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New space policy 'sets up' intel turf war

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The new U.S. policy on space exploration and exploitation sets the stage for a turf battle between intelligence and the military, says one expert.

Steven Aftergood, the government transparency campaigner at the Federation of American Scientists, says the new policy, released recently by the White House, "creates overlapping and possibly conflicting responsibilities" for Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

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Aftergood noted that the section of the policy on national security was higher up in the document than in the 1996 policy it replaced, which "perhaps reflects a higher priority" for national security concerns.

The national security section of the policy tasks the defense secretary to "establish specific intelligence requirements that can be met by tactical, operational, or national-level intelligence gathering capabilities." It also gives him responsibility for "space situational awareness," in which capacity he "shall support the space situational awareness requirements for the director of national intelligence."

For his part, Negroponte is instructed to "establish objectives, intelligence requirements, priorities and guidance for the intelligence community to ensure timely and effective collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of national intelligence." But he is also told to "support military planning and satisfy operational requirements as a major intelligence mission," and "provide intelligence collection and analysis of space-related capabilities to support space situational awareness for the U.S. government."

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Neither the Pentagon nor Negroponte's office immediately responded to a request for comment.

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