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Pentagon vows not to let Russia, China deny west’s space superiority

After being sworn in as the first Chief of Space Operations by Vice President of the United States Michael Pence, General John Raymond addresses the audience in the Executive Eisenhower Office Building, Washington, D.C., Jan 14, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Andy Morataya)

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

A senior Pentagon official has warned that China and Russia are stepping up efforts to develop sophisticated space capabilities in a bid to deny the United States and its allies of their current superiority.

James Anderson, performing the duties of deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, told a House of Representatives panel on February 27 that China and Russia are developing sophisticated on-orbit capabilities and an array of space weapons capable of targeting nearly every class of U.S. space assets, many of which were developed when there were few threats in space.

In his written testimony to the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee, Anderson said the United States is responding to the threat by “transforming its space enterprise, fielding resilient architectures, developing space war-fighting expertise, and working closely with allies in combined operations.”

Space Force General John Raymond, chief of space operations, told lawmakers that the United States “can no longer assume that our space superiority is a given.”

“If deterrence fails, we must be ready to fight for space superiority,” he added.

Anderson said requests for the 2021 defense budget provide $18 billion for space programs, including $111 million to support the new U.S. Space Force.

It also provides funding for the development of military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. technological and military advantages, he said.