Marisa Herman of Newsmax wrote this excellent piece…
As Russia and China ramp up space attacks targeting American assets in orbit, defense experts believe that Space Force, the newest branch of the military, is uniquely positioned to defend U.S. interests on the battlefield beyond the atmosphere — but only if the service is utilized properly.
Former President Donald Trump created the Space Force on Dec. 20, 2019 as a separate branch within the Department of the Air Force that was tasked with defending national security interests from above.
And as U.S. adversaries make major advancements in the space weapons arena and continue to carry out various attacks — including electronic warfare jamming, temporarily blinding optics with lasers, and cyberattacks on U.S. satellites — defense analysts argue that the Pentagon should be better equipping Space Force with the tools it needs to defend the U.S. from a possible “space Pearl Harbor.”
In recent months, Russia and China have openly flexed their space capabilities. Russia recently conducted a weapons test in which it blew up one of its own defunct satellites, in the process creating more than 1,500 pieces of space junk that continues to pose a danger to astronauts aboard the International Space Station — including Russian astronauts.
China carried out a hypersonic missile test that was reportedly so advanced it left Pentagon scientists “baffled” because it “defied science” after the initial vehicle fired a second missile mid-flight.
“We are in an age of a great power competition and space is really an undefined arena,” said Annie Aleman, director of communications for the American Security Project. “We are seeing a lot of increasing aggression and the pace of conflict is rapidly intensifying. Space Force should absolutely continue to be a priority of the [Defense Department].”
Nicolas Chaillan, who served as the first chief software officer for both the Air Force and Space Force, said China and Russia are ahead of the U.S. in the “most critical war-fighting capabilities that will make it or break it in the next wars to come.” At the same time, he said the U.S. has failed to grasp the urgency of recognizing space as a “critical domain.”
“Russia is clearly seeing the importance of space, and its ability of striking down satellites could be devastating and have cascading effects for the U.S. government, American people, and allies of the U.S.,” he said.
What is even more alarming to Chaillan is the fact that China has conducted over 200 hypersonic tests while the U.S. has carried out a mere nine and isn’t close to testing anything approaching a fully functioning missile.
“What’s lacking is urgency and realizing that this is even bigger than we thought,” he said. “The next wave of innovation is going to touch the Air Force and Space Force.”
Brandon Weichert, space expert and author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower,” said these most recent space incidents should have served as a wake-up call to the threats that U.S. adversaries pose in space.
He believes that Space Force is the “best way” to compete in the new “space race” playing out in the skies.
But he said the branch isn’t living up to its expectations because its current leadership — and the politics of the Biden administration — are not allowing the department to act boldly enough.
Weichert points out that Space Force is following the advice of consultants who are committed to the de-weaponization of space, and people who believe space “should be a sanctuary from weapons” and don’t believe that space is for anything other than “taking pretty pictures of stars.”
“They don’t believe in using space as a strategic asset,” he said. “There is no strategic vision for dominating space.”
Instead of going big and making the investments necessary to compete with China and Russia, Weichert said the branch has quickly become a bureaucracy that does “everything but actual space dominance.”
“Space Force doesn’t want to do space,” he said.
Weichert said that part of the reason Space Force has lagged behind is because it is viewed as a “Trump boondoggle, vanity project” by D.C. leadership.
But as the jockeying for control of space heats up among world powers, Aleman said it was “quite frankly a mistake to not take Space Force seriously in the first place.”
Earlier this year, House Democrats even went as far as to introduce a bill that aimed to abolish Space Force.
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., introduced the bill and wrote that Space Force “threatened longstanding peace” and “wasted billions of taxpayer dollars” on the “militarization of space” in a statement about the proposal.
Shortly after President Joe Biden took office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki mocked reporters asking questions about Space Force, after Psaki suggested she did not know who was in charge.
On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris held the first National Space Council meeting of the Biden administration — where she delivered a speech on the White House’s “approach to ensuring that space activities create opportunities that benefit the American people and the world.”
“When you look at people promoted into leadership roles, they are people who genuinely don’t believe in space power,” Weichert said.
So, instead of equipping Space Force with cutting edge technology and defense weapons, he said the Biden team is focused on crafting binding treaties that prevent the U.S. from bringing any weapons into space.
And while the U.S. focus is on preserving space as some sort of haven for future explorers, Weichert said Russia is “laughing at us and going full boar” to deny Americans access to space.
“It’s going to take a complete defeat of the U.S. by China or Russia for the U.S. to realize we needed it,” he said.
Chaillan also fears a shocking space attack is on the horizon, and once it’s happened, it will already be too late.
“This is not a game, and we keep dismissing it like it’s never going to happen,” he said of a possible space attack. “We have to be demanding more from the Pentagon and the [Biden] administration to take action.”
To compete with China and Russia in space, he said the U.S. must stop being complacent, bring in leaders from the private sector who are knowledgeable about space, and create partnerships with private companies to bring more swiftly to market the type of innovative ideas that could overtake China and Russia.
“The government has been so afraid of failing and making mistakes that you have seen a full stop in terms of rapid innovation,” he said.
In order to convince the private sector to work with the Pentagon and Space Force, he said people need to be educated on the growing threat our adversaries pose in space.
“We have to show them ‘why’ by declassifying information on the threat that China and Russia really cause on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “We need the public to freak out.”