China's space warfare efforts aimed at blinding US capabilities
China is developing anti-satellite missiles and other exotic weapons that can destroy or disrupt vital U.S. military and commercial communications, space warfare experts told Congress on Tuesday.The US needs to be able to counter these moves, but with the Obama cutbacks on defense spending that may be very difficult. May no mistake, these moves are a mortal threat to the ability of the US to project power and defend itself.
“The current and evolving counterpace threat posed by China to U.S. military operations in the Asia Pacific theater and outside is extremely serious,” said Ashley J. Tellis, a former State Department and National Security Council strategic specialist.
“And the threat ranks on par with the dangers posed by Chinese offensive cyber operations to the United States more generally,” said Tellis, now with the Carnegie Endowment.
China’s growing space warfare capabilities were the subject of a hearing at the House Armed Services joint subcommittees on strategic forces and seapower.
Robert L. Butterworth, a former chief of strategic planning at Air Force Space Command, said China’s growing space weapons include cyber weapons, electronic jammers, laser, both high- and low-earth orbit ASAT missiles, and recently the launch of small maneuvering satellites capable of attacking or grabbing U.S. satellites.
China’s military is preparing for a future military conflict with the United States, and as a result its counterspace weaponry is being developed to limit U.S. joint warfighting that currently is very reliant on satellites for communications and the maneuvering forces over long distances, Butterworth said.
“For the near term, at least, I think [China] will probably favor systems to achieve mission kill by attacking U.S. satellites directly, either from orbit or on the ground,” said Butterworth, now head of the consulting firm Aries Analytics.