‘Space wars’ already under way as Russia and China plot to destroy U.S. satellites
04/01/2016 / By Greg White / Comments
‘Space wars’ already under way as Russia and China plot to destroy U.S. satellites

A top U.S. Force general issued a warning to Congress on Wednesday, claiming both China and Russia have plans to take down U.S. military satellites using missiles, spacecraft and possibly lasers.

Air Force General John Hyten, commander of the Air Force Space Command, made the warning after pleading with Congress to boost spending to shield military satellites.

“Adversaries are developing kinetic, directed-energy, and cyber tools to deny, degrade, and destroy our space capabilities,” Hyten said in a prepared statement, according to Freebeacon.

“They understand our reliance on space, and they understand the competitive advantage we derive from space. The need for vigilance has never been greater,” he added.

Monitoring the threat

Hyten pressed that U.S. Global Positioning System satellites are still susceptible to attacks. The new military command center has been keeping tabs on missile launches, ominous robot satellites and ground based lasers, which could threaten U.S. satellites.

Interfering with the time-keeping feature of satellites could corrode the military’s ability to guide weapons during precision strike operations.

Lieutenant General David Buck testified with General Hyten, and verified that China and Russia posed the greatest threat to U.S. space systems.

“Simply stated, there isn’t a single aspect of our space architecture, to include the ground architecture, that isn’t at risk,” Buck said. “Russia views U.S. dependency on space as an exploitable vulnerability and they are taking deliberate actions to strengthen their counter-space capabilities,” he continued.


Douglas Loverro, deputy assistant defense secretary for space policy, added that if U.S. satellites were subject to attacks, then counter attacks either on the ground or over the internet could ensue.

“A space offset strategy must employ a diverse set of resilience measures that complicate the technical, political, and force structure calculus of our adversaries, by arraying a complex set of response, with few overlapping vulnerabilities and a combination of known and ambiguous elements,” he said.

Loverro pressed that the United States doesn’t wish to wage war in space, but will if necessary. “But let me be clear about our intent—we will be ready,” he said.

Outdated U.S. satellites in need of repair

Loverro, among the other top Pentagon officials, told lawmakers additional funding is needed to protect vital satellites that were created during a time when the United States was among a handful of countries launching and controlling satellites. Many of the most critical navigation, communications and intelligence satellites were created during the Cold War for nuclear war purposes.

There are a myriad of inspection satellites currently in orbit, which may be pending orders to disable and decimate neighboring satellites.

“In this topsy-turvy state, attacks on space forces may even become the opening gambit of an anti-access/area-denial strategy in a regional conflict wherein an adversary seeks to forestall or preclude a U.S. military response,” Loverro said. “Chinese military strategists began writing about the targeting of space assets as a ‘tempting and most irresistible choice’ in the late 1990s, and the People’s Liberation Army has been pursuing the necessary capabilities ever since,” he added.

U.S. government and industries have a minimum of 500 satellites in orbit, which is about as many as the rest of the entire world. At least 100 of these are used primarily for military purposes.

Instead of endangering other foreign states’ satellites, Loverro claimed deterrence against foreign nation space assaults is determined by missile strikes and other threats, ensuring the normal functioning of satellites is not interfered with during war.

This could be achieved by partnering with the budding commercial space sector, which is expected to launch hundreds of new satellites in the near future. In addition, deterrence will be determined by foreign partnerships with allied nations in obtaining data on space threats and other joint efforts.

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