Lethality

U.S. Must Secure, Safeguard Capabilities in Space

Feb. 11, 2019 | BY Jim Garamone

Americans need to be aware of the real threats that China and Russia pose to U.S. capabilities in space.

Space is integral to America’s economic and commercial success. Space is now also considered a wartime domain on par with land, sea, air and cyber.

Military rocket blasts off from launching pad.
Rocket Fire
The EFT-1 military satellite launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Dec. 5, 2014.
Photo By: NASA
VIRIN: 141214-D-HG842-001C

Space forms the basis for America's military advantages, and the country cannot allow those to decay or be overtaken, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency report titled "Challenges to Security in Space."

Space is the enabling domain for many capabilities, from hand-held devices to precision navigation. America's economic well-being relies on space including banking transactions large and small. Utility companies depend on space.

Atlas V rocket launches
Atlas V Rocket
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., April 14, 2018.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz
VIRIN: 180414-F-MY948-2910C

Any adversary would do well to cripple America's capabilities in space.

China and Russia — and to a lesser extent, North Korea and Iran — are developing counterspace technologies that could cripple America's satellite constellations and networks. China and Russia are working on ground-based systems, electromagnetic jamming, lasers and other anti-satellite capabilities to counter America's advantage in space.

They have also developed the command and control systems needed to deploy these capabilities as weapons.

International Space Station in orbit over Earth
Space Backdrop
Backdropped by the blackness of space and Earth's horizon, the International Space Station moves away from Space Shuttle Discovery, Dec. 19, 2006.
Photo By: NASA
VIRIN: 061219-D-HG842-003C

The DIA report gives Americans an unclassified explanation of what is at risk in this new world. Read it here.