Security, North America
While America aims to create a new “space force,” China appears to have an early edge in militarizing the stars.
China and Russia are researching new weapons capable of crippling US satellite-based missile defenses, raising the stakes in a secretive new age arms race that will likely draw in several countries.
United States-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the independent research body Secure World Foundation (SWF) warned in two recent studies that there was also an increasing risk that extremist groups would deploy electronic warfare and other counter-space technologies.
The United States’ Pentagon is reportedly looking at ways of ramping up space defenses after concluding American satellites were vulnerable to attacks from China and Russia, which may have gained a recent technological edge in outer space.
Last month, US President Donald Trump called for the creation of an American “space force”, saying that “space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea.”
China and Russia appear to be headed in the same direction. The SWF report said “China has recently designated space as a military domain, and military writings state that the goal of space warfare and operations is to achieve space superiority using offensive and defensive means.”
It added: “There is strong evidence that Russia has embarked on a set of programs … to regain some of its Cold War-era counterspace capability.”
Legal experts have launched an initiative for a code of practice that might set parameters on the use of space-based weapons that could theoretically paralyze the global economy if essential communication systems were indefinitely disabled.
Based at Australia’s University of Adelaide in collaboration with various international partner institutions, the two-year project aims to produce a so-called Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations, named for the sprawling rocket range in South Australia that has played a leading role in Western space operations since 1967.Read full article