The Pentagon is preparing for space warfare with China and Russia, as the two U.S. adversaries unveil missiles and lasers that can disable satellites and interfere with communications.
Due to the challenge of supporting life outside of Earth's atmosphere, the U.S. military gave up on ideas of orbiting space weapons manned by a crew and opted to use satellites, The Wall Street Journal reported.
China, Russia, and the U.S. are increasingly using satellites to determine the course of land conflicts, but it's impossible to sneak up on an enemy or quickly make adjustments to orbit or direction in space.
"You can't dig trenches in space," Marty Whelan, senior vice president of the Defense Systems Group at The Aerospace Corp., told the Journal. "If deterrence fails, you can't wait until something bad happens to get ready. You have to have the full infrastructure together."
Whelan, a former Air Force major general, led a strategic review of space systems for the Defense Department and intelligence agencies.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration proposed a $30 billion annual budget for the U.S. Space Force, which is an increase of nearly $4 billion from last year and is a larger boost than for the other service branches.
Former President Donald Trump created the Space Force in 2019 as a sixth arm of the military, organized under the Department of the Air Force. A key objective of the force is to organize, train, and equip for the defense of U.S. interests in space.
According to the Journal, the White House spending request includes, for the first time, plans for simulators and other training equipment for Space Force members, known as Guardians. That training will be crucial for the 16,000 Guardians who are tasked with running satellites, rocket launches, and communications equipment on the ground.
The properties of space and the mechanics of steering objects moving more than 17,000 miles per hour provide an advantage to attackers that is absent on Earth. The number of tracked objects in orbit has also more than doubled over the past four years to surpass 48,000, according to the Journal.
Just as the Pentagon's biggest terrestrial concern is China, the communist nation is the primary concern in space. The price tag of the $858 billion annual defense authorization bill that President Joe Biden signed in December was reportedly inflated by "growing military threats" from China and Russia.
Pentagon officials said the range of threats from China in space extend from ground-launched missiles or lasers that could disable or damage U.S. satellites to cyber interference and attacks, as the country has invested heavily in its space program.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.