Washington | China, Russia pose challenge to US space capabilities: Pentagon

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 14, 2019

In a report published Monday, the Defense Intelligence Agency found that "China and Russian Federation, in particular, have taken steps to challenge the United States" in space, including through the development of weaponized satellites, energy weapons and surveillance networks.

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

The report is aimed at education; the public needs to understand all that space brings to the United States, its allies and the world at large, said a senior Defense Department official, speaking on background.

That's the conclusion of the Defense Intelligence Agency's report titled "Challenges to Security in Space", released today.

The report said space is growing busier, including as commercial flights advance, and the sphere is increasingly vital to military operations.

"Challenges to Security in Space" explains why space is a "contested" domain and why other countries might attempt to disrupt US satellites, for instance.

While China has demonstrated an anti-satellite missile and may have perfected a laser that could attack USA assets in space, Russian Federation is still working to ideal those technologies and, according to the report, focusing heavily on directed energy weapons, usually lasers or high-powered microwaves, that can disable or even destroy assets in space.

The report also warned that orbital debris remains a concern.

"These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target United States and allied forces", it said.

Moreover, the document also claims Russian Federation is developing enhanced on-orbit dual-use technology that can be used to attack and permanently disable satellites. The treaty has been ratified by more than 100 countries including the United States, Russia, China, and North Korea.

Reacting to the report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Tuesday: "First of all, I want to make it clear that outer space belongs to all mankind".

Eight days later, the USA shot down a failed spy satellite with a ballistic missile, something China had done the year before.

DIA officials spoke to reporters at the Pentagon this morning about the threats facing American dominance in space. "'The future of war" United States and China have seen relations deteriorate grow across a range of fronts in the past year, from trade tensions with the Trump administration to diplomatic and military disputes.

"The number of satellites and debris on orbit will grow concurrently, making tracking satellites, discriminating threats from non-threats, and predicting and preventing collisions a greater challenge", it said. The application on a hand-held device that gives directions, calls rideshare vehicle or locates a lost package is enabled by the Global Positioning System constellation operated by the U.S. Air Force.

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