“Stop Arguing” Space Weapons and Prepare for Conflict: Space Force General – Breaking Defense


Maj. Gen. David Miller

U.S. Space Force Maj. Gen. David Miller, director of the U.S. Space Command, Force Operations, Training and Development, addresses academic trade show attendees at the inaugural USSPACECOM event, March 8, 2022, held from the US Air Force Academy Falcon Club. (Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class John Philip Wagner, Jr.)

WASHINGTON The Space Force urgently needs to develop a broad range of orbit-based offensive and defensive counterspace weapons to counter China, starting with a clear political statement of the US government’s intentions and developing an integrated plan to building such an arsenal, argues a new paper from the Mitchell Institute.

Those recommendations resonate with just about every Guardian out there and the U.S. Space Command in particular, said Maj. Gen. David Miller, Space Command director of operations, training and force development (J3). of the United States, during an online event of the Mitchell Institute. today to unveil the policy paper.

We need to stop debating whether it’s a war domain, stop debating whether there are weapons, and get to the point of how we can responsibly, as part of joint and combined force, deter conflict that no one wants to see, but if we do see it , demonstrate our ability to win? he said. We need to approach the process and perspectives from multiple domains, not just the space domain which provides the ability to find, repair and deny any adversarial capability to find and target US forces or allied forces.

The document, Building US Space Force Counterspace Capabilities: An Imperative for Americas Defense, acknowledges the value of rule-setting diplomacy and the current services focus on building resilience, but says these approaches are not sufficient to provide deterrence to a more aggressive China and Russia have both worked steadily to develop their own capabilities for targeting US satellites.

In addition, the document points out that China is rapidly expanding its military space capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communications satellites designed to allow the People’s Liberation Army to better project force outside its own territory and its ability to tiptoe. aim with the US military in a conflict. For that reason, he says, even the Space Force needs offensive weapons to take away from the benefits the PLA will derive from those new capabilities that endanger US forces.

Mitchell’s recommendations, in essence, propose an implementation plan for the Competitive Strength Framework for Achieving Space Superiority, presented in March by Chief of Space Operations, General Chance Saltzman. That strategy requires the Space Force to develop capabilities to target opposing space systems in a way that doesn’t result in a Pyrrhic victory while also destroying the space environment, what Saltzman has called a responsible counterspace campaign.

As a first step, writes Charles Galbreath, a senior Mitchell member and retired Space Force colonel, the United States must adjust national and military policy to direct the development of counterspace capabilities and send a clear message to potential adversaries that the United States they’re serious about defending its interests in space.

Second, Galbreaths’ paper speculates that the Space Forces Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC) should conduct an accelerated assessment to define a robust force design to flesh out an architecture that will give theater commanders reversible and irreversible options to conduct both terrestrial and space-based defensive and offensive operations that will not create long-lasting debris in space.

The document adds that such an architecture should not only include land, air, sea and space counterspace weapons to target Chinese space systems, but also US military satellites with onboard defense systems. It also requires robust infrastructure such as improved spatial domain awareness and satellite control networks to enable large-scale operations to be performed.

Miller echoed the need for better space domain awareness as a basis for space combat, saying that among military services, the Space Force probably has the least awareness of the domain it is responsible for primarily because the approach inherited from the Pentagon assumed a permissive environment. .

He pointed out that while the Space Force has made significant progress over the past two years, we have also not fielded a globally focused, precision and quality space domain awareness enterprise informed by an intelligent sector of dedicated professionals at the level we need, and that’s a key focus area for me.

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