The entire network of U.S. military and intelligence satellites may soon be controlled through a single command center, jointly operated by the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community.
There are high-level discussions now taking place about the command center. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told Breaking Defense those involved in the discussion include White House officials, the National Security Council, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, the Air Force Secretary, and Strategic Command and Space Command.
“All the pieces are there,” he said. “We just need to make sure all the authorities are clear, and that’s the difficult part.”
Satellites play crucial roles in the U.S. military’s ability to defend the country and fight wars, and rival countries—particularly the Chinese regime—have made these satellites a prime target in the event of war. The new center would help defend these satellites from attack, by ensuring all U.S. military and intelligence satellites are visible and controllable.
In order to maintain military dominance, the United States needs to consider all its space assets “as part of a single constellation,” Welsh said. “And if an adversary tries to deny us the capability, we must be able to respond in an integrated, coordinated fashion.”
“A new command structure is certainly warranted,” said Rick Fisher, senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, in a phone interview.
The United States has a fundamental dependence on its satellites, he said, “and these have been targeted systematically by China.”
During a Feb. 18 congressional hearing, Kevin Pollpeter, deputy director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, detailed the military interests the Chinese regime has for its space programs.
“Indeed, nearly every Chinese source describes space as the ‘ultimate high ground,’ leading many Chinese analysts to assess that space warfare is inevitable,” Pollpeter said.
He said Chinese analysts writing on space “argue that it will become the center of gravity in future wars and one that must be seized and controlled,” and say the first step in these ambitions “is to achieve space supremacy.”
Russia appears to be making a move similar to that the U.S. military is considering. Its defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, announced on Aug. 3 the creation of a new branch of the Russian armed forces, the Aerospace Forces. This will bring its air force and its recently-created Aerospace Defense Forces under a unified command.
Full article: World Powers Are Preparing for Space Warfare (The Epoch Times)