18:32 GMT +325 October 2016
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    US Air Force Bolsters Space Defense to Counter Russian, Chinese 'Threats'

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    As global powers prepare for the increased role of outer space in future conflicts, the US Air Force has announced the creation of a new team whose sole purpose is to protect American space assets – primarily against Russian and Chinese "aggression."

    Currently, US satellite navigation is claimed to be dangerously understaffed. Gen. John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, stated to reporters in December 2015 that, "two 19-year-old airmen are the two guys flying GPS this morning for the entire world. That’s wrong."

    To help make US space infrastructure more robust, the Air Force is preparing to organize a new team at the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. Consisting of 352 people across four squadrons, the team will include orbit analysts, intelligence professionals, mission specialists, and engineers.

    Two additional Space Mission Force crews will be established later this year, one at the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base and another at the 460th Space Wing at Buckley Air Force Base, both in the state of Colorado.

    The Pentagon’s plan to boost space defense comes in light of what it views as near-term threats.

    "In our case, we’re looking at threats that are within the next year or two," Lt. Col. Toby Doran of Air Force Space Command told Defense One. "We’re really not looking to the five- or ten-year threat…What are the concerns in the immediate future that we need to focus on so we are prepared for immediate threats."

    Anti-satellite missiles and jamming devices are both of principle concern for the Air Force, especially when it comes to counteracting the activities of America’s chief rivals, Russia and China.

    "Four Russian space launches in 2013 and 2014 in particular have sparked interest," Brian Weeden, a former officer in US Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center, wrote for The Space Review. The paper describes what Weeden considers to be the maneuvers of interest.

    Speaking to Defense One, Hyten said that US Space Command keeps a close eye on Russian satellite positions, saying "We watch where it goes all the time."

    The Air Force expressed concern after China shot down one of its own weather satellites in 2007. While the move was a way to effectively dismantle a decaying satellite, Washington viewed the incident as Beijing demonstrating its ability to potentially target any satellite.

    This fear of losing superiority in space could partially explain Washington’s most recent condemnation of North Korea. On Tuesday, Pyongyang stated to the United Nations its intention to conduct a satellite launch later this month.

    In response, a US State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressed that any North Korean satellite launch will be an "egregious violation" of its international obligations.

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    satellite defense, space war, Air Force Space Command, US Air Force, John Hyten, Brian Weeden, Toby Doran, China, Russia, United States
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    • Jet fuel can't melt steel beams
      Well firstly the us need Russia in the space technology and secondly Russia and China are not a threat at all..
    • backfromthegraav
      American Aggression needs to be destroyed
    • espenskrdalin reply tobackfromthegraav(Show commentHide comment)
      backfromthegraav, Amen!
    • siberianhusky
      And what are the American egregious violations? Nah they are Lilly white come to think off it. They are those exceptional people that have nothing but the best interest for this whole world..

      Boy I'm full of it this time.
    • landauroj
      The USA will not have any doubts of nuclear bombing Russia if it is sure that it will neutralize any nuclear response of Russia or China. When the USA is sure of this, it will nuclear bomb Russia. It does not matter if half the world is radioactive and inhabitant. This happen because the elite in the USA are just bunch of idiots unable to see their own destructions. This way of thinking, is the mind set of these idiots. Just see the USA presidential candidate declarations which are full of nonsense and hate to the Russian by declaring that Russia is the main threat. This is because its capitalism mentality. A Nuclear war is the maximum profitable business with millions of millions of profit in land denuclearization + construction of a destroyed Russia. This is business for the next 500-years of world existence.

      Space is the main field of future involvement and the way to neutralize a defensive response to an attack from the USA. The tactic is to encourage Russia to match the expenditure in arms and defence, because the USA knows that the Russia cannot improve the life welfare of the Russian people while at the same time prepare for war. The situation will be the same likes on the time of Gorbachev, when he was obliged to look for peace with Reagan. So it is a repetition of history.
    • Trump 2016
      Its nothing to do with Russia and China or even space, its to do with having a dollar printing press that allows them to create fake jobs in Republican controlled areas. Who will pay back these trillions?
    • Mitach2002
      The terrorist American government will soon have a collapsing dollar to worry about. Outer space will be the last thing on their evil twisted minds.
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