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New Pentagon Report Names Russia, China as Threats to US Space Capabilities

CC0 / / Sunrise in outer space
Sunrise in outer space - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A new space report by the Pentagon has named Russia and China as key threats to US space capabilities, according to a document released on Thursday.

"The United States faces rapidly growing threats to our space capabilities. China and Russia, our strategic competitors, are explicitly pursuing space warfighting capabilities to neutralize US space capabilities during a time of conflict," the report said. "Other potential adversaries are also pursuing counter-space capabilities such as jamming, dazzling, and cyber-attacks."

The report specified that the US Space Command’s capability development efforts would focus on global surveillance for missile targeting and other priorities.

"Department capability development efforts will focus on… Persistent Global Surveillance for advanced missile targeting," the report said.

The paper stated that the command will also focus on developing its deterrent capability and nuclear command, control and communications. In addition to this, artificial intelligence-enabled global surveillance and near-real-time space situational awareness will be priorities, it added.

At the same time, the Pentagon outlined in the report the US Space Command's major priorities.

"US Space Command priorities will include: designing and executing a full range of joint space training and exercises, with focused support to the Asia Pacific Security Initiative and the European Deterrence Initiative," the report said.

The document revealed that the US Space Operations Force will prioritize development of the world’s best space operations.

"The Space Operations Force will: Develop the world’s best space operations, intelligence, engineering, science, acquisition, cyber personnel and present them to COCOMs [combatant commands]," the document noted. "Be prepared to deploy teams of space experts to US European Command and US Indo-Pacific Command no later than summer of 2019."

Why China, Russia Allegedly Threatening the US?

US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander Gen. John Hyten said at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium on Tuesday that Russia and China are developing capabilities and testing new technologies to challenge the United States in space. The two countries, Hyten explained, have both been increasing investments and have conducted testing of new technologies in the space domain. Russia and China also conduct tests for new technologies in space, Hyten added.

Moscow and Beijing have both declared their commitment to the use of space for peaceful purposes and are members of the United Nation’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

As part of the September Xiamen declaration, the leaders of the BRICS countries, including China and Russia, have called on states to carry out peaceful exploration in outer space and in accordance with international law, stressing that outer space should remain free from any kind of weapons and use of force.

Pence Reminds US Congress About Trump's Call for $8Bln on Space Security System

"Today we renew the president’s call on the Congress of the United States to invest an additional $8 billion in our space security system over the next five years," Pence said.

The US vice president went on to say in a speech at the Pentagon that the president's administration has begun working with the Congress to create such a force by 2020.

"Our administration will soon take action to implement these recommendations with the objective of establishing the United States Department of the Space Force by the year 2020," Pence said. "Our administration is already working with leaders in the Congress to do just that."

The statement by Pence echoes a mid-June order by US President Donald Trump to the country's Department of Defense to create a Space Force as the sixth branch of the US Armed Forces. As the US president specified, the goal of this force is to outpace such nations as China and Russia.

Following this order, at the end of June, the US House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2019 fiscal year that stipulates "the development and deployment of persistent space-based sensor architecture" by the end of 2022 to ensure the effectiveness of the country's missile defenses.

July 16, 2018. President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of the US Donald Trump, left, during the joint news conference following their meeting in Helsinki - Sputnik International
Putin Offered Trump to Revive Arms Control in Helsinki Talks – Reports

READ MORE: 'No Matter What': US Poised to Deploy Space-Based Weapons by 2020 — Reports

Reacting to this move, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that "a military confrontation in space may be as dangerous as the nuclear arms race set off by Washington in the middle of the last century", slamming the US military space program as "adventurism" that may have "the most negative impact on the state of international security."

READ MORE: Trump's Space Force Plan Likely to 'Require Budget Cuts' to Pentagon — Analysts

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