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Pentagon warns that Russia, China threaten US space dominance

Russian spacewalk. (Alexander Gerst/European Space Agency)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Pentagon’s lead intelligence agency has warned that Russia and China are building technologies that will soon threaten U.S. dominance in space.

The Defense Intelligence Agency issued the warning in a report published on February 11.

The agency, the Defense Department’s in-house intelligence operation, warned that lasers that could damage U.S. satellites were of particular concern.

The agency said both Moscow and Beijing have developed space-based surveillance and reconnaissance technologies.

Both countries “are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived U.S. reliance on space-based systems and challenge the U.S. position in space,” the report said.

Russian doctrine “involves employing ground, air, and space-based systems to target an adversary’s satellites, with attacks ranging from temporary jamming or sensor blinding to destruction of enemy spacecraft and supporting infrastructure,” it said.

The report said China was second to the United States in terms of the number of operational satellites deployed, followed by Russia, which it said had more than 140 in various orbits.

Iran and North Korea have also demonstrated jamming capabilities in space, the agency said.