In recent weeks, the US media outlets have been ramping up fears about adversaries especially China – allegedly planning different ways to target the United States and beefing up its weaponry in order to do so. Under this pretext, calls have emerged for Washington to “catch up”.
US Space Force General David Thompson said that American satellites are being attacked “every single day” by adversaries in a war-like manner, according to an op-ed published in The Washington Post.
“The threats are really growing and expanding every single day. And it’s really an evolution of activity that’s been happening for a long time,” Gen. Thompson, who is vice chief of Space Operations in the recently-established military branch. “We’re really at a point now where there’s a whole host of ways that our space systems can be threatened.”
The Space Force general claimed that both China and Russia “are regularly attacking US satellites with non-kinetic means, including lasers, radio frequency jammers and cyber attacks.”
According to Thompson, in 2019 a Russian satellite flew close to “a US national security satellite,” with the Americans unsure if it was going to attack or not. However, the Russian satellite then backed away and conducted a weapons test. Still, Thompson believes it was a “message.”
“It maneuvered close, it maneuvered dangerously, it maneuvered threateningly so that they were coming close enough that there was a concern of collision,” he told The WaPo. “So clearly, the Russians were sending us a message.”
He also voiced concerns about China, with Beijing being “well ahead” of Russia and “fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.” According to his estimations, both Moscow and Beijing are working on satellites that are capable of attacking other satellites – something that could trigger an arms race in space.
Thompson quickly underlined that the United States is “still the best in the world, clearly in terms of capability” but the adversaries “are catching up quickly.”
“We should be concerned by the end of this decade if we don’t adapt,” he said, noting that Beijing can surpass the United States in capability in space in a few years.
According to US media reports, the Biden administration has reached out to China in order to negotiate nuclear arms control and norms for cyberspace and space, but Beijing allegedly refused to engage.
Source: Space Daily