May 24, 2007

Weaponizing Space: Is Current U.S. Policy Protecting Our National Security?

Weaponizing Space: Is Current U.S. Policy Protecting Our National Security?


Chairman Tierney's Opening Statement

On Wednesday, May 23, at 2:00 p.m. in 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs will hold an oversight hearing to explore the Administration’s military and diplomatic policies toward the use of space. The hearing will examine the 2006 National Space Policy (unclassified version) and the impact of Administration policies on the use of space by other countries, such as the January 2007 anti-satellite test by China.

Statement of
Major General James Armor
Director, National Security Space Office of the Department of Defense
Before the
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs
”Weaponizing Space: Is Current U.S. Policy Protecting Our National Security”
May 23, 2007

"The United States views purposeful interference with its space systems as an infringement on its rights and will take actions necessary to preserve its rights, capabilities, and freedom of action in space including denying, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to U.S. national interests," Major General James Armor, director of the National Security Space Office said at a congressional hearings.


"China’s testing of adirect-ascent anti-satellite system and the on-orbit destruction of a satellite resulting in thousands of pieces of long-lived orbital debris, is not responsible behavior for a space-faring nation. This action is not consistent with: China’s stated position on preventing an arms race in outer space; its strong desire for a treaty banning space weapons; and the constructive relationship outlined by President Bush and President Hu, including in the area of civil space cooperation. The contradictions between the China’s statements and its actions raise legitimate questions about the credibility of their declaratory policies, statements, and
security commitments. "

It should be noted that the United States has not conducted a test of a
kinetic energy anti-satellite capability since 1985. The world in 1985 was very
different than it is today, however. The United States and the Soviet Union were
competing in space and other areas, and few countries had space systems. In
2007, however, many other countries are dependent on space systems for research,
exploration, business, and national security. In 1985, international space
cooperation was the exception, but in 2007 it is the norm. China’s anti-satellite
test runs directly counter to these trends.Additionally, China is pursuing a broad-based, comprehensive transformation of its military forces to include space, counter space and
information operations, including a modern intelligence surveillance and
reconnaissance architecture with advanced space-enabled command and control

China is also developing a wide range of anti-access and area denial capabilities including the direct ascent anti-satellite, radio frequency jammers, lasers, supporting space surveillance, and information warfare capabilities. The lack of transparency into China’s defense expenditure, force structure, and overall intentions is most troubling as it could lead to miscalculation of intent and crisis instability.

The rapid maturation of counter space threats, including China’s antisatellite capabilities, will require a broad range of options, from diplomatic to military, to protect our interests in space. In 1985, only a handful of nations were operating in space and, fortunately, many were allies of the United States. Today, however, many nations are becoming space-faring nations. Each such nation by becoming a space faring nation should also adhere to the international outer space legal regime and ensure it is ready to conduct safe space flight operations. The United States has long urged the international community to focus on gaining universal adherence to the current treaty regime. A fielded direct ascent antisatellite capability will pose a significant threat to low-earth orbiting satellites and could have strategic implications in a regional conflict.

The response to threats to our space capabilities must include:

(1) encouragement for all nations to adhere to the principles outlined in current treaties and international agreements for the peaceful use of space;

(2) continued modernization of our space situational awareness capabilities to ensure ample warning for the protection of space assets;

(3) architectural solutions, including Operationally Responsive Space concepts, to ensure that space capabilities are available when needed;

(4) capabilities to deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space in order to protect our capabilities, ensure our terrestrial forces and keep the U.S. homeland safe.

Testimony of General James B. Armor
Testimony of Ambassador Donald Mahley
Testimony of Dr. Laura Grego
Testimony of Ms. Theresa Hitchens
Testimony of Mr. Jeff Kueter
Testimony of Mr. David Cavossa
Testimony Submitted for the Record by Mr. David McGlade, CEO Intelsat
Testimony Submitted for the Record by Dr. James Clay Moltz, Dep. Director Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
Testimony Submitted for the Record by Iridium Satellite, LLC

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