TechDigits

Tech news
Monday, May 20, 2024

China "Most Challenging Threat" In Space Arms Race: US General

China "Most Challenging Threat" In Space Arms Race: US General

US Chief of Space operations listed technologies including anti-satellite missiles, ground-based directed energy, and orbit interception capacities.
Space has "fundamentally changed" in just a few years due to a growing arms race, a US general said, singling out China as the "most challenging threat", followed by Russia.

"We are seeing a whole mix of weapons being produced by our strategic competitors," General Bradley Chance Saltzman, the US Chief of Space Operations, told a select group of media, including AFP.

"The most challenging threat is China but also Russia," he said, speaking late Saturday on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, listing technologies including anti-satellite missiles, ground-based directed energy and orbit interception capacities.

"We have to account for the fact that space as a contested domain has fundamentally changed. The character of how we operate in space has to shift, and that's mostly because of the weapons (China) and Russia have tested and in some cases operationalised," he said.

His words carry even more weight given surging US-China tensions -- highlighted by tense exchanges in Munich Saturday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Beijing's top diplomat Wang Yi over a suspected Chinese spy balloon.

Blinken warned Wang that China must not repeat such an "irresponsible act" of sending a balloon over US airspace, while Wang said Washington's reaction -- it shot the craft down -- had damaged their countries' relations.

Space arms race

The space arms race is nothing new. As early as 1985, the Pentagon used a missile to destroy a satellite in a test.

Since then, the United States's rivals have been seeking to show they can compete -- China did the same in 2007, and India in 2019.

In February 2020, an American general noted that there were two Russian satellites placed into orbit that were tracking a US spy satellite.

And in late 2021, Russia destroyed one of its own satellites with a missile fired from Earth, in a show of force condemned as an irresponsible act by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

"Adversaries are leveraging space... targeting and extending the range of their weapons," said General Saltzman.

"That's really the change that happens inside the domain."

Countries are increasingly secretive when it comes to their military activities in space but the race is such that in 2019, the year that the Pentagon launched its Space Force, it predicted that Russia and China could potentially overtake the United States.

Saltzman rejects the idea that Washington is behind.

But the fight has evolved, shifting from the idea of destroying satellites with missiles or "kamikaze" satellites, to that of finding ways of damaging them with laser weapons or powerful microwaves.

"I am always going to make sure that I preserve capabilities to do the most critical functions, like national command and control, or nuclear command and control," said the general.

'Responsible behaviour'

The Ukraine war has served as a reminder of the fundamental importance of space in conflicts today and in the future.

"Space is important to the modern fight," said General Saltzman.

"You can attack space without going (into) space, through cyber networks or other vectors. We have to make sure we are defending all these capabilities."

The growing military activity, combined with increasing commercial production, does however raise the potential problems of collateral damage, destructive debris and, more broadly, an international code of conduct.

Saltzman has never held talks with his Chinese and Russian counterparts, his aides told AFP. In Munich, he met Norway's defence minister and participated in a panel.

"We talked about responsible behaviour," he said. "There is proper way to behave in space, that is not debris-generating, that does not interfere, that has safe distances and safe trajectories, and we communicate when we have problems."

Space will become "more and more congested", he added.

"If we can operate with a clear understanding of what the standards are, we are going to be a lot safer."
Newsletter

Related Articles

TechDigits
0:00
0:00
Close
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The future of sports
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
UK Crypto and Stablecoin Regulations Become Law as Royal Assent is Granted
A Delaware city wants to let businesses vote in its elections
Alef Aeronautics Achieves Historic Milestone with Flight Certification for World's First Flying Car
Google Blocked Access to Canadian News in Response to New Legislation
French Politicians Advocate for Pan-European Regulation on Social Media Influencers
Melinda French Gates Advocates for Increased Female Representation in AI to Prevent Bias
Snapchat+ gains 4 million paying subscribers in its first year
Apple Makes History as the First Public Company Valued at $3 Trillion
Elon Musk Implements Twitter Limits to Tackle Data Scraping, but Faces Criticism for Technical Misunderstanding
EU and UK's Slow Electric Vehicle Adoption Raises Questions About the Transition to Green Mobility
Top Companies Express Concerns Over Europe's Proposed AI Law, Citing Competitiveness and Investment Risks
Meta Unveils Insights on AI Usage in Facebook and Instagram, Amid Growing Calls for Transparency
Crypto Scams Against Seniors Soar by 78% in 2022, Experts Urge Vigilance
The End of an Era: National Geographic Dismisses Last of Its Staff Writers
Shield Your Wallet: The Perils of Wireless Credit Card Theft
Harvard Scientist Who Studies Honesty Accused Of Data Fraud, Put On Leave
Putting an End to the Subscription Snare: The Battle Against Unwitting Commitments
The Legal Perils of AI: Lawyer Faces Sanctions for Relying on Fictional Cases Generated by Chatbot
ChatGPT’s "Grandma Exploit": Ingenious Hack Exposes Loophole in AI, Generates Free Software Codes
The Disney Downturn: A Near Billion-Dollar Box Office Blow for the House of Mouse
A Digital Showdown: Canada Challenges Tech Giants with The Online News Act, Meta Strikes Back
Distress in the Depths: Submersible and Passengers Missing in Titanic Wreckage Expedition
Mark Zuckerberg stealing another idea: Twitter
European Union's AI Regulations Risk Self-Sabotage, Cautions smart and brave Venture Capitalist Joe Lonsdale
Nvidia GPUs are so hard to get that rich venture capitalists are buying them for the startups they invest in
Chinese car exports surge
Reddit Blackout: Thousands of Communities Protest "Ludicrous" Pricing Changes
Nvidia Joins Tech Giants as First Chipmaker to Reach $1 Trillion Valuation
AI ‘extinction’ should be same priority as nuclear war – experts
×