Pentagon Had Top Secret Meeting To Discuss China And Russia's Plans To Build Unique Space Weapons
WASHINGTON – Pentagon leaders held a top-secret conference at the Pentagon on September 6th, and 7th, to discuss China and Russia's potential to develop unique space weapons, according to a publicly posted dossier. The meetings also centered around protecting the US-owned assets currently in orbit around the earth.
The classified meeting comes on the heels of two important events that occurred last year:
The first incident that occurred was during a Russian anti-satellite missile experiment. During the experiment, Russia targeted and obliterated one of its own non-functioning satellites and created 1,500 bits of space junk orbiting the earth at around 15,700 mph.
The second incident involves a Chinese satellite equipped with a robotic arm, thought to be a “satellite crusher” which was seen taking another satellite out of its revolution and re-positioning it in a new orbit.
In January of 2022 that the Shijian-21 satellite made a 'large maneuver' in order to move closer to the dead BeiDou navigation system satellite, grapple onto the BeiDou satellite, and then pull it out of its orbit.
The satellite was then put into a new 'graveyard orbit' where it is less likely to crash into other satellites or debris created by Russia's DA-ASAT missile.
The Shijian-17 or SJ-17 is said by China to be used for communication or to observe or move space debris. Western think tanks, like the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, have noted "unusual behavior" by the satellite while in orbit.
U.S. Space Command commander Gen. James Dickinson said that the technology for the satellite's robotic arm "could be used in a future system for grappling other satellites. China also has multiple ground-based laser systems of varying power levels that could blind or damage satellite systems".
Regarding the debris created by Russia's test, he said, "The debris created by Russia's DA-ASAT will continue to pose a threat to activities in outer space for years to come, putting satellites and space missions at risk, as well as forcing more collision avoidance maneuvers. Space activities underpin our way of life and this kind of behavior is simply irresponsible.”
"On a daily basis we're tracking close to 32,000 pieces of debris," he said. Nikkei Asia reported that around 7,000 of those pieces of debris are active or retired satellite payloads.
Regarding China's testing of their new hypersonic glide vehicle, Admiral Charles Richard, the head of U.S. Strategic Command said that China has executed an ability that was “never before seen in the world.” Admiral Richard was talking at the Space and Missile Defense conference and said that the armed forces are required now to revamp its missile defenses and build up methods of more suitable alerts against missile launches targeting the United States.
Admiral Richard said, “I am not convinced at all we’ve fully thought through the implications of what that weapon system means,” he said. “You’re gonna get decreased warning timelines, difficulties in attribution, and an increased threat to our traditional space and missile defenses and forces,” as quoted by the Air Force Times.
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks along with Secretary of Defense Austin had planned to get together for the conference on September 6th and 7th with the Defense Policy Council, a consultative board consisting of prior national security officials. John Plumb, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy will outline the Pentagon's forthcoming strategic space reexamination.
The conference concentrated “on how China and Russia’s potential development of fractional orbital bombardment systems and space-to-ground weapons could impact U.S. deterrence and strategic stability, as well as to consider U.S. response options to the potential development of such capabilities by any adversary,” the department said, as quoted by Air Force Times.
Kahl said, "It’s difficult to treat China as the pacing threat and not have a conversation about space,” he said. “It’s one of the domains where competition is fierce and the stakes are the highest."
He noted concern about the advances by Russia and China in hypersonic weapons, as well as ballistic missile technology, and that concerns in these areas are what is driving the 2024 budget, in which the Space Force looks to spend $24.5 billion over the next five years, which includes $1.2 billion for technology that will allow satellites to track hypersonic missiles going over Mach 5 speeds.
Kahl said, "We need a missile warning, missile tracking, and integrated air and missile defense that accounts for all of those [developments], which is why we’re making significant investments — not just in things like updating our interceptors for ballistic missiles or cruise missile defense, but also significant investments in space-based missile warning and tracking".
The department also planned to receive instruction from the US intelligence community on Russian and Chinese space doctrine and competencies from the US Space Command as well as briefings from the State Department on weapons regulation and tactical readiness as well as missile support efficiencies from the Missile Defense Agency. The council also planned on giving advisement and testimonials on a top-secret Pacific theater-focused tabletop activity, allowing the plan.
The 2022 Annual Threat Assessment was provided by the US intelligence community in March and said, Beijing “is fielding new destructive and nondestructive ground- and space-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons” but omitted the fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS). The threat assessment also said that Russia is preparing directed energy weaponry and land electronic armed conflict to contend with western on-orbit advantages.
The assessment said, “Russia continues to train its military space elements and field new antisatellite weapons to disrupt and degrade U.S. and allied space capabilities, and it is developing, testing, and fielding an array of nondestructive and destructive counter-space weapons — including jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based ASAT capabilities — to target U.S. and allied satellites,” As quoted by Air Force Times.
Though the members of next week's conference are remarkable; experts think the probability of Chinese and Russian space-to-ground weaponry and FOBS is dismal because whilst representatives say the tests occurred, the Pentagon has not produced proof to the public.
To quote the Air Force Times, Deputy Director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, “Clearly the Russians and Chinese are trying to develop systems to get around the missile defense systems the U.S. has been developing...“It’s hard to evaluate what that is from the public side of things, what that’s entailed. I imagine that’s what this meeting is about.”
Former Air Force space operations officer and Secure World Foundation's Brian Weeden thought that the conference was “surprising” as he was not informed of common knowledge that China and Russia were making space to land weaponry.
Statement By US Space Command Nov 15th, 2021: Space Debris Created By Russia
Russia tested a direct-ascent anti-satellite (DA-ASAT) missile on Nov. 15, 2021, Moscow Standard Time, that struck a Russian satellite [COSMOS 1408] and created a debris field in low-Earth orbit. The test so far has generated more than 1,500 pieces of trackable orbital debris and will likely generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of smaller orbital debris.
“Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability, and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations,” said U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, U.S. Space Command commander. "The debris created by Russia's DA-ASAT will continue to pose a threat to activities in outer space for years to come, putting satellites and space missions at risk, as well as forcing more collision avoidance maneuvers. Space activities underpin our way of life and this kind of behavior is simply irresponsible."
USSPACECOM's initial assessment is that the debris will remain in orbit for years and potentially for decades, posing a significant risk to the crew on the International Space Station and other human spaceflight activities, as well as multiple countries' satellites. USSPACECOM continues to monitor the trajectory of the debris and will work to ensure all space-faring nations have the information necessary to safeguard their on-orbit activities if impacted by the debris cloud, a service the United States provides to the world, including Russia and China.
“Russia is developing and deploying capabilities to actively deny access to and use of space by the United States and its allies and partners,” Dickinson added. “Russia's tests of direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons clearly demonstrate that Russia continues to pursue counterspace weapon systems that undermine strategic stability and pose a threat to all nations.”
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