A panel commissioned by the U.S. Congress has released a report stating that China is developing space technologies designed to block U.S. communications and hinder its ability to win conflicts.
Bloomberg Business reported that the news came as Congress debates a Defense Department budget increase request of 7.7 percent by President Barack Obama. The President hopes to aligning defense spending and strategy.
“China’s improving space capabilities have negative-sum consequences for U.S. military security,” the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation said in the report. Its progress requires “the U.S. to prepare to confront an adversary possessing space and counter-space technologies.”
The Chinese program is part of President Xi Jinping’s strategy to strengthen national power. “China’s goal is to become a space power on par with the United States and to foster a space industry that is the equal of those in the United States, Europe, and Russia,” according to the report, which was prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
On Monday, the commission said in a press release, “With improved military capabilities, and the potential for growth in the commercial aerospace industry, China’s development” of space technologies will allow it to “more effectively wield international power.”
According to Bloomberg Business, the institute said Chinese military analysts believe that space-based information will become a deciding issue in future wars, that space will be a dominant battlefield, and that in order to achieve victory on Earth, one must first seize the initiative in space.
“This will require China to achieve space supremacy, defined as the ability to freely use space and to deny the use of space to adversaries,” according to the report, titled “China Dream, Space Dream: China’s Progress in Space Technologies and Implications for the United States.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that the threat to U.S. space systems and services will increase this year as potential foes pursue disruptive and destructive counter-space capabilities.
“Chinese and Russian military leaders understand the unique information advantages afforded by space systems and services and are developing capabilities to deny access in a conflict,” Clapper said. “Chinese military writing highlights the need to interfere with, damage and destroy reconnaissance, navigation and communication satellites.”
If the current rate of development of China’s space program persists, by 2030 China will have a new line of advanced launch vehicles, a robust, space-based command and control network and more capable electronic intelligence communication satellites, the report said.