In February of 2019, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released “Challenges to Security in Space,” a report that examines the space and counterspace programs that could challenge U.S. or partner interests in the space domain.
The advantage that the United States holds in space – and our perceived dependence on it – will continue to drive actors to improve their abilities to operate in and through space.
The report notes that “space-based capabilities provide integral support to military, commercial and civilian applications” and that “longstanding technological and cost barriers to space are falling, enabling more countries and commercial firms to participate in satellite construction, space launch, space exploration and human spaceflight.”
Although these advancements are creating new opportunities, new risks for space-enabled services have emerged, according to the DIA report.
“Having seen the benefits of space-enabled operations, some foreign governments are developing capabilities that threaten others’ ability to use space. China and Russia, in particular have taken steps to challenge the United States,” the report said.
In particular, the report notes that:
- Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as important to modern warfare and counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness.
- Both countries have developed robust and capable space services, including space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
- China and Russia are making improvements to existing systems including space launch vehicles and satellite navigation constellations.
- These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target U.S. and allied forces.
- Chinese and Russian space surveillance networks are capable of searching, tracking and characterizing satellites in all earth orbits. This capability supports both space operations and counterspace systems.
- Both states are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities and ground-based antisatellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to non-reversible effects.
DIA’s “Challenges to Security in Space” report is intended to support a deeper public understanding of key space and counterspace issues and inform open dialogue and partner engagement on these challenges.
Challenges to Security in Space, February 2019 [46 Pages, 9.4MB]