Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats

Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats

US Unprepared to Counter Orbital Threats

Space is becoming an increasingly contested domain, as more countries develop and deploy capabilities to challenge the US dominance in orbit. A recent report by a former Space Force official warns that the US is woefully unprepared to defend its space assets from potential adversaries, such as China and Russia, who have demonstrated their ability to disrupt, degrade and destroy satellites.

The Growing Threats to US Space Operations

The report, authored by Charles Galbreath, a senior fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and a former deputy chief technology and innovation officer of the US Space Force, argues that the US has fallen behind its strategic competitors in developing and fielding counterspace systems that can protect its vital space infrastructure.

Galbreath cites several examples of how China and Russia have conducted provocative and aggressive actions in space, such as:

- Blowing up their own satellites with ground-based missiles, creating clouds of debris that endanger other spacecraft
- Launching satellites with grappling arms or explosives that can capture or sabotage other satellites
- Firing projectiles from satellites that can damage or disable other satellites
- Jamming or spoofing satellite signals that enable communications, navigation and intelligence
- Developing anti-satellite lasers, microwaves and cyber weapons that can blind or hack satellites

Galbreath warns that these threats pose serious risks to the US national security, economic prosperity and scientific advancement, as well as to its allies and partners who rely on US space services.

The Shortcomings of the US Space Force

The report criticizes the US Space Force for being too focused on maintaining legacy systems and processes, rather than innovating and adapting to the changing space environment. Galbreath claims that the Space Force suffers from:

- Insufficient funding and resources to develop and acquire new counterspace capabilities
- Inadequate training and education for its personnel to operate in a contested space domain
- Poor integration and coordination with other branches of the military and the intelligence community
- Lack of a clear doctrine and strategy for space deterrence and warfighting
- Reluctance to deploy weapons to space or conduct realistic testing of counterspace systems

Galbreath urges the Space Force to adopt a more proactive and aggressive posture in space, by:

- Increasing its budget and manpower to match its growing missions and responsibilities
- Developing a suite of defensive and offensive counterspace systems that can counter various threats
- Enhancing its readiness and resilience by diversifying its space architecture and leveraging commercial and allied capabilities
- Strengthening its partnerships and cooperation with other space actors, both domestic and international
- Establishing a credible deterrence posture that signals its willingness and ability to fight in space if necessary

The Implications for the Future of Space

The report highlights the urgency and importance of addressing the challenges and opportunities that the US faces in space. Galbreath argues that the US cannot afford to lose its leadership and advantage in space, as it would have dire consequences for its national interests and global influence.

He calls for a renewed commitment and investment in space security, innovation and cooperation, as well as a recognition of the vital role that space plays in enabling all aspects of modern life.

He concludes by stating that "the United States of America is ready to fight tonight in space if we have to", but also hopes that "we never have to".

Source

(1) US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats: Report. https://www.theregister.com/2023/06/30/us_space_force_report/.
(3) US ‘ready to fight in space if we have to’, says military official. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/may/28/us-ready-to-fight-in-space-military-official.
(4) Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats .... https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2023/06/30/us_space_force_report/.
(5) Report reveals US Space Force unprepared to counter orbital threats .... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=36551195.



FAQ's

What does the US have in space?

The Space Force operates 77 spacecraft in total across various programs such as GPS, Space Fence, military satellite communications constellations, X-37B spaceplanes, U.S. missile warning system, U.S. space surveillance network, and the Satellite Control Network.

What are the space system threats?

Space threats include, but are not limited to, (1) tracking and monitoring satellites and their trans- missions; (2) electronic attack (EA) against space-based services at the transmission site, the satellite, and the user' s equipment; (3) physical attacks against actual satel- lites and spacecraft; and (4) the use of ...

Does the U.S. have a space defense system?

U.S. Space Force-operated Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites are a key part of North America's early warning systems. In their 22,300-mile, geosynchronous orbits, DSP satellites help protect the United States and its allies by detecting missile launches, space launches and nuclear detonations.

How many military satellites does USA have?

123 military satellites There were a lot of United States military satellite projects that were started in the 1950s. Now, there are 123 military satellites run by the United States that orbit the Earth.

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