WASHINGTON May 7 Deputy Defense Secretary
Ashton Carter on Tuesday said the U.S. military had launched a
"long overdue" effort to safeguard U.S. national security
satellites and develop ways to counter the space capabilities of
"We have established, really, for the first time, an
integrated effort to bring together our space programs, all of
them, with those folks who understand best the anti-satellite
threat, and also how we can operate, if we have to, without
spacecraft," Carter told reporters at the National Press Club.
Carter said the initiative was looking at how to make U.S.
military and intelligence satellite systems more resilient if
they were threatened, or how to operate without them if need be.
He said the fiscal 2014 budget included funding for the
initiative, as well as "investments in our own capability to
deny the use of space against our forces in a conflict." He did
not provide additional details.
U.S. defense officials often note that U.S. satellites
underpin nearly all military functions today since they provide
critical communications, targeting and weather data, as well as
warning of possible enemy missile launches.
The Pentagon on Monday released an 83-page report on Chinese
military developments, saying China uses computer espionage to
acquire technology to fuel its military modernization, but China
dismissed the report as groundless.[ID:nL2N0DN21C}
The annual report also highlighted China's increasing space
capabilities, citing Beijing's "multi-dimensional program to
improve its capabilities to limit or prevent the use of
space-based assets by adversaries during times of crisis or
It said China was pursuing a variety of air, sea, undersea,
space and counter-space capabilities, and military strategists
there viewed the ability to utilize space and deny adversaries
access to space as key priorities.
The report cited a Chinese military analysis which
highlighted the importance of "destroying or capturing
satellites and other sensors" during a military conflict.
The United States remains concerned about China's
development of anti-satellite capabilities after it shot a
missile at one of its own defunct satellites on orbit in 2007,
creating an enormous amount of debris in space.
Washington is keeping a watchful eye on China's activities
in space after an intelligence report last year raised concerns
about China's expanding ability to disrupt the most sensitive
U.S. military and intelligence satellites.
Sources familiar with the report said it contained credible
information about China's ability to potentially damage U.S.
satellites in higher orbits using its own satellites, missiles
or ground-based jamming techniques. It has already conducted
several anti-satellite tests in lower orbits.
(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)