No Longer an Un-Militarized Domain? US General Warns of a ‘Window of...

No Longer an Un-Militarized Domain? US General Warns of a ‘Window of Vulnerability’ in Space

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General Stephen Whiting, commander of US Space Command, recently warned lawmakers that China and Russia have “transformed space into a contested warfighting domain.” Whiting further claimed the US is facing a “window of vulnerability” that will span the next few years, during which it could face potential aggression in space from other world powers.

It seems that recent years brought politics into outer space, with a potential military escalation in what has traditionally been a military-free zone. This might bring an age in which the world no longer agrees that space should be maintained as an un-militarized domain. The 1987 Outer Space Treaty reads: “Outer space (including the moon) is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”

Whiting issued his warning during a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 29, claiming China and Russia are the two biggest threats to the US space architecture because they are both developing anti-satellite weapons.

According to Interesting Engineering, as of January 2023, China has deployed 359 intelligence satellites to orbit, which means it has more than tripled its orbital presence since 2018. This dramatically increased their ability to monitor, track and target their adversaries both terrestrially and in orbit. “Russia also continues to develop, test and demonstrate their counter-space capabilities, despite not having achieved their war aims from their invasion of Ukraine,” added Whiting.

Whiting further claimed that “the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is moving breathtakingly fast in space. America must rapidly increase the timeliness, quality and quantity of our critical national space and missile defense systems to match China’s speed and maintain our advantage.”