We need a hotline to China, according to the U.S. Space Force

by | Feb 21, 2024

As China's expanding arsenal of anti-satellite weapons threatens U.S. dominance in the space region, the United States Space Force wants a hotline with China to prevent crises there.

According to officials, direct communication may prevent miscalculation as space militarizes more quickly than norms do.

“We have to gain consensus among our allies and partners, but it's also important that we have a shared understanding with the potential adversaries so that there is no miscalculation…that's the value of the hotline, because the international norms are not well-established yet, despite U.S. efforts to take a leadership role in that area,” said commander of U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, Gen. Anthony Mastalir.

At the Air & Space Forces Association Warfare Symposium, Mastalir informed reporters that rules of engagement in space are still somewhat immature compared to those in the maritime and air domains.

“When you think about a hostile act or demonstrating hostile intent in space, what does that look like? And do all nations have a shared understanding of what that looks like?” said Mastalir.

After China cut off communications in 2022 as a result of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, U.S. and Chinese military leaders recently resumed contact.  However, a new channel for communication between Chinese and American officials would be a hotline for space operations.

Mastalir's remarks come as the Space Force is expanding its presence in the Pacific and officials are continuing to raise concerns about China acquiring a larger arsenal of space weapons.

According to Mastalir, the service is ready to launch a new component in Japan this year that will reflect the U.S. Space Forces launch in Korea at the end of 2022.

According to Mastalir, the U.S. is very concerned about China's on-orbit anti-satellite weapons, or ASATs, and it is also worrying about the jamming and directed energy capabilities China is developing.

U.S. Space Force representatives will never forget China's 2007 destruction of one of its own satellites.

“While it was in 2007 that they did a direct-ascent ASAT, I'm worried about until we get to a proliferated architecture that we have satellites that are at risk from China from that,” stated Commander of the newly established Space Forces-Space component, which gives combatant commands space support.

Schiess expressed concern over how many jammers they possess. The joint warfighters require their communications and data. Considering missile warning, the tactical user's ability to receive it so they can duck, cover, and be ready for it. We must be able to fight through that given how many jammers they have.

According to Schiess, the United States cannot permit China to match its space capabilities.

Source: Defense One

 

 

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