China and Russia pose challenge threat to US space capabilities: Pentagon

Vastavam web: China and Russia have developed robust and capable space services and the two countries pose a challenge and threat to the space capabilities of the US, the Pentagon has said. Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as important to modern warfare and counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce US and allied military effectiveness, the Pentagon said in a report released by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The report “Challenges to Security in Space” examines the space and counterspace programmes that could challenge the US or partner interests in the space domain. “These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target US and allied forces,” it said.

Running into more than 40 pages, the report mentions India a few times and describes China and Russia as a major challenger to the US, Iran and North Korea as other space challenges. The Pentagon lists India as one of the nine countries and one international organisation which can independently launch spacecraft: China, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, the United States, and the European Space Agency (from French Guiana). In its report, the Pentagon said Chinese and Russian space surveillance networks were capable of searching, tracking and characterising satellites in all orbits.

This capability supports both space operations and counterspace systems, it said. “Both states are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities and ground-based antisatellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to non-reversible effects,” said the report. The report is intended to support a deeper public understanding of key space and counterspace issues and inform open dialogue and partner engagement on these challenges. The report notes that some actors will seek counterspace capabilities that target the perceived United States and allied reliance on space, including the ability to use secure satellite communications, precision strike capabilities, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance or ISR assets.

Globally, the space industry will continue to expand as technological and cost barriers fall and international partnerships for joint production grow. State, non-state and commercial actors increasingly will have access to information from space.