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US Space Assets Exposed to Attack, SPACECOM Chief Says

Stephen Whiting,

Commander,

US Space Command

US Space Assets Exposed to Attack, SPACECOM Chief Says

U.S. Space Force Gen. Stephen Whiting, head of the U.S. Space Command and a 2024 Wash100 winner, told lawmakers on Thursday that space assets face near-term risks as China and Russia develop anti-satellite weaponry.

Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, he warned that space has become a contested warfighting domain because of the two adversaries, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

Whiting said China more than tripled “its on-orbit collection presence since 2018,” reaching 359 intelligence satellites in January 2024. The adversary’s ability to track and target U.S. and allied forces on the ground and in space has “dramatically increased,” he stressed.

The SPACECOM commander testified that Russia has also continued developing counter-space capabilities, adding that the ongoing Ukraine conflict shows how space enables terrestrial warfare by supporting communications and navigation.

Whiting maintained that the Department of Defense’s long-term priority is to keep pace with China, which he described as “moving breathtakingly fast in space.”

He went on to note that SPACECOM, which recently reached full operational capability, has identified requirements to build a resilient satellite architecture. The command aims to deliver such capabilities by 2027, Whiting said.

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Category: Space

Tags: anti-satellite weaponry China counter space Russia space SpaceNews Stephen Whiting US Space Command