According to a Space Force officer, the US military will consider space sustainability factors if it is forced to react to an attack on its satellites. Col. Scott D. Brodeur, who serves as the director in charge of the National Space Defense Center as well as director in charge of the operations for the Joint Task Force Space Defense, spoke at Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies, (AMOS) Conference here about what the US military might do in the event of a space dispute with China, that demonstrated the anti-satellite weapon in a 2007 test that resulted in thousands of pieces of debris.
He described the test’s execution as “catastrophic.” “The debris from that is still being tracked. That, in my opinion, is completely irresponsible.” The Pentagon is preparing for eventual military combat in space with China or Russia, which top officials increasingly perceive as inevitable. The United States’ potential weapons in such a disagreement are mostly classified. When asked if the military considered space sustainability when planning options for responding to a space attack, Brodeur said, “absolutely.”
“That is completely part of the equation when we develop our response options: what is this progressing to do to the total sustainability of the environment,” he said, extending the statement to include how an opponent would react. “If our action triggers a chain reaction in which our adversaries act in a destabilizing manner, that environment will have an impact on everyone.”
He recommended that options for retaliating against a hostile act in the space could be expanded to include other areas in addition to or instead of space. He stated, “First and foremost, we do not want a space war.” “Warfighting in space is, by definition, just that: warfighting. As a result, we’ll be able to respond in any domain and across the spectrum. It doesn’t have to be like what Russia and China are doing, which, in my opinion, is just domain belligerence.”
The over-classification of the military space capabilities has been criticized by others in the military, such as Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond. “We have damaged ourselves through the classification red tape,” he stated. “It not only helps us integrate better, but it also helps us communicate what our intentions are,” says one participant.
He remarked that, due to classification concerns, the talk he presented at the AMOS Conference would not have been viable a year ago. The job of the Joint Task Force Space Defense, which is part of the US military, was largely covered in that presentation. Space Command is responsible for space domain awareness, as well as command and control over space superiority. He also voiced concerns about Chinese ASAT capabilities as well as Russian tests of a “nesting doll” satellite, in which one satellite releases another featuring a kinetic kill mechanism. He stated, “This is not the same circumstances that we’ve been used to” in space. “This is starting to become the norm.”