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Russia, China Put at Risk US Military Space Superiority, Pentagon Says

Sputnik News

20:09 GMT 17.06.2020(updated 20:47 GMT 17.06.2020)

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States maintains a lead over Russia and China in military space capabilities, but is challenged by the pace of their development, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Stephen Kitay told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are still ahead of them, but we are absolutely at risk with the pace that they are developing these capabilities. These are very serious threats," Kitay said, presenting the Pentagon's space strategy.

It stipulates that China and Russia have "weaponized space" and turned it into a warfighting domain.

"They present the greatest strategic threat due to their development, testing, and deployment of counterspace capabilities and their associated military doctrine for employment in conflict extending to space," the document said.

Kitay added that US seeks to keep its space superiority, "which includes having a freedom of operation in the domain, assuring these capabilities to our warfighters throughout the conflict and being able to protect and offend against hostile space activities."

Among threats US needs to be prepared for he mentioned projectile firing satellites, nuclear detonations and attempts to jam space systems.

The senior official also told reporters that the US believes that outer space is currently a main theater of potential conflict.

"Outer space has emerged as a key arena of potential conflict in an era of great power competition," Kitay said. "China and Russia have weaponized space and turned it into a war fighting domain. Their actions pose the greatest strategic threat with the ongoing development , testing and deployment counter space systems and the associated military doctrine designed to hold allied and US space systems at risk."

Last August, the United States took a major step toward creating a full-fledged US Space Force by officially launching its newest military branch, the US Space Command.

In late May, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said that the US is seeking to turn space into a combat zone, adding that there is no need to exacerbate the situation. The diplomat highlighted that Russian disarmament initiatives are on the negotiation table, with the US being ready to resume conversations on the matter, but the negotiations have been postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

At the time, spokesperson for the Chinese Defenсe Ministry said that Beijing is calling upon countries that have created space military units to prevent space from becoming a new international battleground.

In July 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he had also acted to establish a space command by approving a division within his country's air force that will together become the Air and Space Force.

There have been concerns that the creation of the US Space Force may lead to other countries following suit, which could therefore result in the militarization of space.

© Sputnik

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