The Pentagon will spend $2 billion this year to create and deploy offensive space weapons to fight a war in space and protect the United States’ national interests from emerging threats on Earth.
The Defense Department’s plan for space control measures is part of a $5 billion plan to invest in space technology, including national security satellites, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Space News.
While there is much more work ahead, we are on a good path in our efforts to complicate an adversary’s ability to defeat our systems while also enhancing our ability to identify, attribute, and negate all threatening actions in space.
The likelihood of warfare in space is increasing as China and Russia develop anti-satellite systems capable of disabling American satellites, and that’s something the Pentagon can’t afford to let happen.
Previous wisdom said weaponizing space was unnecessarily provocative, but now it’s become clear how much the U.S. relies on its military satellites to guide its new age weapon systems.
Satellites in space communicate with ground, sea, and air forces to transmit the locations of enemy and friendly forces, collect intelligence, and track potential targets, but their vulnerability has been noted by our political enemies.
In 2014 the Department of Defense conducted a review of weapons available for use if a space war broke out, and experts agreed the U.S. needed the ability to defend its satellite and space based systems from attack.
James Andrew Lewis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the Las Vegas TSG America needed the ability to defend its satellites from hostile countries.
There are a lot of avenues to go after satellites, and what worries people is that the Chinese are pursuing all of them.
The Air Force is also planning to fight a war in space and has requested funding for several space control programs, or offensive space weapons, capable of disabling enemy satellites.
The Counter Communications System, which cost the U.S. some $144 million, and the Space Security and Defense Program were authorized for this purpose, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told the Las Vegas TSG.
I also want to mention space because at times in the past, space was seen as a sanctuary; new and emerging threats make clear that that’s not the case anymore and we must be prepared for the possibility of a conflict that extends in space.
America’s dependence on its satellite system has prompted China and Russia to create anti-satellite missiles to take advantage of the U.S. military’s Achilles heel, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Air Force Space Command, told The Washington Free Beacon.
They understand our reliance on space, and they understand the competitive advantage we derive from space.
Satellite-provided GPS systems, used to control precision guided missiles, are almost more important than their ability to provide navigation guidance.
Other anti-satellite systems include cyber attacks and lasers capable of blinding American space based communication systems.
To counter these anti-satellite systems built by American’s political adversaries, it’s necessary to build space weapons capable of both protecting U.S. satellites and disabling an enemy’s communication system.
The U.S. is also deploying 39 cyber mission teams that could conduct cyber operations.
Photo by NASA/Joel Kowskyvia Getty Images