The space community of Air Space is in a state of panic due to the advancements of China and Russia in space and its technology. The problem is not that Beijing and Moscow are matching the specification of the U.S satellites, but are fielding systems which they believe are for destroying or degrading their satellites.
They have been facing threats in different forms. Jamming download signals, cyber-attacks on control centers for satellites on the ground and threatening maneuvers by spaceships are some of the major concerns. Even though the details are kept secret, there is a growing concern among the commanders of the U.S military. America is country with heavy dependence on space for navigation, reconnaissance, communications, weather forecasts and warnings of attacks.
It is not that the U.S lacks means for a counter strike, but they weren’t expecting the danger to become practical so fast. So the existing satellites do not have the necessary features to guard itself. America’s architecture of national security space was developed at a time when the most dangerous threat they posed was debris from co-orbits. Those days are far behind now. America’s space assets can be considered as defenseless against the new emerging threats and need to be upgraded to run along with the current world.
These include increasing the satellites, preparing them against attacks, ability to maneuver and also equip them with the ability to respond back to threats. One problem that the U.S will face is the time duration it will take to implement these changes. And if the Air Force will not make changes to their current approach of buying space hardware, it may take many years for the space architecture to become truly resilient.
The Air Force doesn’t have a long time and the threats are increasing day by day. They have identified some goals to be achieved in the coming years to improve the battle management capability in orbit and so on. This will also help to have a better situational awareness of the happenings in space.
All this can be made practical with the existing technology, but to get it into an orbit in no time will require a complete change in the way assets are acquired by the Air Force. If the Air Force still sticks into its current ways, there is a chance for the U.S space assets to become victims of attacks by its victims sooner or later.