Pentagon Rushing to Open Space-War Center To Counter China, Russia

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Prepping for war in orbit, the military is honing tactics and building a new center to coordinate defense and development.

The Pentagon and intelligence community are developing war plans and an operations center to fend off Chinese and Russian attacks on U.S. military and government satellites.

The ops center, to be opened within six months, will receive data from satellites belonging to all government agencies, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said Tuesday at the GEOINT symposium, an annual intelligence conference sponsored by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

“[W]e are going to develop the tactics, techniques, procedures, rules of the road that would allow us … to fight the architecture and protect it while it’s under attack,” Work said. “The ugly reality that we must now all face is that if an adversary were able to take space away from us, our ability to project decisive power across transoceanic distances and overmatch adversaries in theaters once we get there … would be critically weakened.”

Work also said that Air Force Secretary Deborah James would soon be named the “principal space advisor” to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, where she will to provide “independent advice separate from the consensus process of the department.”

Senior officials at the Pentagon and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are still finalizing details of the new center, which will back up the military’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

“We want to be able to establish patterns of life from space. We want to know what the unusual looks like,” he said. “If, all of a sudden, a lot of cars show up in a parking lot of an adversary’s missile plant, we want to know about it and we want to know about it quickly. If, suddenly, small boats are swarming in the Gulf or pirates are starting to congregate off Aden, we want to know.”

“If Russian soldiers are snapping pictures of themselves in war zones and posting them in social media sites, we want to know exactly where those pictures were taken,” Work said, alluding to a 24-year-old Russian soldier named Alexander Sotkin who posted photos of himself operating Russian-made military equipment inside Ukraine last July.

“If [we see] a ship that we suspect might be carrying illicit materials, we want to know how deep it’s sitting in the water so we can know how much cargo it’s holding,” said Work. “On top of all of that, we need this information more quickly than in the past.”

Full article: Pentagon Rushing to Open Space-War Center To Counter China, Russia (Defense One)

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