Air Force head warns of ‘world war’ in space, calls for ‘Space Force’

The head of U.S. Air Force Space Command delivered a dire warning on the state of defense in space and called on the Trump administration to create a sixth military service — a Space Force — to combat the threat of adversaries that routinely attack U.S. space assets.

“Every single day, it feels like we’re in a world war,” Gen. John Raymond, who heads the Air Force space command, said in an address to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. “China and Russia have declared war on us in space.”

Raymond ticked off a long list of how Russia and China regularly target U.S. satellites and launch vehicles. Space planes and mid-range missile launches routinely target ground-based missile defense interceptors and other satellites, Raymond said.

“The Chinese and the Russians have demonstrated intent and capability to do hard right-point hits against satellites,” he said. “We, unfortunately, seem to be prone to sleepwalking.”

He said the United States has “already lost two satellites in the last six months, a GPS-enabled navigation satellite that crashed into the ocean off the African coast and an operational Air Force GPS satellite that exploded upon reentry.”

“Our military is struggling with implications of a declaratory military doctrine that we’ve reduced space-based capabilities and layered capabilities across the warfighting continuum,” he said.

“Right now we rely on orbiting satellites for everything from situational awareness to compliance with navigation requirements,” Raymond said. “Right now we depend on tracking aircraft, ground-based navigation, early warning systems, satellite communications, and maneuver capabilities across the electromagnetic spectrum.”

Raymond called on the Pentagon to investigate why GPS navigation data was lost in an Air Force F-16 test flight as well as why the GPS version of the phone Maxx is reliant on Russian air-to-ground system upgrades, which he described as “an embarrassing admission on their part.”

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