Former President Donald Trump sparked widespread mockery with his effort to launch the U.S. Space Force. But as commercial space exploration continues to expand, the newest branch of the nation’s military says it can be a big part of keeping things safe and secure.
An integral partnership
The modern military increasingly relies on commercial satellites to aid in its surveillance missions and to provide a reliable means of communication. That means that America’s enemies could have a motivation to attack these satellites — and Space Force brass is determined to preemptively beef up their defense.
Last week, Gen. Chance Saltzman explained the rationale behind ongoing efforts to establish a plan that would protect commercial satellites from a possible future threat, particularly from Russia or China.
He noted that “there are going to be commercial entities, commercial organizations, commercial capabilities and assets that get caught up” in modern warfare. After comparing satellite protection to previous military efforts to defend sea lanes, Saltzman added that the current situation is “no different than civilian airliner traffic in Europe right now.”
Engaging in hypotheticals
While the general refrained from citing any specific threat against which the branch is currently preparing, he did provide some broad remarks about hypothetical attacks that could come in the future.
“The U.S. has a long history of saying we’re going to protect the things that we need to be successful,” he explained. “So it would stand to reason that that same philosophy would extend into space, and I have no reason to believe that that will be different.”
Describing commercial companies as “indispensable partners,” Saltzman went on to note that the current Space Force strategy is insufficient.
“It can’t just be a strategy with aspirational platitudes about how we’re going to work together,” he said.