The United States aims to deter its adversaries in space with a new plan to advance its national security interests in the strategic domain. In a national space policy released on Wednesday, the White House said that in this “resurgent era of space exploration”, it would expand US leadership , and extend activity into deep space such as establishing a permanent presence on the moon and launching human missions to Mars. The policy also pledged to expand international cooperation and create a safe, stable, secure, and sustainable environment, but only with allies and partners. “The United States will continue to use space for the security of the nation and our allies,” the policy said. “Should any adversary threaten to endanger the benefits we all derive from space, the United States will employ all elements of national power to deter and, if necessary, prevail over hostile activities in, from, and through space.” The release of the document comes in almost the final month of Donald Trump’s presidency and does not name any adversaries. But Russia has been a traditional US rival in the space race since the Soviet era, and China – which has been active in developing space technology in recent years – is seen by the US as a strategic competitor . “Our adversaries have made space a war-fighting domain and we have to adapt our national security organisations, policies, strategies, doctrine, security classification frameworks, and capabilities for this new strategic environment,” acting secretary of defence Christopher Miller in a statement on the release of the policy. Miller said the Pentagon would defend the use of space for US national security purposes, ensure a both offensive and defensive space capability and capacity for “decisive” space operations, and deter adversaries that may pose a threat. The responsibility for realising this deterrence would fall mainly to the US Space Force – a new branch of the US military established a year ago, according to the policy. Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said Trump wanted the establishment of the US Space Force to become an important legacy of his presidency. “The US needs to reclaim the advantage in space to boost their confidence in new strategic competition,” Zhou said. “China and Russia are seen as challengers. Even Europe has done a lot of work.” Nasa outlines moon mission goals as China’s Chang’e 5 lunar probe prepares for return to Earth According to the policy, the US will extract and use space resources, and assumes that all nations have the right to pass through and conduct operations in space without interference. These points echo some of the principles in the Artemis Accords signed in October with seven of US allies, allowing private companies to extract lunar resources and creating safety zones to prevent conflict. It also confirms the US will develop and use nuclear power in space. But Lu Xiang, senior fellow at the Institute of American studies at China Academy of Social Sciences, said it would be up to the next US administration to determine whether the policy would remain in place. “[US president-elect] Joe Biden will have the power to cancel any policy his predecessor made, or overwrite any policy with a new one,” Lu said.