Air Force General John Hyten, commander of the Air Force Space Command, made the warning after pleading with Congress to boost spending to shield military satellites.
“They understand our reliance on space, and they understand the competitive advantage we derive from space. The need for vigilance has never been greater,” he added.
Monitoring the threat
Hyten pressed that U.S. Global Positioning System satellites are still susceptible to attacks. The new military command center has been keeping tabs on missile launches, ominous robot satellites and ground based lasers, which could threaten U.S. satellites.
Interfering with the time-keeping feature of satellites could corrode the military’s ability to guide weapons during precision strike operations.
Lieutenant General David Buck testified with General Hyten, and verified that China and Russia posed the greatest threat to U.S. space systems.
“Simply stated, there isn’t a single aspect of our space architecture, to include the ground architecture, that isn’t at risk,” Buck said. “Russia views U.S. dependency on space as an exploitable vulnerability and they are taking deliberate actions to strengthen their counter-space capabilities,” he continued.
Douglas Loverro, deputy assistant defense secretary for space policy, added that if U.S. satellites were subject to attacks, then counter attacks either on the ground or over the internet could ensue.
“A space offset strategy must employ a diverse set of resilience measures that complicate the technical, political, and force structure calculus of our adversaries, by arraying a complex set of response, with few overlapping vulnerabilities and a combination of known and ambiguous elements,” he said.
Loverro pressed that the United States doesn’t wish to wage war in space, but will if necessary. “But let me be clear about our intent—we will be ready,” he said.