United States tests satellites’ resilience to threats from China and Russia, miles above Earth’s surface, just weeks after Russia shot down an aging communications satellite
The computer-aided simulations include the possible shooting down of the US missile tracking satellites, satellite jamming and other electronic warfare “effects” that are possible tactics in space warfare.
No real satellites are used. While visiting the Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks saw the “Space Flag” simulated space training exercise hosted by the United States Armed Forces.
It was the 13th such exercise and the third involving partners such as Britain, Canada and Australia. “It happens in rooms like that… people at a relatively junior level in a lot of cases. Working together and thinking about challenges and trying to come up with concepts that make sense and throw out ideas that go astray,” Hicks told reporters on his way to Hawaii.
Pentagon leaders tour US bases this week as the Biden administration’s draft 2023 budget takes shape. The Defense Ministry hopes to shift budget dollars to an army that can deter China and Russia.
After Russia successfully conducted an anti-satellite missile test last month, US officials believe there is an increasing need to make the US satellite network resilient to attacks and to use opportunities such as ‘Space Flag’ for training. Satellites are vital for military communications, global positioning navigation and timing systems needed in the event of war. The 10-day space war game attempts to simulate the forefront of US capability in space.
The training involved a hostile group working to simulate an aggressor nation with space capabilities such as Russia or China. Russia is not the first country to conduct anti-satellite tests in space.
The United States performed the first in 1959, when satellites were rare and new. In Hawaii, Hicks will meet with military commanders from the Pacific and visit the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where she will hear about water pollution issues.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
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