The U.S. space is vulnerable to attacks from Russia and China, according to Brandon Weichert, author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower.”
According to the expert, the U.S. Space Force has no replacement for its cumbersome multi-functioned military satellites.
“The problem is, is that the way the Pentagon for 30 to 40 years has procured and deployed satellites, they rolled a bunch of functions into one or two systems, which makes them very expensive, makes them very big, which means they have to be married to a special rocket, which makes them even more expensive than they have to go into orbit,” Weichert told “China in Focus” on NTD, a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.
“Our military satellite constellations, in particular, are very vulnerable. And we don’t have a lot of spares because of the cost involved in the complexity involved,” he added.
According to Weichert, China’s defense ministry is now working to fill the gap by getting replacements available, but its mission cannot be accomplished until 2027 to 2029.
“And the problem is we don’t have time. The Chinese and the Russians know this is a severe vulnerability. … They’re seeking to exploit those weaknesses and vulnerabilities now, not three to six years from now,” he said.
“Our enemies have figured out, ‘Hey, we can—for the cost of an anti-satellite missile, or a laser, or even a co-orbital satellite crashing one satellite into one of our satellites—knock out an entire section of America’s defense for cheap,’” he added.
A space attack, in his opinion, would disable critical military missions because “they can’t coordinate the way they need to use satellites.”
And if the civilian satellite systems are targeted, the economy would grind to a halt, as electronic transfers and transactions of a trillion dollars wash across the global economy—made possible by pinpoint satellite timing.
“Once you start losing your space assets … that means you start losing on Earth,” he said.
Weichert said the United States is still the leading space power, followed by China and Russia.
“The problem is that is not a good scale to go off because even though America is still the dominant power … we have not innovated, particularly our defensive satellite systems or military systems in space. We have not innovated them enough to remain number one in a contested environment,” he noted.
Given the multi-polar world system with Russia pivoting to the East and becoming a vassal of China, he said, that means that China is now gaining access not only to the natural resources of Russia, but it is also gaining access to the critical aerospace technologies of Russia.
“So now you have the number two and number three space powers combining their powers not just on Earth, but, more importantly, in space. And those two together can challenge the United States for a dominant role in space as never before,” he said.
“You could very well see a space war erupting out of that condition, which leads to a total defeat of the United States under present conditions in space,” he added.
Push Back on Foes
Weichert said the United States needs to shore up its Space Force to push back on threats from China and Russia.
“We need a space force that has the ability to dump a lot of money overnight into programs like creating these smaller, easily replaceable satellite constellations to make our military satellites interchangeable in times of a crisis, at least with civilian satellite interoperability,” he said.
“This is the closest to nuclear war that we’ve ever come in, probably in 50 years.”
Thus, Weichert said, “We also need space-based missile defense to ensure that our people in our homes and our homeland are protected from Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean nuclear threats.”