Threats by Russia and China to deny U.S. access and capability in space make the Space Force critical to national security, said the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, spoke at an online National Security Space Association “Space Time” event today.
Critical space assets include GPS; missile warning; reconnaissance; and position, navigation and timing.
“Russia and China are building capabilities to challenge us in space because if they can challenge us in space, they understand as dependent as we are in space capabilities that they can challenge us as a nation,” Hyten said.
“Therefore, it is our responsibility as leaders of the defense enterprise to make sure that we continue to educate the population about the threats that we face and, then, put forth recommendations to deal with those threats in a rapid, responsive way,” he said.
In a time of conflict, DOD must deny adversaries access to space while maintaining its own freedom to maneuver in that domain, he mentioned.
Russia and China are both building antisatellite weapons and other military space assets at an alarmingly fast rate, he noted.
As a result, the department has to go fast in defining joint requirements and delivering capable systems to counter the threat, he said. “We accelerate because our adversaries are accelerating.”
In going fast, you have to accept a certain amount of risk, he added.
Besides moving fast, Hyten said space systems programs need to have agility and adaptability built into them.
He noted there’s bipartisan support for the Space Force, and he expects the newest service, along with Space Command, to continue to make great strides in the new administration.