East-Asia-Intel.com, May 18, 2011
In testimony that received little public attention, a senior Pentagon official said last week that the U.S. military is prepared to deter space aggression by states like China and if necessary to defeat their weapons.
Gregory L. Schulte, deputy assistant defense secretary for space policy, told the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces noted China’s "destructive" anti-satellite missile test in 2007 as a sign that space is increasingly congested and contested by foreign powers.
"The United States is pursuing a multilayered approach to prevent and deter aggression against U.S. and allied space systems that support our national security," Schulte said. "The department seeks to enhance its capability to dissuade and deter the development, testing, and employment of counterspace systems and prevent and deter aggression against space systems and supporting infrastructure that support U.S. national security."
In addition to using diplomacy to promote responsible behavior in space, the U.S. is working to "improve our ability to attribute attacks," Schulte said, while bolstering "the resilience of our architectures to deny the benefits of an attack."
Additionally, the Pentagon will "retain the right to respond, should deterrence fail," he said.
A top priority is improving space situational awareness as a way to decrease the risk that an attack could take place without warning or knowledge of its origin.
"We are working with the Director of National Intelligence to improve our intelligence posture, predictive awareness, characterization, warning, and attribution, to improve our understanding of activities in the space domain," he said. The combined efforts will mean "quick identification of actions that threaten U.S. interests."
"Finally, the United States is developing a range of options to deter, and if necessary, defeat efforts to interfere with U.S. or allied space systems consistent with the inherent right of self-defense and other longstanding principles on international law," he said. "Such options could include necessary and proportional responses outside of the space domain."