Salzman: Value of space ‘already proven’
WASHINGTON — The Ukraine war has demonstrated the military’s growing reliance on satellites and created an incentive to disrupt adversary’s access to space systems. B. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force, said, 3.
“I think this modern warfare that we’re seeing in Ukraine is just a harbinger of what we can expect in the future,” Salzman said on a panel at the Reagan Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.
Salzman’s two main conclusions from the Ukraine conflict are that the value of space is “proven,” and that space is “clearly a contested domain.”
Whether it’s satellite-based communications, imagery, early warning of missile launches, or positioning, navigation, and timing, “the capabilities afforded by space have proven their worth to such an extent that both sides are struggling to counter them and deny these superior adversaries,” He says.
salzman, who assume command The Space Force, Nov. 2, said the Department of Defense’s top priority is “protecting our space capabilities.”
The Space Force is working on that, but it will take years, he said.
The satellites currently in orbit by the U.S. military are high-performance machines that would be difficult to replace if shot down by an enemy. Before China demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon in 2007, the Pentagon’s idea was to make satellites as powerful as possible to minimize the number of satellites that needed to be launched, Saltzman explained.
After China anti-satellite testClearly, relying on a handful of high-priced satellites is “inherently inelastic,” he said.
“If you can only take out a few satellites and radically reduce capacity, then you don’t have a resilient architecture,” Salzman added. This must be “the starting point for the discussion that we need to build a new type of space capability that is resilient from the start.”
With those challenges in mind, the Space Force is looking to deploy newer types of satellites while also training operators for the contested space environment, he said.
“If we think we can buy the best arsenal we can, we’re only halfway there,” Saltzman said. The other parts are “tactics, training, experience, the ability to work closely with allies and partners. It takes a lot of time. and energy and a different set of tools … all of which are critical to turning the arsenal into military force.”