In The Battle Beyond, authors Paul Szymanski and Jerry Drew take readers beyond the globe and into the outer atmosphere to present strategies for warfare in space. This is not a compendium of theory and conjecture, as some might assume. Instead, the authors aim to present an actual playbook, akin to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, to map the how and why of practical application and execution.
After first defining the concepts of “war” and “warfare,” the authors delve into the history of terrestrial war, and what can best be described as terrestrially-based space war, such as the Strategical Defense Initiative (nicknamed “Star Wars”). They then commence to methodically detail their thesis regarding a true space-based war.
This hefty tome is meticulously researched; both authors have worked for decades in the field of military space strategies and space weaponry. With their knowledge of traditional tactics, they merge the old into the new. For example, in one table, they first list a commonly defined military mission (e.g., “counterattack” or “exfiltration”) and then give an example of its use in space. The book not only outlines likely offense and defense techniques, but even employs plausible speculative strategies, including bestowing satellite and anti-satellite employment theories with such esoteric names as “Hide and Seek” and “Pixie Dust.”
The book is chock-full of tables, graphs, and illustrations that augment the text. In addition, it boasts endorsements from a pantheon of respected generals, admirals, and other credible experts.
Readers should be forewarned, however: This is not for casual space or military enthusiasts and could prove daunting for even some sophisticated and knowledgeable students of military warfare. It’s replete with jargon and acronyms that make reading tough-going: “As discussed in Section 3, commanders may predefine SDIZs, LREZs, and CAEZs to gauge the level of threat from a particular approaching satellite or to control a friendly RPO.” The writing is dense and difficult to navigate.
Still, military professionals and others extremely well-versed on the topic and interested in the granular details of potential space warfare, should find it a valuable read.