Center for Strategic Communication


Thursday, 10 April, 2014 (Washington D.C.) Today, the nonpartisan American Security Project released Part 1 of it’s White Paper into Space and National Security:  The Next Space Race: Competition.

The paper notes:

  • The United States purchases Russian RD-180 engines, which are used in the American Atlas V heavy-lift rocket.
  • This procurement helps support Russian missile technology and other military developments
  • Russia’s aggressive policies towards peripheral countries add a sense of urgency to finding an alternative to the RD-180 engine.
  • The Air Force has an opportunity to accelerate and refine its plans to spur competition in the military space-launch sector.
  • It is important to see the focus on competition within the EELV program as an opportunity to show that the Defense Department can keep up the pace with cutting-edge technologies and business practices.

Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.), CEO of the American Security Project, addressed the issue of a Department of Defense (DOD) led review into the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine.

The RD-180 rocket engine is built by NPO Energomash, a largely Russian state-owned enterprise based in Khimki.  The engines are currently used as the primary propulsion system of the Atlas V rocket, the backbone to US payload launches.

BGen Cheney’s statement follows.

“The Pentagon’s review of the RD-180 engine is an important step for both the short-term and long-term sustainability of the US space program as well as our national security as a whole.  It’s absolutely unacceptable that the United States Air Force, one of the foremost defenders of the United States’ standing in the international community, is a direct supporter of Russian military and aerospace development as well as individuals within Vladimir Putin’s closest circle.

Even more frustrating is the fact that this whole scenario is playing out while we are seeing a surge of private development in the sector domestically.  Solutions to this problem exist, and it doesn’t require compromising standards, efficiency, or timelines.  Our government has the power to spur competition in the industry and by doing so, it ensures that the US remains at the forefront of progress into space.  The longer we wait to address this issue, the more difficult it is to solve.”


The American Security Project’s page surrounding the issue of national security and space can be found at


About the American Security Project

The American Security Project is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy and research organization dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of a range of national security issues, promoting debate about the appropriate use of American power, and cultivating strategic responses to 21st century challenges.  For more information, visit

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