Stratcom Chief: U.S. Must
Maintain Space Dominance
By Jim Garamone, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
D.C. – (DoD
February 6, 2015 –WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2015 – The space domain is changing,
and the U.S. military must remain ahead of these changes to maintain the
nation’s military dominance, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said here
Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney spoke at a Peter Huessy Breakfast
Series seminar sponsored by the Air Force Association, the Reserve Officers
Association and the National Defense Industrial Association.
The playing field in space is changing, and not always to the
advantage of nations that are peaceful and have democratic governments, Haney
said. “Today, our nation is dealing with a global security environment that is
more complex, dynamic and volatile than at any time in our history,” he added.
The security environment features multiple actors operating
across all domains. Many actors challenge U.S. democratic values in many ways,
the admiral said.
Tensions With Nation States, Ungoverned
“In addition to significant tensions involving nation
states,” Haney told the audience, “we are in an environment that is flanked with
numerous ungoverned or ineffectively governed areas that are breeding grounds
for bad actors and violent extremist organizations.” These groups, he added,
also use space and cyberspace to recruit and spread propaganda -- including
misinformation -- in support of their causes.
“Perhaps of greater concern, however, is the proliferation of
these emerging strategic capabilities attempting to limit our decision and
maneuver space that ultimately impacts strategic stability,” Haney said. The
admiral focused on the emerging capabilities and what it means for the United
States. Space is getting cluttered, he said, noting that it is more “congested,
contested and competitive.” That alone makes U.S. capabilities increasingly
vulnerable, he said.
Congestion in Space
Congestion is a huge problem for Strategic Command. More than
17,000 objects the size of a softball or larger are in orbit today, the admiral
said, and hundreds of thousands of smaller, untracked objects are circling the
Earth at orbital speeds.
Roughly 1,200 of those objects are satellites, Haney said.
The rest are debris, increasingly threatening operational satellites.
Complicating this already crowded environment is the increase
of small satellites, which also pose a threat, the admiral said. “Consider for a
moment the devastating effects just one collision could have on our financial
and economic sectors and our ability to conduct military operations,” he said.
As more countries develop space capabilities, the problem
will grow, the admiral said. North Korea has been busy upgrading launch
facilities, Haney noted.
“Iran, just this past week, successfully launched a satellite
into orbit after a string of failures,” he said.
China has publicly stated that its goal for the next decade
is to outperform all other nations in space, investing large amounts of money in
increasing the number of platforms in every orbital regime, and increasing their
influence, Haney added.
Nations Seek to Take Away U.S.
Countries also are working to take away America’s strategic
advantage in space, the Stratcom commander said. “U.S. national security space
systems are facing a serious growing threat,” he added. “For example, multiple
countries have developed and are frequently using military jamming capabilities
designed to interfere with satellite communications and global positioning
China and Russia warrant the most attention, the admiral said.
“Both countries have acknowledged they are developing -- or have developed --
counter-space capabilities,” he said. “Both countries have advanced directed
energy capabilities that could be used to track or blind satellites --
disrupting key operations -- and both have demonstrated the ability to perform
complex maneuvers in space.”
Space also plays a large role in 21st-century deterrence,
Haney said. “To effectively deter adversaries -- and potential adversaries --
from threatening our space capabilities, we must also understand their
capabilities and their intent and make it clear that no adversary will gain the
advantage they seek by attacking us in space,” the admiral said. “We must apply
all instruments of power and elements of deterrence.”
Operational Planning Comes First for
Strategic Command is working to ensure the United States
maintains the strategic advantage in space today. Operational planning is first
with the command, the admiral said, ensuring it is prepared for all phases of
potential conflict. This means characterizing the operational environment,
allowing timely and accurate warning and assessment of threats to senior leaders
including the president, Haney said.
Operationally, the admiral said, Stratcom must protect and
defend space capabilities using new tools and new tactics, techniques and
procedures. The command, he said, also must use new partnerships and new command
and control relationships.
All this is happening at a time of constrained budgets, he
noted. “I am pleased to see the president’s budget for fiscal 2016 recognizes
the growing and demonstrated threat to our vital space assets -- assets our
forces are reliant upon and assume will always be there,” Haney said.
“We are early in the process, but let me make clear: Any
retrograde in the president’s budget could jeopardize these investments and
diminish our asymmetric advantage in space, exposing our nation to significant
risk in this foundational area,” he said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
U.S. Strategic Command
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