As the head of U.S. Strategic Command, General John Hyten has said, wherever man spreads, conflict arises. He and other U.S. military experts believe that space will be the next setting for world conflict. As Russia and China develop space weapons capable of disabling satellite systems, the U.S. prepares for a potential attack on its satellite infrastructure.
Regarding satellite warfare, the U.S. military is particularly concerned about a group of older satellites that are still relied upon yet have no defensive capability. Most of these satellites were sent into space over 15 years ago when space weapons were not a threat. General Hyten points out that many of the satellites they aim to protect are still providing support to critical systems in the United States.
The Face of Satellite Warfare
According to the New York Post, Russia and China are the greatest threats to satellite security. Kosmos 2499, an already deployed Russian kamikaze satellite could take aim at U.S. intelligence and other satellites. Meanwhile, China works to deploy Shiyan satellites, which are fitted with a prototype mechanical arm able to shadow and capture other satellites. The Shiyan has been tested in space since 2011, but the finished satellite abductor is set to launch in 2020 aboard a large Chinese space station.
The U.S. Taking Action
“Our military is already taking a proactive stance to combat this possible threat,” said General Hyten. “We have very good surveillance and intelligence capabilities, so we can see the threats that are being built. Every military operation that takes place in the world today is critically dependent on space in one way or another.”
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said that the U.S. would directly target any offensive capability aimed at the U.S.’s satellite constellation.
“Every military operation that takes place in the world today is critically dependent on space in one way or another,” said General Hyten.