US urged to speed laser bases in space

The General Accounting Office urged the Defense Department Monday to speed development of a ''constellation of laser battle stations in space'' to defend against against a Soviet ballistic missile attack.

The GAO - the watchdog arm of Congress - noted its study was completed in time to permit congressional action on space-based laser development in the fiscal 1983 defense budget. The report suggested establishment of an aerospace force or a separate space force of the armed services.

The recommendations were made in a secret report to Congress. An unclassified digest of the report was made public.

Defense Department and intelligence experts claim space-based laser weapons could alter the balance of power between the United States and the Soviet Union and that the Soviets are already engaged in a priority program on laser technology. The Pentagon is not moving fast enough with a coordinated laser program, the report said.

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