WASHINGTON, D.C. – China and Russia have the weapons to target America's most valuable assets: satellites. In their quest for world dominance, outer space is the next battleground.
The United States has put both countries on notice, announcing that attacks on satellites could provoke a military response.
U.S. military and commercial satellites are critical for communication, surveillance, and navigation. And to our adversaries in the space race, they're attractive strategic targets.
Mike Rogers, former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBN News, "Just a couple of months ago, the Russians fired a missile – now, they shot their own satellite, but they destroyed a satellite that was in orbit. And they did that to demonstrate both to the United States and our allies that they had the capability to take out satellites."
And Russia has threatened to do just that if the U.S. continues to provide critical support and certain weaponry to Ukraine.
"So they have ways to do this, and they have capabilities to do this. And so the very fact that they said they might consider it is problematic for the United States," Rogers said.
China is also a player as part of its rapid military modernization effort focuses on space technology.
Brad Bowman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said, "China has the means and has had the means for a long time to disable our satellites either with direct ascent weapons that actually destroyed them with on-orbit capabilities that involved electronic warfare and directed energy."
While the threat environment has increased, intelligence experts like Mike Rogers say the U.S. has known about this problem for a long time and is taking action.
"One of the reasons the Space Force was created is to focus on this notion that we are vulnerable in space, the United States. And so that was a good start," Rogers explained.
U.S. Defense Dept. officials have also recently put Russia and China on notice, announcing that attacks on satellites could warrant a military response.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, "To defend our country and prevent conflict, we will rely on integrated deterrence, to make it clear to any potential adversary that the risks and the costs of aggression far outweigh any conceivable gains."
The U.S. and Japan recently announced a new space collaboration focused on research, exploration, and mutual defense. A new phase in that alliance that sends a strong message.