Acting Secretary of Defense: China Is Greatest Threat to US in Space

Presenting the keynote speech at the Space Symposium, acting Defense
Secretary Patrick Shanahan sought to push the idea that the US needs to
spend vastly more on space, and needs at least three new space
organizations.

As far as why the US needs to spend billions militarizing space,
Shanahan went with the popular excuse: China. He declared China the “greatest threat to American assets in space” and warned that the next major war could be “won or lost in space.”

Shanahan in particular seemed concern that China had ground-based lasers
that could be fired at satellites in low orbit which are expected to be
operational within a year, and said the US needs to have a “decisive”
amount of capabilities in space just to deter them.

While China has lasers, it is not at all clear that this is anything
beyond a potential hedge against US military attacks against them. That
appears to be neither here nor there for Shanahan and other officials,
who see a new focus on space as a justification for massive spending
increases, and are promising to promote space personnel across the board
when that happens. Since he was saying this all to a space-oriented
conference, it’s also not surprising that he was telling the crowd what
they wanted to hear.

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