China posed ‘incredible threat’ to US troops in space, general says

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN) — China’s growing space ambitions pose an “incredible threat” to US troops, an Air Force general told the Pentagon’s Space Command Thursday.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves described China as a “peer competitor” in space, but said that “we think there’s an enemy staring us in the face.”

Greaves, who heads Space Command, said that Space Force’s task force is planning to develop “military space combat doctrine and technology” in response to China’s moves, and that the military needs to adapt to rapid changes in the complex and ever-evolving space field.

Greaves’ remarks came during a private meeting with service members at Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, where he said that space is “a complex, dangerous, emerging domain.”

“One that I think we take for granted,” he said.

“The dangerous features of space reflect the fundamental problem with the United States Department of Defense,” he said.

Greaves said the new Pentagon agency is “trying to make it so we can play in the 21st century, the new domain we’re using our power to cover.”

“What we see today in warfare is we’re taking the 21st century fight to the space domain. That’s my concern. That’s what we have to figure out how to adapt to.”

Greaves cited an example of a new Chinese antiship ballistic missile that US officials learned about recently by “trying to find some anomalies … in what is an increasingly sophisticated system.”

“We’re finding those from space in an increasingly hostile way,” he said.

China’s objectives in space include assembling a space fleet, eventually creating a power to challenge US space dominance, Greaves said.

“The challenge we face … is we’re looking at China, Russia, nations that are poised to shoot down our satellites, or destroy them, or disrupt them,” he said.

“That’s the way I look at it, there’s an incredible threat out there. There are nation-states out there now that are equipped for this, and they’re doing this because they believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

“Russia, China, Israel … and anybody else that is thinking about doing this,” he said.

“We’re at a critical juncture,” he said. “The US Department of Defense is attempting to adjust to a new world order.”

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“So we have to make sure we’re preparing ourselves now to win what’s coming,” he said.

Bridging gaps

One key element of the Space Force is the National Space Defense Center, which the Pentagon announced Thursday will be located at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, near the target of Air Force Gen. Charlie Brown’s three space ghost stories — the White House, the Capitol and the Air Force Academy.

NASA announced in August that it had awarded a $14 million contract to the Utah Air National Guard, which will work with both the Defense Department and private industry on joint research and development programs to bridge gaps in capability and to provide a cooperative environment for space capabilities and missions, in addition to a base for training operations.

“That national radar capability will be located at Hill Air Force Base near the target of the three ghost stories — the White House, the Capitol and the Air Force Academy,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Brent Stone, the new head of Space Command, told reporters.

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