The United States and China are both quickly developing offensive and defensive military capabilities for space in a race to dominate that warfighting space in any future conflict.
Air Force Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of the new Space Command, said last week that there is a very real threat of attacks against U.S. satellites in orbit around the Earth.
“I can tell you from my perspective, the scope, scale and complexity of that threat is alive and well and very concerning,” Raymond told an audience Nov. 18 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Washington Times reported Sunday.
Beijing’s strategy for space domination was revealed earlier this month in an annual report from the congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
The panel warned that China intends to dominate the zone between the Earth and the moon, which is called the cislunar space, as part of what Beijing’s ruling Communists call the “Space Dream.”
Also, the commission noted that China wants to build a permanent base on the moon that will be used for military and commercial purposes.
“Beijing is clearly of the view that the country that leads in space may also be economically and militarily dominant on Earth,” the panel’s report said.
Similarly, the Chinese military’s Joint Staff in 2018 said their objective is to achieve “space superiority” — controlling space without interference from ground-based or space-based threats.
During his Senate nomination hearing in June, Raymond — a four-star general — revealed for the first time that the Defense Department is developing “counterspace weapons” to conduct both offensive and defensive operations in space.
He noted that China and Russia are the United States’ main space threats and that the Pentagon needs to rapidly develop both capabilities so it can deter other great powers while being able to fight in space if need be.
“We are developing new counterspace systems while new and legacy space systems are incorporating defensive measures and tactics,” he said in written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Times noted, “Current counterspace weapons include dedicated and dual-use systems, including missiles, electronic jammers and lasers. The secretive Air Force space plane, the X-37B, also is expected to be an element of future U.S. space warfare assets.”