Expert: U.S. Military ‘Over a Decade’ Behind China, Russia on Space Defense

U.S. military satellites used to warn of a missile strike or to deploy nuclear weapons are vulnerable to attacks by the Chinese and Russian armed forces, which have eclipsed their American counterparts in developing some significant space warfighting capabilities, experts cautioned lawmakers. Specifically, the United States is “over a decade” behind in developing a system to counteract the advancements made by China and Russia in the anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons domain, Douglas Loverro, the former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, warned a House panel. Echoing the U.S. intelligence community in written testimony prepared for a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, the former Pentagon official noted: While China and Russia are driving through generations of ASAT systems every three to five years, it is taking us over a decade to even begin to field a system responsive to their first-generation threat. Stated more clearly, when it comes to strategic missile warning and nuclear command and control, the evolved US response to the ASAT threat we see being deployed today will be ready near the end of the next decade; meanwhile, the threat will have [leaped] forward two more generations, and likely made our response moot. The U.S. armed forces consider “maintaining space superiority” one of its primary goals, top American military officials have recently stressed, noting that “space is now a warfighting domain.” William Carter from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) warned lawmakers in January that China is “rapidly closing the gap” with America in developing “cyber capabilities, anti-satellite weapons, electronic warfare tools, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, and quantum technologies.” Carter pointed out that China has deemed satellites to be the U.S. military’s “Achilles heel.” While testifying before the House panel on Wednesday, Todd Harrison, another CSIS expert, reiterated that the American armed forces’ “dependence on space across the full spectrum of conflict” renders the U.S. vulnerable to its top ASAT domain rivals, Russia and China. “Adversaries can use forms of attack against our space systems that are difficult to detect, attribute, and deter. … Much remains to be done to improve the readiness of our national security space forces for the wide range of threats,” Harrison noted in his written testimony. Two of the three witnesses flat out told House lawmakers on Wednesday that the American military is not ready to take on adversaries like Russia and China in space. Retired Gen. Robert Kehler, who served as the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM)—charged with overseeing America’s space warfighting capabilities—testified: “The United States is perilously close to losing the significant advantages that come from being the world’s leading spacefaring nation, and time is not on our side…”

Indeed..  Space WILL be the next high ground in our next major military conflict.  And, our politicians need to support funding for our military space programs accordingly.  For more, click on the text above.

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