Russian And Chinese Anti-Satellite Weapons Coming Soon, Warns US Intelligence
A new report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence alleges that, in a hypothetical future conflict with Russia or China, one threat that the United States and its allies must take seriously is the ability for either nation to "take it outside," as it were. Except "outside," in this case, refers to Earth's orbit. This document, the "2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community," warns that anti-satellite weapons will be "operational" in just a few short years. You know, like the Death Star.
This not good news.
According to Director of National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats' report:
Coats added that both Russia and China have been launching "experimental satellites that conduct sophisticated on-orbit activities, at least some of which are intended to advance counterspace capabilities." In an interview with SpaceNews, Brian Weeden (director of program planning at the Secure World Foundation) said that China already has ground-based missiles, jammers, and lasers that can harm or destroy US satellite tech. Russia had similar weapons up until the Cold War, and there is "strong evidence to suggest they too are active again."
Weeden believes the two countries are developing these weapons to get a leg up on the US, since our satellites would play a major role in wars in nearby regions like East Asia. "They think that by developing these systems they can deter the US, and if that doesn't work then they hope to take out enough US space capabilities to win the war."
Does the United States have the resources to stay two steps ahead? Maybe... But the real dangers are in the speculation, countermeasures, and motivation to strike at your opponent's resources before they can target yours. Weeden says, "That could lead to some very unstable crisis dynamics and an outcome - armed conflict - that everyone says they want to avoid."