The Department of Defense on Wednesday released its Defense Space Strategy that will serve as a roadmap for how it will go about ensuring a “secure, stable, and accessible” space domain for the United States and its allies while advancing U.S. military space power.
“The Defense Space Strategy is the next step to ensure space superiority and to secure the Nations vital interests in space now and in the future,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement. “We desire a secure, stable, and accessible space domain that underpins our Nations security, prosperity, and scientific achievement.
“This strategy identifies a phased approach on how we are going to achieve the desired conditions in space over the next 10 years,” he added.
According to the strategy (pdf), China and Russia pose the “most immediate and serious threats to U.S. space operations.” Threats from North Korea and Iran are also growing, it noted.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Stephen Kitay told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday that China and Russia have “weaponized space and turned it into a war-fighting domain.”
When asked how China and Russia have weaponized space, Kitay pointed to two reports released by the intelligence community in 2019—”Challenges to Security in Space” (pdf) by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and “Competing in Space” (pdf) by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).
He said the documents “have over 60 pages of information on threats, including capability, doctrine, and organizations.”
“These documents will tell you that China and Russia are developing and planning to use these capabilities that threaten our space systems and those of our allies,” he added.
Kitay pointed out that since the publication of the reports, China and Russia continue to conduct “highly sophisticated on-orbit activities which pose unprecedented new dangers to U.S. and allied space systems.”
He noted now Space Force Commander Gen. Jay Raymond expressed concerns about Russian spacecraft that appeared to tail a U.S. satellite earlier this year.
The space defense strategy document noted that Chinas and Russias actions present “the greatest strategic threat” due to their “development, testing, and deployment of counterspace capabilities,” and their “associated military doctrine” that are designed to threaten the freedom of United States and allied military operation in space.
“We have to implement enterprise-wide changes to policies, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities, and expertise for this new strategic environment,” Kitay _