obama has been working with the EU on this code for a couple of years, and according to a deputy assistant secretary of state is hoping “to make a decision as to […]

Fight For Space Assets, Don’t Just Deter

If the Pentagon knows an important military system is vulnerable you’d think they would take every action to protect it, right? Not when it comes to national security satellites. Pentagon planners are looking toward deterrence instead of protection to safeguard critical services provided by space assets in times of peace, crisis, and war. Why they […]

Assuring Space Support Despite ASATs

A year ago, China destroyed one of its own satellites in a test of an anti-satellite system (ASAT). This test prompted sharp commentary and numerous recommendations on how to react. A year later the direction of the U.S. response remains shrouded in the mists of classified programs and secret information. Nevertheless, the public defense budget […]

Differentiating Integration

Butterworth discusses centralization in the space bureaucracy.

Military Space and National Policy: Record and Interpretation

This report considers the evolution of U.S. national security space policy. Of course, history is not a guide for the future, but it does offer knowledge and important context for adjudicating future disputes over competing interests and policy direction. We are grateful for R. Cargill Hall’s willingness to share his thoughts and views on this […]

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