Last year, both the U.S. Congress and Senate seemed to hear the chorus of defense officials calling for an increased emphasis on the defense of America’s orbital infrastructure when they put together budget proposals for an increase in defense spending. Unfortunately, when the two budgets were reconciled into a single bill, both the plans for an increased emphasis from the Air Force and the establishment of a new space-specific branch of the military were done away with in favor of continued analysis into the potential threats faced, and the promise of making strides to defend against those threats at some point in the future.
Now, the Joint Staff intelligence directorate, known as J-2, has released a new report that once again shines a light on the growing threat of competitor nations like China and Russia taking offensive actions against the satellites the United States military and economy has grown so dependent on in recent decades. In fact, according to officials that have had eyes on the report, “China and Russia will be capable of severely disrupting or destroying U.S. satellites in low-earth orbit” in the next several years, likely prior to 2020.
We assess that Russia and China perceive a need to offset any U.S. military advantage derived from military, civil, or commercial space systems and are increasingly considering attacks against satellite systems as part of their future warfare doctrine,” Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said.
“Both will continue to pursue a full range of anti-satellite weapons as a means to reduce U.S. military effectiveness.”