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Bush asserts US right to protect interests in space

[JURIST] US President George W. Bush has authorized the first changes to the US space policy in nearly 10 years by asserting authority to deny access to space to any adversary hostile to US interests. An unclassified version of the new US National Space Policy [text, PDF] is posted on the website of the Office of Science and Technology Policy [official website], but the policy - signed in August - was not publicly announced until highlighted in a Washington Post report Wednesday.

In the document, the US "rejects any claims of sovereignty by any nation," and will "view purposeful interference with its space systems as an infringement on its rights." The White House has said that the policy does not provide for development or deployment of weapons, but the policy itself states that "proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the rights of the US..." National Security Council [official website] spokesman Frederick Jones has said that although the policy emphasizes protection of space assets, this shouldn't be interpreted to "imply some sort of forceful action." Jones noted that US space capabilities are necessary for a range of things, including "ATMs, personal navigation, package tracking, radio services, and cell phone use." AP has more.

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