Space Force General Claims China Moves 'Twice the Rate' of US in Space Race, May Overtake It by 2030
23:27 GMT 06.12.2021 (Updated: 13:32 GMT 06.08.2022)
Top American generals have repeatedly expressed fears about the speed of development of the latest generation of military technologies in the main rival countries for the US - China and Russia - noting, to their own regret, the bureaucracy and slowness of the development of the latest weapons by the US.
General David Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations for the US Space Force, stated that China is building space capabilities at "twice the rate" of the US.
"The fact, that in essence, on average, they are building and fielding and updating their space capabilities at twice the rate we are means that very soon, if we don't start accelerating our development and delivery capabilities, they will exceed us," the general said while speaking at a panel discussion during the Reagan National Defense Forum on Saturday.
Thompson also stated that "2030 is not an unreasonable estimate" for China's space capabilities to surpass those of the United States. But the general assured the public that the Space Force and other military branches can still succeed in catching up with the Chinese.
21 November 2021, 03:22 GMT
Moreover, Thomspon added that the US military has been watching Russia's tests of satellite destruction with a ground-based weapon for years, so last month's missile test that blew up a satellite in orbit did not come as a complete surprise to the military and intelligence community.
"These advances in capabilities are concerning, they are not a surprise," he said.
Apart from the general, Democratic Representative Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces subcommittee, which oversees the Space Force's budget; and Chris Kubasik, President and CEO of L3Harris Technologies, a defense contractor that develops Space and Airborne systems, participated in the above-mentioned panel, moderated by CNN's Kristin Fisher.
While US Is Still 'Great', China Moves 'Aggressively' in Arms Development
Furthermore, Thompson appeared on Fox News on Sunday, speaking about the weapons race in space and competition with China.
China's space program is surpassing the US
by a factor of two, posing an "incredible threat" that might make China the dominant superpower in space by the end of the decade if the US does not change its strategy, according to him.
"Our capabilities are the best in the world of space, but they’re moving aggressively," Thompson told host Chris Wallace. "They’re moving quickly and we need to adapt our approach."
Thompson then detailed how China is threatening
the US from space.
"[The Chinese] have robots in space that conduct attacks," he said. "They can conduct jamming attacks and laser dazzling attacks. They have a full suite of cyber capabilities."
Thompson also claimed that in 2007, China performed an anti-satellite test similar to Russia's.
"Absolutely an incredible threat that we have to address now and in the future," he said.
China's PLA Could Become 'Peer Competitor' to US
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned at the RNDF event over the weekend that China might have 1,000 nuclear bombs in its arsenal by the end of the decade.
"We've seen two decades of breakneck modernization by the People's Liberation Army," he said during his keynote
address on Saturday. "And China's military is on pace to become a peer competitor to the United States in Asia - and, eventually, around the world."
However, he minimized the prospect of a new Cold War and highlighted diplomacy and deterrence as the US' strategy for competing with China's expanding economic might.
Much of the Pentagon chief's address was devoted to analyzing
China's ambitions to upend US supremacy in the global system, which he described as "increasingly assertive and autocratic."
Aside from expanding its nuclear weapons, Austin also claimed China is making tremendous progress in space and cyberspace.
"Now, we always assess not just capabilities but also intentions and actions," he stressed. "And the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have been increasingly vocal about their dissatisfaction with the prevailing order - and about their aim of displacing America from its global leadership role."
Noting that China has increased its military presence in the South China Sea, which has alarmed the US and its partners, Austin promised that the US would deepen its ties with its allies in the region, including increased military drills with Japan and South Korea, among other measures.
He also mentioned a number of defense agreements, including the new AUKUS pact between Australia, the US, and the United Kingdom to share submarine technology in an effort to boost US influence in the Indo Pacific, as well as the Indo Pacific Quad, an informal alliance between the US, India, Japan, and Australia.
"We're building on a lesson that I learned over four decades in uniform: In war and in peace, we're always stronger when we work together with our friends," Austin said.