Space force

‘We must act now’ to defend space capabilities: US Space Force commander

Leaders of the military community informed Congress on April 6 that China and Russia were seeking to usurp the strategic advantage of the United States by disrupting its space infrastructure. New, more resilient satellite systems, they said, were in the works.

“Our adversaries are determined to disrupt our strategic advantage in space during crises and conflicts,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein, commander of Space Force Systems Command.

“We cannot afford to wait. We must be prepared and we must act now.

Guetlein said the Space Force and its civilian partners are working to rapidly develop more resilient space architectures, including deploying more clusters of satellites so that vital systems are not dependent on a small number of hyper-satellites. reviews.

The comments came during a hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, which sought to assess space programs related to national security.

The topic takes on increasing importance as international competitors and potential adversaries maneuver to target U.S. space systems, which are responsible for maintaining a wide range of the nation’s most critical military and civilian infrastructure.

Everything from GPS to missile early warning systems relies on the continued operation of increasingly aging satellites, which senior brass say are tempting targets.

This situation has led military and political leaders to unite to promote new technologies, as international rivals like China seek to expand their political and technological advantage in space.

“Space is no longer a benign domain,” Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said during the briefing. “We must be prepared to defend our resources in orbit and maintain the ability to use space to support global combat commanders.”

China and Russia have recently made progress in the field of anti-satellite weapons. The Chinese communist regime has also deployed dual-use technologies that could be used for both civilian and military purposes. So-called space cleanup satellites, for example, are equipped with a robotic arm, which experts fear could be used to dismantle other satellites in orbit.

Both countries have also sought to develop cyber and electronic warfare capabilities for the same purpose. In November, Space Force Gen. David Thompson said Chinese and Russian systems were attacking American satellites with reversible cyber and electronic capabilities “every day.”

“Let’s be clear,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said during Wednesday’s hearing, “China and Russia have already weaponized space.”

“The question we are left with is what are we going to do about it?”

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Andrew Thornebrooke is a reporter for The Epoch Times and covers China-related issues with a focus on defence, military affairs and national security. He holds an MA in Military History from Norwich University.