In the past, the US was open about its space program. The JFK years were the best example of that; we tested and launched many rockets in areas easily visible to the public. That was described in The Best and The Brightest; it was part of the plan to beat the Soviets in the space race. Why? Because it was expensive and a propaganda effort; people had to know what we were doing. Now, with the secretive Pentagon space program that this article from Forbes is about, that is no longer the case. Because of China’s espionage attempts, the new, secretive Pentagon space program is known only to a select few.
As you can probably guess from my reviews of books like The Red Line and The Two Ocean War, I love reading about advancements in military technology. But in some ways I find articles such as “The Truth about the F-35” and “IRBMs on Navy Ships” to be even more fun to read than long books. It’s easier to learn about new developments and ideas from articles like those than from reading books, however thrilling or interesting those books are.
For that reason, this week my “Interesting Article” selection is a Forbes article about the secretive Pentagon space program that is meant to combat China’s efforts in space. Hopefully it is successful.
The Article about the Secretive Pentagon Space Program:
Like the past two weeks of “interesting articles,” this article will be mainly excerpts from the Forbes articles. Enjoy!
First, about the meeting in which the secretive Pentagon space program and China’s efforts in space were discussed:
The Trump Administration recently held a highly classified meeting for cabinet-level officials to discuss the growing danger Russia and China pose to U.S. space systems. The participants were told that because of heavy U.S. reliance on orbital assets, Moscow and Beijing were acquiring “counterspace” capabilities to deny America’s military victory in future wars, and severely impair the U.S. economy. Most of the danger was traced to China.From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2019/09/12/secret-pentagon-space-program-driven-by-fear-of-china/#112891a542af
Next, on the threat that China poses:
Russia and China are developing kinetic and non-kinetic means designed to disrupt, degrade and destroy U.S. space systems. Mechanisms being tested include directed energy weapons such as lasers, spacecraft that can physically manipulate satellites, terrestrial anti-satellite munitions, jammers that can disrupt uplinks and downlinks, and cyber tools that can impair satellites, ground stations and the equipment of warfighters reliant on space-based systems.From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2019/09/12/secret-pentagon-space-program-driven-by-fear-of-china/#112891a542af
Finally, what the secretive Pentagon space program is and how we plan to fight back against China:
Most of what the U.S. plans to do about rising threats in space is secret. The Pentagon has frequently stated that it needs better situational awareness of what is happening in orbit, and a battle management system for conducting engagements there. But relatively little information about what is being developed reaches the public. What the public hears about is the organizational shifts to support a more robust space posture, but new satellite systems and other technology initiatives are seldom discussed in detail.
For instance, the Air Force has disclosed that it is pursuing rapid prototyping of next-generation successors to current missile warning and protected communications satellites, but it hasn’t discussed with any degree of granularity what steps will be taken to make them less vulnerable. There are numerous possibilities—hardening, redundancy, deception, rapid reconstitution, even shooting back at attackers. But there are so many counterspace efforts underway in China that it is hard to know which defensive features should receive priority. Shooting back, for instance, is no simple matter.
In general, four overarching themes are shaping the Pentagon’s strategy for coping with threats in space. First, the focus is mainly on China’s challenges, because China is the rising power with sufficient resources to cause real trouble. Second, operators in a future Space Force along the lines mandated by a February executive order need to have a warfighter’s mindset; space isn’t just an enabler anymore, it’s a warfighting domain. Third, because it is a warfighting domain, its doctrine and capabilities need to be closely integrated with military services operating in the other warfighting domains—land, air, sea and the electromagnetic spectrum. Finally, everything the U.S. military is doing in space needs to move a lot faster, because the threat is growing rapidly.From: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2019/09/12/secret-pentagon-space-program-driven-by-fear-of-china/#112891a542af
By: Gen Z Conservative
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