The rise of space-based threats from Russia and China is creating an urgent need for the U.S. to respond to its adversaries weaponizing space. The U.S. must deter any potentially dangerous actions by significantly strengthening our space systems and developing strategies to defend our critical space-based assets.
These were the core themes in a recent Op-Ed in the The Hill by Congressman Douglas Lamborn (R-Colo. 5th District), where he discussed the seriousness of adversarial threats. He included aggressive acts from jamming of GPS signals and satellite communications, damaging U.S. satellites with ground-based lasers, as well as destroying satellites with missiles. According to Lt. Gen. John Raymond, commander of U.S. space forces, the U.S. is quickly approaching the point where all of these actions could be used against every satellite in every orbit.
Rep. Lamborn also highlighted how the economic consequences of irresponsible actions in space are very significant. He added that, “If we want to keep space safe and secure for all responsible parties, we must be prepared to defend our space systems and defeat any efforts to attack them.”
He pointed out military leaders who are helping secure space for the U.S., including General John Hyten, the head of Air Force Space Command, as well as Admiral Cecil Haney, the head of Strategic Command, who recently announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) will be spending an additional $5 billion over the next five years in this arena.
In addition, this spending will augment the growth of the global space economy, which increased by 9 percent in 2014 – according to The Space Report 2015.
Rep. Lamborn discussed how Congress is supporting the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with additional funding to help initiate the important steps toward prioritizing national security space. This includes language to establish a major force program for space and more budget authority, which will also enable better coordination and oversight.
In fact, he successfully added an amendment during markup of the bill, which aims prohibit the DoD from relying on weather satellites from Russia and China over CENTCOM.
Rep. Lamborn is clearly calling on our nation to take bold steps to secure “our final frontier.” By supporting legislation that will enable our nation to better secure space, as well as raising awareness around this issue, the Congressman is showcasing a vision for national security that should be replicated across Capitol Hill.