39 Fletcher F. World Aff. 91 (2015)
Ceding American Leadership in Space

handle is hein.journals/forwa39 and id is 91 raw text is: Ceding American
Leadership in Space
JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE
This article represents the views of the author alone, and not the Naval
War College, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S.
government.
The United States' leadership role in space is by no means moribund,
yet the perception of absolute U.S. space leadership has clearly declined.
A 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll indicated that almost half of the American
public thinks the United States is losing its supremacy in space.1 This shift
in perception can be seen internationally as well. A 2013 piece in Der
Spiegel suggested that Europe is thinking of redirecting its primary space
alliance from the United States to China, as Chinas global rising power
status now extends to space.2
Is it possible to change this perception? The answer, regrettably (but
realistically), seems to be no. Though the American public still supports
the space program, the country is no longer willing to allocate the levels
of funding needed to deliver the space spectaculars of yore, spectaculars
that engender perceptions of leadership. As a result, perceptions of U.S.
primacy in space exploration will continue to decay.
Contributing to the problem are unrealistically high expectations,
formed during the height of the U.S. space program. Both the Apollo
Joan Johnson-Freese is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War
College. She has served on the faculty at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in
Honolulu, HI and the Air War College in Montgomery, AL, and is former Director of
the Center for Space Policy & Law at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Johnson-
Freese is a former member of the Space Studies Board of the National Academies of
Science and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Secure World Foundation.

VOL. 39:1 WINTER 20 15

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