U.S. Protected Satellites Lack Throughput For Success In Conventional Operations, Expert Says
Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in international security, defense and Asian strategic issues, told a House panel Jan. 28 China has made enormous investments in the ability to jam communications satellites. Though the United States has a class of communications satellites coming online that are protected and more impervious to Chinese capabilities, Tellis said much of the Defense Department’s warfighter efficiency depends on being able to use unprotected commercial and military communication satellites, and if the United States loses access to those satellites, it would have a problem.
“I think if we lose the capacity embodied in those unprotected assets, then, of necessity, the burdens that would shift onto our protected communications would be extremely high,” Tellis testified to a joint House Armed Services strategic forces and seapower and projection forces subcommittee hearing on China’s counterspace program and the implications for national security.
Michael Krepon, co-founder and senior associate of the Stimson Center think tank in Washington, told the panel space debris vulnerability is DoD’s greatest current vulnerability. Krepon said the breakup of rocket bodies and the Chinese anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in the late 2000s has magnified the debris problem by a “very, very large number.” Krepon even said the International Space Station (ISS) moves on average of once a year to avoid space debris.
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