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Air Force seeks Bush nod for space weapons-NYT
Updated: 2005-05-18 18:26

NEW YORK - The U.S. Air Force is seeking President Bush's approval of a national security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing White House and Air Force officials.

A senior administration official said a new presidential directive would replace a 1996 Clinton administration policy that emphasized a less aggressive use of space, involving spy satellites' support for military operations, arms control and nonproliferation pacts, the report said.

Any deployment of space weapons would face financial, technological, political and diplomatic hurdles, as well as almost surely opposition from U.S. allies and potential enemies alike, fearing an arms race in space.

With little public debate, the Pentagon has already spent billions of dollars developing space weapons and preparing plans to deploy them, the newspaper said.

A presidential directive is expected within weeks, the senior administration official told the Times, adding that the directive is still under final review and the White House has not disclosed its details.

Air Force officials said the directive did not call for militarizing space. "The focus of the process is not putting weapons in space," said Maj. Karen Finn, an Air Force spokeswoman. "The focus is having free access in space."

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